child marriages_The Post

Date: June 11, 2016
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Name of article: child marriages

Name of Publication: The Post

Country: Lesotho

Theme: Agriculture


Brief description of the item of work you submitted and motivation of why it is a good example of gender awareness and sensitivity in advancing gender equality Post-2015.

Drought and El Nino impact were initially the core of the story. The ploughing season was forced to be on hold due the two. There was no rain and the sun was extra ordinarily hot-burning. Abnormally, nights were even hotter. Yet the likes of el nino are foreign terminologies to the village woman and man. They dependent on their traditional and religious beliefs to seek answers. Their immediate need was to put food on the table. That was between September and October 2015. By December to February, the sun became extremely very very hot. For the first time, health ministry had no option but to conduct public education on best methods for cautious prescriptions for people to follow. The major concern was protective measures of the direct rays to human skin. My stories focused on the water crises which befall the nation in rural urban and rural setting. Rural communities were the most hard hit. Women and children mostly bore the brunt.


Why did you produce the story? What problem or context is it responding to?

Thaba-Bousiu is the home for Metolong Dam Project, a Lowland Water Schem (LWS) meant to address water shortage in Maseru city and other towns and peri urban places. Thaba-Bosiu communities and surrounding villages most of them in rural places, are struggling for the safe drinking water. Before the dam construction was complete, their hopes were high that right before their eyes there will be the dam therefore their water struggle efforts are almost over. Long before the construction kick started, civil society organizations had initiated communal water taps as the pipes run-pass to city folks. Now that the dam is complete and township citizens are enjoying the “white gold” as water is referred to in Lesotho, there is no such. Rural Water Supply is expected to sort out the matter.


Key objectives

 What did you hope to achieve with this coverage?

Publicizing the plight of women and children resorting to contaminated river water for cooking and drinking was the major concern. At this point in time, to them, clean safe drinking water was almost a luxury. Policy makers were aware of the prevailing water struggles. But they were not aware that people are drinking and cooking contaminated water. This was one way of communicating how the people are trying to overcome their adversities. The people themselves, especially women, were more than willing to tell their stories. As a reporter, I felt I should listen and ask for clarifications.

Target audience

Who did you hope to reach? Did you succeed in reaching this audience? What evidence do you have to that effect?

Some of our sources wanted to know where to buy our newspaper to see how the story will be portrayed. How unfortunate that in their area the are no news-stands. Especially English papers like The Post, they are bought and read in the townships and cities. Some government officials and individuals who can afford even subscribe. As a newspaper, at times our in depth reporting are featured in radio programmes therefore affording them our publicity. Some comment about our stories on social media platforms. We also distribute our newspapers to all the districts.


How did you go about researching and writing the story?

How did you gather the data, how many sources, female and male did you consult? Why did you choose these sources and

how were their voices important?

I conducted face to face interviews. I also physically visited service providers like schools and clinics. Additional backup information was sourced from the internet and government agencies like the Department of Statistics. There are seven sources in the story. Three directly affected women. One is a youth, a middle aged and a pensioner. Two others sources and men directly affected. Two government officials from the water ministry both are old people.


What impact did it have? What evidence do you have to illustrate impact?

People kept telling me about places hard hit by water scarcity. The articles scooped media awards. After people heard about the awards were interested to know about the stories.

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Follow up It is will be good to go back to the affected areas on a fact finding research mission on if water officials delivered on their


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