Local community takes the lead in advancing its own development
  • January 10, 2012

Through the support of the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Government of Lesotho is advancing the process of decentralization in the country by empowering local councils and community members to advance their own development.

As part of this process, local steering committees, formed in the districts of Maseru, Berea and Thaba Tseka are prioritizing the communities’ needs and realizing small scale infrastructure projects.

In the village of Mokoallong, access to water was identified as the principal development priority. “Since I was young, water has been a big problem for us. Due to the location of our village, we had to travel for many hours to collect water from the nearest spring,” recalls Mapaseka Peete, the Chief of Mokoallong.

Chief Peete went on to highlight: “Now that the water is pumped directly into the heart of the village, our lives have completely changed. As we no longer have to walk the long distance to the spring, we are free to re-invest this additional time in working together to address the community’s other priorities; irrigating the land and planting maize ahead of the coming harvest, spending more time in the education of our children and so on”.

Chief Peete concluded by commenting “I want to thank our development partners a million times for their investment in making this possible. We look forward to working with you and the local council in realizing other important construction projects in the community.”

Reflecting upon his involvement in the local steering committee, Nija Molatuoa commented: “We are beginning to bare the fruits of local governance. We have begun to work together to solve the problems that we have all identified. This is something very positive for us to build upon and develop in the future.”

Following the instillation of a main water tank, with a capacity of 20,000 litres, water is pumped from the nearby spring and distributed through a series of pipes that now reach over 500 people. Members of the local community took a lead role its construction and will take direct responsibility for conducting small scale repairs as and when needed. Major maintenance for this and future infrastructure will be provided by the local council.

The funding for the project was made possible thanks to a cost-sharing agreement between the central government in Maseru, UNCDF and UNDP.

Building the capacity of local councils and establishing local steering committees to develop and implement small scale infrastructure projects complements national level efforts that are currently underway to establish a fiscal transfer system that will provide the long-term basic for similar local development initiatives in the years to come.

The Lesotho Local Development Programme partners the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and supports the Government of Lesotho in advancing the nations’ decentralization agenda. The programme provides technical support at the national, district and community level to strengthen service delivery locally as part of efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The four year programme is being piloted in the districts of Maseru, Berea and Thaba Tseka.

For more information on UNCDF's programmes in Lesotho, please visit the UNCDF Lesotho page.