Maphutseng school reaps climate smart rewards

 

MATHATISI SEBUSI

MASERU – While critics say it is time consuming and costly, climate smart agriculture has yielded positive results for Maphutseng Primary School in Mohale’s Hoek.

The school is one of the beneficiaries of the UNDP’s Global Environment Facility (GEF) financed project titled “Reducing Vulnerability from Climate Change (RVCC)” in foothills and lowlands and in the lower Senqu River basin.

UNDP worked on the project in collaboration with Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

The project was implemented in 2015 to mainstream climate risk considerations into the land rehabilitation programme of Lesotho for improved ecosystem resilience and reduced vulnerability of livelihoods to climate shocks.

RVCC is a 10-year project started in 2015 and only piloted in three community councils in Mohale’s Hoek.

Through the project, among others, the UNDP capacitated students on climate change and even introduced a climate change manual in primary and high schools in Mohale’s Hoek.

The manual was introduced to allow children from lower grades to learn about climate change, its impacts and how they can reduce their vulnerability to climate change thereby increasing their resilience.

Located about 90km south of Maseru and facing a huge threat of losing arable land to soil erosion Maphutseng Primary School is one of the schools that were introduced to the climate change manual.

The largely unemployed inhabitants of the area face severe hunger and serious water shortages exacerbated by climate change.

Speaking to this publication, the Principal teacher at Maphutseng Primary School, ’Malintle ’Mantula noted that ever since their capacitation by UNDP, the school has been able to produce its own vegetables. As we speak they have produced so much cabbage that it is not only enough for consumption but there is some for sale and they are even considering giving children some to take home.

She said had it not been for schools being closed due to Covid-19, they would have produced more. The school principal added that the skills and knowledge they obtained from UNDP on climate smart agriculture and practices they implemented have proven to them and the surrounding communities that climate smart agriculture, if approached well and given a chance, could resolve their food insecurity challenges.

’Mantula noted that before UNDP capacitated them, they were struggling to produce anything due to shortage of water and the method they previously used for planting vegetables was not yielding much produce due to the poor soil that was most of the time swept by the water during heavy rains.

She, however, noted that all the struggles are a thing of the past as water and concern about soil erosion are a thing of the past. These she attributes to the efficacy of climate smart agriculture.

Apart from capacitation on climate smart agriculture, the school was given two water tanks by UNDP.

’Mantula said the climate change manual played a big part in teaching children about climate change, its impact and has helped the children adapt to climate change and are now more resilient to different climate shocks.

She is confident that when schools re-open in August, the school will carry out agricultural projects without struggle to produce food not just for consumption but also for sale.

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