Climate change – including rising temperatures and a greater frequency of droughts and extreme rain events – is negatively affecting local communities living in rural parts of Lesotho. The fragile mountain ecosystems of Lesotho provide a range of benefits that increase the resilience of such communities to climate change. These include regulating services such as storing and retaining water as well as mitigating floods. However, these ecosystems are characterised by widespread degradation as a result of unsustainable land management and exploitation of natural resources. The symptoms of this ecosystem degradation in Lesotho include loss of vegetative cover and extreme soil erosion. Such symptoms reduce the capacity of these ecosystems to protect vulnerable communities from the increasingly negative impacts of climate change that are threatening their livelihoods.
The Government of Lesotho does not at present have appropriate policies and sector specific strategies in place to adapt to the anticipated impacts of climate change. For example, ongoing initiatives related to addressing ecosystem degradation currently do not take into account climate change-related risks and the need for both adaptation and mitigation. Furthermore, the capacity of Lesotho’s line ministries and various socio-economic sectors to plan and implement appropriate climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions is hindered by the limited availability of technical skills, up-to-date climate information and best-practice examples to inform the design of locally appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures.
The preferred solution to the climate change problem facing Lesotho is to strengthen the resilience of climate-vulnerable communities by: i) enhancing the capacity of government institutions and local communities to mainstream climate change risks into policies, plans and programmes; ii) implementing climate-smart ecosystem rehabilitation and management measures using a community/household based approach; and iii) establishing a system for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of various approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation to inform a process of adaptive management.
In response to above-mentioned challenge and solutions, the Government of Lesotho and the UNDP Country Office Lesotho are currently implementing a five year (2015-2020) GEF-financed project “Reducing vulnerability from climate change in the Foothills, lower Lowlands and the lower Senqu River Basin” in Lithipeng, Khoelenya and Thaba Mokhele Community Councils areas of Mohale’s Hoek District. The Objective of the project is to mainstream climate risk considerations into the Land Rehabilitation Programme of Lesotho for improved ecosystem resilience and reduced vulnerability of livelihoods to climate shocks. The project is supporting the integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation into national and sub-national land use planning and decision-making.
Project Goal, Objective and Outcomes
The project Goal is to ensure that by 2020 Lesotho adopts environmental management practices that promote a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy and society, sustainably manages natural resources and reduces vulnerability to disasters.
The project Objective is to mainstream climate risk considerations into the Land Rehabilitation Programme of Lesotho for improved ecosystem resilience and reduced vulnerability of livelihoods to climate shocks.
There are five project Outcomes, which are intended to achieve the project Objective, as follows:
- Increased technical capacity of the Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation and relevant Departments to apply up-to-date climate science for the management of evolving risks and uncertainty linked to climate change.
- Communities empowered with skills, knowledge, partnerships and institutions for managing natural resources to reduce vulnerability to climate change and increase resilience of natural and social capital (over 7000 households with potential for up scaling to cover 20,000).
- Over 50,000 hectares of land across the Foothills, Lowlands and the Lower Senqu River Basin rehabilitated through operationalization of the climate-smart Land rehabilitation programme.
- National strategies for rangeland and wetland management strengthened by the integration of climate change/variability and ecosystem management.
- NSDP mainstreamed into local development strategies to support the constituency-wide adoption of the climate smart land rehabilitation programme.
Progress towards building permaculture capacity and integrating this into community-based food production in the project community council areas.
In terms of addressing food security the project is providing support to communities in the form of quantities of a variety of seeds for planting, shade cloth, plastic and related structural material for the construction of green/shade houses, the provision of solar-driers for dehydrating fruit and the establishment of 14 Farmer Field Schools for capacity building. Community engagement with the project is on a voluntary basis and the provision of the items listed here are as incentives for participation in Land Rehabilitation Programmes.
Although the growing of food is happening at many of the sites within the project area, this is happening in the absence of any permaculture principles and practice. It is also the case that permaculture principles and practice have not been addressed with any of the training that has been provided to either technical staff of the relevant Ministries and/or the participating community members.
The RVCC project seeks to appoint an experienced National and/or International Consultant/s to train approximately 30 technical staff / NGO staff and 50 - 75 lead farmers / and teachers representing the 27 schools in the project area in the growing of food according to permaculture principles and practice to catalyse achievement of Project Outcomes i.e.:
- Increased technical capacity of the Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation and relevant departments to apply up-to-date climate science for the management of evolving risks and uncertainty linked to climate change; and
- Communities empowered with skills, knowledge, partnerships and institutions for managing natural resources to reduce vulnerability to climate change and increase resilience of natural and social capital (over 7,000 households with potential for upscaling to cover over 20,000).
- Technical guidelines for climate change adaptation interventions developed and implemented.
- Policy recommendations for the integration of climate risk considerations in the Lithipeng, Khoelenya and Thaba-Mokhele Community Councils’ development plans, as well as the Mohale’s Hoek District development plan implemented.
Scope of work
Under the overall supervision of the RVCC Project Coordinator and in collaboration with project Chief Technical Advisor and Field Facilitators, the national/international consultant will organize, lead and facilitate the training of30 technical staff / NGO staff and 50 - 75 lead farmers / and teachers representing the 27 schools in the principles and practice of permaculture for small scale growers and food security at the household and community levels. This training will take the form of formal lectures and workshops, as well as practical application in the development of demonstration gardens in each of the 15 Electoral Divisions in the three Community Council areas in the District of Mohale’s Hoek. This work must link and integrate with the Farmer Field Schools that have been established. In particular the consultant will undertake the following
- Undertake a fact-finding mission to the project area to meet with relevant technical staff, Farmer Field School Chairs and community representatives, participants and farmers in order to assess the situation as far as school, household and community-based food production initiatives are concerned and together with the technical staff, farmers, NGO representatives, Farmer Field Schools and Field Facilitators; compile a training schedule and plan for the development of demonstration food gardens.
- Develop training material aimed at addressing the specific circumstances found within the project area. Particular attention must be paid to the selection of food plants that are relevant to building resilience to climate change projections and local growing conditions; as well as food processing and preparation requirements.
- Deliver training as per the agreed schedule and to at least 30 technical staff / NGO staff and 50 - 75 lead farmers / and teachers representing the 27 schools. Note that training may be best delivered to small groups within each of the Community Council Areas depending on what is agreed to during the fact finding mission.
- Design, establish and support the development and maintenance of three demonstration food gardens (one per Community Council area) in which the principles and practices of permaculture are clearly demonstrated. As with the training particular attention must be paid to the selection of food plants that are relevant to building resilience to climate change projections and local growing conditions; as well as food processing and preparation requirements. Seasonal variations must be covered in this process to ensure that food can be produced throughout the year.
- Work with the Farmer Field Schools to ensure that the permaculture training is fully integrated into their curriculums, that the trainers have the capacity to replicate the training to more farmers, that they are able to support the replication of permaculture food gardens and the integration of permaculture practice into existing food gardens. Provide mentorship to the trainers monitoring the replication of the training and practical demonstration.
- Provide a report which documents the processes that were followed in the implementation of this work, detailing all the outputs and providing data on methods applied, seeds selected, food produced, farmer perceptions and the uptake of the permaculture principles and practice; and recommendations for policy integration/policy brief.