Impact of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project in poverty alleviation in Lesotho

Ramaili, Lisema Gladys (2006-04)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2006.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Poverty in Lesotho is more prevalent in the rural areas that depend on subsistence agriculture as the main source of livelihood, with a limited potential in natural resources. Poverty has social, economic and political connotations that necessitate a multidisciplinary approach in any approach towards its alleviation. This study set out to define poverty, establish a comprehensive way of alleviating poverty and examine whether the approach adopted by GOL through the LHDA and other sectors benefits the communities affected by the LHWP and brings about development in the long run. Therefore it was informed by a review of the documented literature, including policy documents, research reports, journal articles and books. This were supplemented by direct personal interviews with 35 respondents consisting of 25 household heads from both the resettled and host communities, and 10 other officers from the institutions that are affecting development in the Phase lB project area. The survey highlighted that the LHWP is characterised by a mixture of scenarios. However, the positive effects of the project far outweigh its negative implications. The affected communities have incurred loss of arable and grazing land, houses, graves, forests and fruit trees, medicinal and other indigenous plants, cultural roots, functions and values, and control of their natural resources to the project. This necessitated compensation in either cash and/or food over the project's lifetime period of 50 years, but the communities have not been fully satisfied with the compensation packages that they received and the manner in which these were distributed. A majority of them argued that their loss could never be made up for by the compensation that they received from the LHDA. The rural development projects that have been implemented in the project area under the umbrella of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) were perceived as long-term compensation for the disruption of people's livelihoods. These are categorised into three broad groups, including production, education and infrastructure development and are supervised by specialised extension workers. The study showed that these programmes have been widely accepted by their beneficiaries and it established that a majority of challenges that face the implementing agencies relate to the inability of the programme cooperatives to prove their financial stability and independence, as well as to a lack of commitment and laziness on the part of the beneficiaries of the programmes. This has created a condition of dependence on compensation and assistance from the LHDA. Therefore, the study questions the potential for the programmes' sustainability after they have been handed over to the Government with the winding down of the LHWP. The study confirmed that the GOL and the LHDA had adopted measures to restore the lives of the affected communities after the implementation of the LHWP, as stipulated by the LHWP Treaty. The involvement of other stakeholders has proved that successful poverty alleviation depends on cooperation between the different sectors of the economy. Therefore the study made recommendations that the capacity of the affected communities need further strengthening through a variety of training programmes to assist them to devise other survival strategies beyond subsistence agriculture, while equipping them with necessary skills to manage and sustain the rural development programmes and reduce dependence.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Armoede in Lesotho kom meer voor in die landelike gebiede, waar staatgemaak word op selfversorgende landbou as die hoof bron vir oorlewing, terwyl natuurlike hulpbronne beperk is. Armoede het sosiale, ekonomiese en politieke konnotasies. Armoedeverligting vereis dus 'n multi-dissiplinere benadering. Hierdie studie het ten doel om armoede te definieer, om 'n omvattende plan daar te stel om armoede te verlig, om te bepaal of die benadering wat GOL deur die LHDA en ander sektore volg, die gemeenskappe, wat deur die LHWP belnvloed word, bevoordeel en ontwikkeling op die lang termyn tot gevolg het. Hierdie studie is dus toegelig deur die nagaan van beide gedokumenteerde literatuur, insluitende beleidsdokumente, navorsingsverslae, joemaalartikels, asook boeke. Die studie is aangevul deur persoonlike onderhoude met 35 respondente, bestaande uit 25 hoofde van huishoudings van beide die hervestigde- en gasheergemeenskappe, asook 10 beamptes van die inrigtings wat invloed uitoefen op die ontwikkeling in die Fase IB projek-area. Die oorsig het getoon dat die LHWP 'n mengsel van scenarios tot gevolg het. Die positiewe effekte van die projek oortref egter by verre die negatiewe implikasies. Die gemeenskappe wat deur die projek geraak is, het bewerkbare veld en weiveld verloor, asook huise, grafte, woude en vrugtebome, medisinale en ander inheemse plante, kuturele wortels, funksies en waardes, en beheer van hul natuurlike hulpbronne. Dit het kompensasie in die vorm van kontant en/of kos genoodsaak vir die duurte van die projek se 50-jaar leeftyd. Die gemeenskappe is egter nie ten volle tevrede met die kompensasiepakkette wat hulle ontvang het, of die manier waarop dit versprei is nie. Die meerderheid redeneer dat hulle verlies nie gelykgestel kan word aan die vergoeding wat hulle van die LHDA ontvang het nie. Die Landelike Ontwikkelingsprogramme wat in die projek-area gelmplimenteer is, is gesien as die lang-termyn kompensasie vir die versteuring van die mense se bestaan. Dit kan verdeel word in 3 bree kategoriee naamlik produksie, onderwys en infrastruktuur ontwikkeling, en staan onder toesig van gespesialiseerde uitbreidingswerkers. Die studie dui aan dat hierdie programme oor die algemeen aanvaar is deur die persone wat daaruit voordeel trek. Dit het verder vasgestel dat die meeste uitdagings wat die uitvoerende agentskappe in die sig staar, te make het met die onvermoe van die program se medewerkers om hul finansiele stabiliteit en onafhanklikheid te bewys, gebrek aan toewyding, en luiheid aan die kant van die program se begunstigdes. Dit het afhanklikheid geskep van die program se kompensasie en hulp van die LHDA. Dus word die potensiaal van die programme se volhoubaarheid bevraagteken wanneer dit aan die regering oorhandig gaan word aan die einde van die LHWP. Die studie bevestig dat die GOL en die LHDA maatreels in plek gestel het vir die herstel van die lewens van die gemeenskappe wat be'invloed is deur die implementering van die LHWP, soos uiteengesit in die LHWP verdrag. Die betrokkenheid van ander belanghebbendes bewys dat suksesvolle armoedeverligting afhang van die samewerking tussen die verskillende sektore van die ekonomie. Daarom beveel die studie aan dat die vermoe van die bevoordeelde gemeenskappe verder versterk moet word deur middel van 'n verskeidenheid opleidingsprogramme om hulle te help om antler oorlewingstrategie te ontwerp wat verder strek as selfversorgende landbou, terwyl hulle toegerus moet word met die nodige vaardighede om die Landelike Ontwikkelingsprogramme te bestuur en minder afhanklik te wees.

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