Over the month of March, ReNOKA carried out initiatives meant to raise awareness and influence the participation of the public towards the protection and conservation of land and water resources.
Water and land play a significant role in the livelihoods of Basotho and the people living within the Orange-Senqu River Basin as they provide a source for agricultural activities and commercial purposes.
MOSHOESHOE WALK 2023
Jump-starting an action-packed month of March, ReNOKA joined the iconic 16th Moshoeshoe Walk on the 9-11th March, walking from Menkhoaneng in Leribe to Thaba-Bosiu in Maseru. The walk follows the footsteps of the late King Moshoeshoe 1 in establishing the Basotho nation.
With participants from Lesotho, Botswana, Malawi, Eswatini, South Africa and Zimbabwe taking part, ReNOKA used the opportunity to sensitize and inform participants about the land and water management challenges faced by Lesotho.
This was emphazised by ReNOKA’s National Coordinator, Makomoreng Fanana during the closing ceremony held in Thaba-Bosiu on the 11th March.
He said “We must never forget that Lesotho is considered the water tower of Southern Africa. With this degradation our land isn’t able to act as proper catchments, absorb and release water gradually. As a result, our ability to store water is threatened- and this is a problem that will affect millions of people across the Orange-Senqu River Basin”.
He called on everyone to join ReNOKA in it’s efforts to restore land and water resources in Lesotho by actively avoiding actions that harm the environment like littering and grazing animals on wetlands.
WORLD WATER DAY 2023
Following the Moshoeshoe walk, ReNOKA continued to raise awareness about the importance of water during the World Water Day 2023.
Here, with the support of a local youth theatre group, ReNOKA commemorated the day through poetry, drama and dance at public spaces of Pioneer Mall and Alliance Franciase de Maseru, sharing messages about water and sanitation. These spaces allowed for the proliferation of social interaction with the audience. Media houses were also present to further carry the discussions and inform the public about the significant role of water in the livelihoods of the people.
World Water Day is an annual United Nations (UN) observance day held on 22 March to highlight the importance of fresh water. The day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
This year’s theme, “accelerating change” called for solutions towards water and sanitation crisis. Dysfunction throughout the water cycle undermines progress on all major global issues, from health to hunger, gender equality to jobs, education to industry, and disasters to peace.
Governments now have to work on average four times faster to meet the SDG 6 on time, everyone needs to take action and change how they use, consume and manage water. Back in 2015, the world committed to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 as part of the 2030 Agenda, the promise that everyone would have safely managed water and sanitation by 2030.
The UN report shows that billions of people and countless schools, businesses, healthcare centers, farms, and factories are being held back because their human rights to water and sanitation still need to be fulfilled. This then calls for an urgent need to accelerate change – to go beyond business as usual.
In the Southern African region, Lesotho is considered the water tower as vital river systems have their source in the Maloti mountains. 15 million people in the Orange-Senqu River Basin across Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia rely on this river for water, farming, industry and hydropower. However, the current rate of degradation is threatening the water security in the region.
SADC DIRECTORATE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING WORKSHOP 2023
Wrapping up the month, ReNOKA had the pleasure of hosting the SADC Directorate of Infrastructure during the SADC planning workshop which was held in Lesotho from March 28th – 31st 2023.
The mission focused on catchment resilient, climate risk informed development and management of water infrastructure.
During this planning workshop, the SADC mission embarked on several site visits to appreciate the extent of land and water infrastructure management in Lesotho as well as the measures that the country is undertaking to enhance water security and other land related issues.
This is where ReNOKA showcased how the programme is contributing towards improving the socio-economic livelihoods of Basotho and how it is enhancing resilience towards climate change impacts. For instance, the stone bunds that have been put in place in Kolo, Ha-Lenonyane in the Likhetla Priority Sub-Catchment to curb soil erosion by slowing down the speed of run off.
After visiting Ha-Lenonyane, Ha-Ramarathole Solar Plant and the Metolong Dam, the SADC mission proceeded to Butha-Buthe and Mokhotlong where they had an introduction to the Lesotho Highlands Water and Hydropower Project Phase II. This was complemented by the field visits to Polihali Dam site as well as the ‘Muela Hydropower Station.
The SADC Director for Infrastructure ‘Mapolao Mokoena even acknowledged the visit to Lesotho provided an opportunity for the SADC region to learn how the country is handling issues of water infrastructure management.
In conclusion, the Director of Department of Water Affairs from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Motoho Maseatile said Lesotho stands to gain a vast of experience from this exercise. “This has been a wonderful exchange, we interacted with the colleagues within the SADC region on their programmes towards developing and improving the water infrastructure and we also shared what we are doing here in Lesotho,” Maseatile said.
ReNOKA (‘we are a river’) is a national programme and citizen movement for the restoration of land and water in Lesotho and the Orange-Senqu basin. Support for ReNOKA is provided through a partnership between the Government of Lesotho, the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The EU and BMZ contributions are implemented through a technical assistance project “Support to Integrated Catchment Management in Lesotho” by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
For more information
Visit the ReNOKA website at www.renoka.org
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National ICM Coordinator, ICM Coordination Unit
GIZ Programme Manager, Support to Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) in Lesotho
‘This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Integrated Catchment Management unit and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)’