11 December 2022
Unpacking land and water management issues at Ha-Khabo with the media
In its efforts to build a national movement with various stakeholders, ReNOKA hosted journalists and reporters on a site demonstration at Ha-Khabo in Hlotse Priority Sub-Catchment (PSC)on the 29th November 2022.
Ha-Khabo is one of the priority intervention areas where high levels of soil erosion and land degradation are evident and being rehabilitated under ReNOKA.
Led by the national Integrated Catchment Management programme Coordination Unit (ICU) Deputy Coordinator, ‘Mats’olo Migwi, the demonstration hosted 18 journalists and reporters from 14 local and international print and broadcast media houses. They were afforded an opportunity to appreciate first-hand negative impacts of climate change and human behaviour on the environment.
Migwi expressed her gratitude to the media for honouring the invitation and highlighting that the media plays an important role in informing the public.
“I am happy to have you here at Ha-Khabo today so that you can have first-hand visuals and information on the issues of land and water that we are addressing with the community through the ReNOKA programme. We are working with the Community Watershed Teams as the local people who are implementing the activities in the area”, she said.
The Catchment Manager at Hlotse PSC, Phomolo Khonthu led the discussions on the challenges ReNOKA is addressing of land degradation, soil erosion and unsustainable land practices on a wetland.
“There are many ways of achieving this and one of them is through stone terraces. The terraces are helping to trap soil that would otherwise be washed away by rain and slow down the velocity of the water while encouraging free infiltration. ‘Lesotho is a natural grassland and overtime, the bare stone you’re standing on will be covered in grass again through practices which minimize soil erosion”, he said.
Through the support to ICM in Lesotho, GIZ Technical Advisor Taole Tesele said for these initiatives to work, it is important that the communities have a full buy-in.
”One of the challenges we are facing is the poor usage of the land. For instance, wetlands are not utilised in their natural forms which results in their degradation” he said. He further narrated that the wetlands at Ha-khabo could be a very reliable reservoir that provides water to the community throughout the year if the community protects them”.
With an extensive career in reporting, ‘Mathatisi Sebusi of Public Eye in Lesotho said the day was insightful to her as a climate change and an environmental reporter.
“I compliment ReNOKA for seeing it fit to engage the media in their work, to appreciate the challenges the programme is trying to address., It was great to see and discuss the work done. This makes it easier for us to report back on the key elements so that the public can be well informed of the consequences of their actions if this situation prolongs,” she said.
One of the duties of ReNOKA movement is to educate the communities about the importance of taking care of their land to ensure that it continues to serve them for a long time. This was iterated by ReNOKA Soil and Water Conservation expert, Nthatuoa Kuleile. She said they programme teaches the communities on how they can rehabilitate their land and preserve their resources.
Speaking on why it is important for Basotho to conserve their natural resources, the area Chief of Ha-Khabo Jeremia Lehloba said by restoring the land and water, his people will begin to see improved livelihoods through better crop yields and healthier livestock.
Representing the Community Watershed Team, Sipho Khanyapa said in the future, they can have a reservoir in their community which would be good for irrigation and hydroponic farming.
Building on the practical skills and knowledge of sustainable agricultural practices delivered to members of each community, Seithati Mphatso’ane reporting for Sunday Express newspaper said it is great to learn that ReNOKA has embarked on setting up specialist graduate courses to embed ICM in academic curriculums. This, she said will enable the smooth flow and sharing of information as journalist can refer to the available academic materials to enhance their knowledge in ICM.
ReNOKA is calling on communities, government, civil society and the private sector to participate in restoring and safeguarding Lesotho’s beautiful land and water through more sustainable farming and land use practices that will secure the country’s water sources.
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)’