ReNOKA hosted a community engagement event for herders to raise awareness on the protection of natural resources especially wetlands. With over 100 herders in attendance, the events goal was to engage herders who are a key stakeholder under ReNOKA programme as they play an integral part in the protection of range and water resources.
Over the years, local herders have gained a negative reputation, as culprits who allow their animals to graze on protected rangelands, burning grass misguided by the notion that burning improves the new grass crop and not practicing sustainable herding. As custodians of natural resources, herders were addressed to highlight their significant contribution to management and protection of natural resources.
With the support the Lesotho Association of Non-Formal Education (LANFE), the engagement with the herders was facilitated through dialogue and linking key messages and principles of ReNOKA to the audience, whilst probing the participants to identify benefits of maintaining healthy natural environments. LANFE has been working in rural Lesotho for over 40 years in the advancement of non-formal education and in particular herders night schools. Other stakeholders at the event included Sisters of Good Shepherd, Wool and Mohair promotion Project (WAMPP) and Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHDA).
Speaking at the event, a herders’ representative, Mabesebese Mahamo said, “we are grateful for events like this because, as herders we are at different levels of understanding on environmental issues and constant engagements will help improve sustainable practices amongst us”. Ntate Mahamo, further requested that authorities should meet them halfway by fencing wetlands because they are as dangerous to the animals that are sometimes stuck either in the mud or within thorny vegetation.
Minister of Water, Honorable Kemiso Mosenene, also encouraged herders to keep doing a great job of taking care of livestock and emphasised that livestock farming contributes significantly to the economy of this country. He further inspired the herders and told them he also started off as a herder, and now owns a farm. He said he achieved this by working hard and ensuring sustainable use of land.
The Principal Chief of Matsieng, Prince Lerotholi Mohato Bereng Seeiso applauded RoNOKA programme for a great programme that compliments the challenging work that herders are faced with as custodians of natural resources. He further appealed to the government of Lesotho to support the work of organizations like LANFE that are educating herders.
The overall objective of the ReNOKA is to “facilitate socio-economic development and adaptation to climate change in Lesotho, while the specific objective is to institutionalize ICM under full implementation in Lesotho, based on gender equality and climate adaptation principles”.
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.
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National ICM Coordinator, ICM Coordination Unit
GIZ Programme Manager, Support to Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) in Lesotho