Lesotho ICM learning best practices in integrated catchment management from Zambia

The GIZ, GWPSA, and Lesotho Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) Coordination Unit (CU) undertook a learning exchange mission in Zambia from 24th to 28th October 2022, to capture best practices and experiences in catchment protection and restoration in the country. This engagement was aimed at the technical public service directors and heads of mandated institutions responsible for water, land, meteorology, local government, environment, food, and agriculture.

During the mission, the delegation held stakeholder consultations with the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation, the Water Resources Management Authority, and various stakeholders. The delegation also visited various catchment areas in Mazabuka, Monze, Pemba, Choma, and Livingstone to appreciate some best practices in sustainable land and water resources management in Zambia

In welcoming the delegation to Zambia, Engineer Joe Kalusa, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Development and Sanitation for Zambia, commended the government of Lesotho for the great work it is doing to restore water, land, and the long-term prosperity of all communities in Lesotho and the wider Orange-Senqu River Basin. He also commended the Lesotho government for conducting the learning journey which would also be a platform for Zambia to learn from Lesotho.

“I am delighted to receive the mission from Lesotho on this learning exchange program in land and water resources development”, he said. “We hope that the mission will provide good deliberations that will enhance strong linkages between Zambia and Lesotho, through governments and operating partners”

“Most land degradation is caused by human and animal activities taking place on the river resources banks and catchment areas”, says, Engineer Joe Kalusa

He bemoaned the huge contribution of human and animal activities to land degradation which has been aggravated by the pressure on land and water resources, caused by the increase in the Zambian population. He mentioned that the government is developing a roadmap to restore and protect the deteriorated river basins in Zambia.

The delegation visited the Mwemba-Musende Catchment Protection Demonstration site, located in the Magoye District of Southern Province. The community is working on protecting and restoring the catchment under the Catchment Protection component of the “Accelerate Water and Agricultural Resources Efficiency (AWARE) Programme”. Through intensive community involvement, the programme constructed soil bunds, trenches, check dams, and retaining walls.

Stream bank erosion on a duplex soil in Mweemba Musende, downstream of where AWARE interventions are being installed

“The bunds and trenches increased water harvesting and recharge. The resultant improvement in the water table increased the availability of water in wells, which now stretches from one rainy season to the other”, said Mr Malambo Peter Magoye, Water User Association executive member and AWARE Programme Site Supervisor in Mweemba -Musende. “The check dams are trapping sand, thereby reducing water velocity and sealing the gullies”.

A visit to Senior Chief Mukuni, in Livingstone, in the southern Province, gave the delegation an appreciation of the traditional authority aspects of ICM in Zambia.

The delegation paying homage to Senior Chief Mukuni

Through the learning journey, the delegation of 24 stakeholders learnt various best practices of catchment management, such as engagement of authorities at all levels of programme implementation, impactful extension service, community engagement, soil, and water conservation, scaling out and deep intervention from local influencers, afforestation and reforestation, development of policies, strategies, and catchment operational plans. This activity responds to learning and/or knowledge-sharing needs which supports regional learning and exchange and raising awareness for the Lesotho ICM under the ReNOKA Programme. This is by developing, deploying, and informing a regional and international learning strategy with very specific learning objectives and outcomes and which will include key aspects like gender, WEF nexus and climate, within the broader framework of ICM.

Dr Koetlisi Koetlisi, GWPSAF Country Program Manager for Lesotho ICM/ ReNOKA said Zambia has done quite well in catchment management planning, sustainable catchment management practices, catchment management learning opportunities and enabling environments and institutions.

“The visit offered the opportunity for managerial and technical cross-learning which the Kingdom of Lesotho attributed to regulation and enforcement; water supply and sanitation services; coordination and facilitation. The visit also enhanced; south-south cooperation around integrated
water resources management (IWRM)”, said Dr Koetlisi.

He said the visit is the second one following the learning journey to Tanzania and Kenya in May 2022, during which the Lesotho ICM delegation learnt best practices such as impactful extension services, community engagement, soil and water conservation, scaling out and deep intervention, afforestation and reforestation, resource mobilization strategies, development of policies, strategies, and catchment operational plans, and the importance of citizen science and local level stakeholder engagement. 

The exchange programme also highlighted the need for a legal framework, or at least an established policy structure, to harness the goodwill and interests of local stakeholders while improving the implementation of broader national objectives.

The mission forms part of the “Support to Integrated Catchment Management (ICM)" Project in Lesotho is co-financed by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in partnership with GWPSA.