By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

LERIBE – The Head of State, King Letsie III has charged his government to ensure that projects undertaken in the country are sustainable and outlive the donor period.

This he said during a site inspection visit at one of the Renoka working site at Ha-Khabo in the Leribe district last week.

His Majesty urged the beneficiary communities to take care of projects that are being implemented by Renoka in their communities saying they will live for long.

By way of background, Lesotho has resolved to manage and restore her land and water sources through a multi-sector national initiative for the Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) and it is being implemented through the Renoka movement.

Renoka is a “multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary custodial network of critical agents dedicated to the restoration of water and land, and the long-term prosperity of all communities in Lesotho and the wider Orange-Senqu River Basin”.

According to Renoka, “the objective of the site visit [was] to show case the measures implemented through Renoka and to highlight the importance of traditional and administrative authorities in the protection and management of natural resources in the country”.

Some of the interventions Renoka has carried out at Ha-Khabo include mounting of terraces, drifts and gabions, silt trap along the roadside drains, usage of the erosion blanket within the eroded crop area and stone bunds.

“Our gratitude as a nation, our gratitude as a government to all the sponsors, the development partners, who have contributed to the Renoka programme, who have contributed with financial resources, with human resources, to make Renoka a reality.

“I have been saying… that this programme of integrated catchment management seems to be making a big differences in the communities where it is being implemented. I have seen this today and I have heard from members of the community that they appreciate the benefits that have been brought by the Renoka programme, benefits that have brought tangible benefits, tangible improvements to their daily lives, so for I am truly grateful,” he appreciated. 

He said there is a need for every Mosotho to have access to clean water adding that “water is life and to us Basotho, water is by far the nation’s biggest asset”.

The King continued: “There is no other asset which is valuable to this country more than water, so we have to do everything that we can to make sure that we protect the sources of that valuable asset for the benefit of our impoverished communities, for the benefit of our towns and for the benefit of the industry in Lesotho.

“And not only for Basotho, but for the benefit of all our neighbors who benefit from our water resources in the mountains of Lesotho. So our responsibility in preserving water resources is huge and we are grateful that such programmes as Renoka are helping us to carry out that heavy and important responsibility.”

The King also told the nation that he has embraced and will undertake the inspection duty on an annual basis to learn first-hand the measures taken for rehabilitation and protection of the land and water sources.

Meanwhile, he is the custodian of Lesotho water on behalf of the nation.

The European Union (EU)’s Lesotho Head of Delegation Paula Amadei said the impact of the climate “crisis is before our own eyes”.

She commended Lesotho for launching the Renoka programme adding that it is now starting to bear the results.

“Like individual streams meet to form a  river and sustain life, ReNOKA  represents a network of individuals, communities, professionals and leaders coming together to contribute to the restoration of water, land, and the long-term prosperity of all Basotho.

“Why is ReNOKA the answer to the climate challenge of Lesotho? Because degraded soil cannot absorb and regulate water flows. Degraded soil cannot support sustainable agriculture. Because erosion threatens the integrity of wetlands systems,” she said.

One  of the villagers ‘Mamakhabane Filoane, the resident of Ha-Majara, neighboring village to Ha-Khabo said the project has come in handy by constructing the road for them.

She said that Renoka has addressed their challenges including mobility adding that there should be more roads to connect the villages.

The King’s delegation included the Prime Minister (PM) Ntsokoane Matekane, Minister of Natural Resources Hon Mohlomi Moleko, the Minister in PM’s Office Hon Limpho Tau, the Principal Chief of Leribe Joel Motšoene, MPs (members of parliament). EU Head of Delegation to Lesotho Paula Amadei, German Ambassador Andreas Peschke and other government senior officers.

Renoka is sponsored by the EU and the German government through the GIZ.