Proceedings of the International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities in the 21st Century
Children and Youth Dynamics in UNICEF Lesotho’s HIV-Nutrition Initiative: An Analytical Dive into Participatory Paradigms
Sonia Mairos Ferreira & Kimanzi Muthengi
Lesotho’s The three-year HIV-nutrition intervention (2019-2022) spearheaded by UNICEF Lesotho set forth a determined agenda to optimize health and nutrition outcomes for women and children, notably those affected by HIV/AIDS. Covering all 10 districts and 69 community councils, the project aimed to dismantle barriers hindering access to nutrition and HIV/AIDS services, fortify healthcare infrastructures, and elevate the quality-of-service delivery. Against this backdrop, this analytical study aims to elucidate the participatory dynamics of children and youth throughout the project’s continuum, from its conceptual stages to its comprehensive evaluation. Utilizing a methodological framework grounded in longitudinal and iterative analyses, the study seeks to uncover the depth of their roles, the intricacies of their engagement, and the potential influences of prevailing societal constructs on their participation. Key findings underscore the tension between established societal norms and the intrinsic motivation and capacity of children and youth to influence and shape health related initiatives. Their agency, while often overshadowed by traditional constructs, emerges as a potent force, suggesting an untapped reservoir of positive influence in health and nutrition practices. In conclusion, this examination not only brings to light invaluable lessons about youthful engagement but also underscores the critical need to reframe participatory paradigms. The derived recommendations advocate for an enhanced emphasis on children and youth, positioning them not merely as beneficiaries but as co-designers and architects, central to shaping and refining Lesotho’s developmental trajectories. The essence is to champion a more inclusive, child- and youth-centric model, ensuring their voices resonate at the core of future developmental endeavors.
keywords: Children and Youth Engagement, Participatory Dynamics, HIV-Nutrition Project, Health and Nutrition Outcomes, Longitudinal Iterative Analysis