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LHDA sensitises Mokhotlong communities on enterprising

LHDA Chief Executive Officer, Tente Tente

April 1, 2020 3 min read

The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA), an implementing and management arm of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) for Lesotho – a multi-phased, multi-billion Maloti/Rand project between the governments of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa - is sensitisng on farm-and enterprise-based livelihood generating activities. The project implemented in partnership with the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SADP), Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO) and the Youth Enterprise Unit of the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation has recently completed a series of public gatherings with communities in the electoral divisions within the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) Phase II project area.

According to a press statement released by LHDA on April 1, the series of public gatherings which began on March 16 and ran until March 20 reached communities in five electoral divisions in the project area in Mokhotlong.  The purpose of the public gatherings was to provide local communities with a menu of viable, sustainable livelihood options to consider for implementation as they prepare to take advantage of the opportunities created by the implementation of Phase II or to mitigate against potential negative effects of the Project.

“The public gatherings focused on familiar, sustainable livelihood activities some of which are already practiced in the Phase II area with a view to supporting local communities to move from subsistence production to commercializing their small livelihood generating activities,” explains LHDA CEO Tente Tente. The livelihood options include farm-and off-farm activities such as raising poultry and pigs and developing handcrafts businesses to serve the tourism industry.

“We are facing a serious challenge of high unemployment and the livelihood options awareness programme opens up possibilities for potential small businesses that our people can start using the local resources in collaboration with LHDA and its partner institutions. We are a community whose livelihoods are mainly based on subsistence farming and the prevailing climate change conditions hinder progress,” stated Chief Abia Leuta of Likhameng, Maluba-lube at one of the gatherings.

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The LHDA’s livelihood restoration programme offers support to affected communities to enable them to undertake livelihood generating projects of their choice.                                                                                                   

Advice and guidance are provided by LHDA and external experts from partner organisations who will also provide capacity building support during the implementation of the livelihood improvement and restoration programme.

“Over the years we have seen that businesses that are sustainable are those that use the locally available resources, tap on the existing skills sets and serve the needs of their markets,” advised Mrs ‘Mathato Masiloane from BEDCO.

Mrs ‘Malichaba Nkhethoa, representing the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project explained to the community members attending the meetings that the SADP offers small to large grants for farmers who want to expand production for commercial purposes and access to innovative, sustainable solutions to overcome the challenges of climate change and others.

Three commercial banks with presence in Mokhotlong - Lesotho Post Bank, Standard Lesotho Bank and First National Bank, facilitated discussions around money management and the role of commercial banks in enterprise development.

Community members who expressed interest in implementing or improving their existing enterprise-based livelihood options were profiled at each public gathering.  This information will inform the design of the capacity building and support programme which LHDA will implement in collaboration with relevant stakeholder organizations.  Such programmes will include training on particular livelihood options such as poultry, dairy farming and vegetable production, and will be coupled with basic business management training in marketing, record keeping and financial management.

The public gatherings around livelihood restoration activities are part of the community engagement that underpins the broader Phase II socio-economic development programme, which aims to assist affected communities to be affected communities to be better prepared for the changes and opportunities that the Project will bring. The programme covers financial literacy, skills training and demonstration projects; all intended to support, restore and improve the livelihoods of those impacted by the Project.

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