Funding support: Millenium Challenge Corporation (US Agency)
Number of staff: 10
Overall aims of the centre
To help the government of Lesotho address widespread overgrazing and degradation of alpine wetlands, which are prevalent throughout the highlands and are an important ecological and economic resource to the country and its people. The project aims to support the Government of Lesotho’s National Poverty Reduction Strategy by identifying means of enhancing rural livelihoods through improved watershed management.
This is a pilot-scale project being implemented to design and apply restoration measures and examine alternative land management prescriptions at three target study areas of Khalong-la-Lithunya on the borders of the Butha-Buthea and Mokhotlong Districts, Koti-Sephola in the Mokhotlong District and Lets’eng-la-Letsie in the Quthing District.
In conjunction with the pilot studies, a broad-based assessment of Lesotho’s wetlands was undertaken to characterize the environmental, social, and economic implications of current management practices and to identify potential economic opportunities beyond herding.
Based on the results of the pilot studies and environmental and socio-economic assessment, a strategic action plan will be developed that outlines requirements for establishing a national watershed management and wetlands conservation program.
Description of the centre
The project operates in three target study areas of Motete in the Butha-Buthe District, Koti-Sephola in the Mokhotlong District and Lets’eng-la-Letsie in the Quthing District.
The approach being taken has been to identify and mark out wetlands and their catchments in three areas and mark them for this pilot initiative
In Lekhalong-la-Lithunya and Koti-se-phola, two catchments have been identified. In one of these catchments there is active restoration activities going on, while in the other one, which is adjacent, there will be no intervention. They are termed “Restoration Site” and “Reference Site” respectively, and ongoing monitoring is on-going throughout the project and this will help in assessing the impact of the activities.  1 hectare is equivalent to 100 square meters or 0.01
Main CEPA work areas
The Project has main components viz; biophysical and socio-economic sections. The socio-economic section mainly works with stakeholders at all levels from the policy level down to the village level. We educate and train users of the selected watersheds in wetlands benefits and sustainable use of wetlands resources specifically the range resources.
Different approaches are being used to interact with stakeholders: public gatherings, workshops, celebration of important days, the media, production and dissemination of publications, etc.
1. We can confidently mention that at least to day since September 2008 when the Project commenced, we have managed to inform all key stakeholders about the Project. These include, the key partners at the central level, district administrators, relevant principal and ward chiefs and respective villagers.
2. We have signed a memorandum of understanding with Principal Chiefs who had some contentions over one of the Project site that they will be equally informed and engaged in the project activities and the Project requires their support irrespective of their conflicts.
3. On the 11th April 2011 the Honourable Prime Minister of Lesotho Mr Pakalitha Mosisili launched the Project at Lekhalon-la-Lithya in Motete where over 1000 people attended. Among the quests of own, were the seven Honourable Ministers of the Government of Lesotho, the US ambassador to Lesotho, her Excellency Ms Michelle Bond to name but a few.
4. There is considerable progress made with construction of bio-physical interventions at two of the Project sites of Lekhalong-la-Lithunya and Koti-sephola where the use of gabions, concrete structures and re-vegetation of specific areas of the watersheds are being implemented.
Although we have extensively interacted with a wide range of stakeholders of the project, there is still a major problem that we think is deep rooted in our stakeholders: Hesitation to remove livestock and stop grazing at the Projects sites.
Producing written materials.
Building / maintaining structures.
Engaging young people; working with volunteers; engaging hard-to-reach groups; engaging the local community.
Education and communication
Working with primary schools; working with secondary schools; delivery adult education; lobbying / running campaigns; developing resources / materials.
Auditing / assessing effectiveness; PR and marketing; health and safety; project planning.