Mr. Boithabiso Sithole is the National Chairperson of the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA). Boithabiso has been a volunteer with LPPA for the last 34 years. In this interview with Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, he shares insights about his motivation for joining LPPA, and the role that volunteers play towards the organization’s success.
When did you join LPPA?
It all began when I was one day invited to attend a workshop. There, LPPA gave a powerful presentation about family planning and its benefits not only to the family, but to the community and the country’s overall economic growth and development. At that time, LPPA was renowned for its promotion of family planning information and services. It stood out as the only organization in the private sector that was doing that kind of work then.
A few days after the workshop, I decided to join LPPA as a volunteer since I strongly believed in the work of the organization. I also believed in the ideals of family planning; based on my own personal experience.
Why I Chose a Smaller Family
I grew up in a family of 10; seven boys and three girls. My father provided for us sufficiently and we never lacked. However, after he died when I was still young, our family underwent significant challenges. Since we were a big family, I watched my mother struggle to provide for all of us. It wasn’t easy on her, and that was when I decided that I would have a smaller family myself.
I became a strong advocate of family planning, talking about the need for people to have smaller families, or have the number of children that they could adequately provide for.
Today, I have three children who are well-educated and who I have been able to provide for sufficiently.
How do Volunteers Participate in LPPA Activities?
As a volunteer, I have participated in LPPA activities at the grassroots, national and regional level –both as an ordinary member, as a member of various committees, and now as a member of the Board.
Over three decades, I have come to witness the vital role that volunteers play with regard to enabling the Member Association meet its objectives and deliver on its mandate; that of serving the vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations in Lesotho with quality sexual reproductive health services.
Volunteers have been involved in providing strategic direction to the LPPA. We have over the years ensured that LPPA’s policies address important issues and that they are responsive to emerging needs.
The fact that our volunteer network is comprised of individuals drawn from different backgrounds (lawyers, engineers, statisticians, accountants, doctors, nurses, teachers, youth and students among others) has been of great value to the organization. Their contributions and insights have been invaluable in steering LPPA in the right direction. Persons Living with Disability, Persons Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) and members of other special groups also form part of our volunteer base.
What keeps LPPA Volunteers Motivated?
We are motivated by the need to make a difference in our communities. As volunteers, we derive satisfaction in knowing that we have positively contributed to the life of a woman, man or child and possibly helped save their life.
It also helps that LPPA is an organization worth being associated with because of its credibility and good standing not only among the population it serves, but with the government, other Civil Society Organizations, NGOs, the donor community and other stakeholders. We feel proud to be associated with an organization like LPPA.
Volunteers have also benefited from LPPA in many ways. Many of us have been trained on various aspects of sexual reproductive health by the organization. We have also been facilitated to participate in various forums at the national and regional levels where our understanding of SRH issues has been improved. We have also increased our social network through our participation in these forums.
We are happy that LPPA was recently feted for its success in the 3rd cycle of Accreditation. It is a source of great pride; knowing that the organization we so passionately serve met all the IPPF Accreditation Principles and Standards. We are committed to ensuring that LPPA maintains its status as the leading SRH organization in Lesotho.
*Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama is the Governance and Compliance Officer, IPPF Africa Region.
Learn more about Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) here