The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) has announced it has appointed a consultant for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) Phase II Social Development Master Plan (SDMP), meaning work to outline viable development projects to benefit Phase II affected communities can start next week.
Bigen Africa Services (Pty) Ltd (South Africa), partnering with Lesotho-registered firm, Inspire Innovation Business Consultants (Pty) Ltd and Canadian-based Cowater Sogema International Inc, were awarded the contract following an in-depth bidding process which commenced in 2019.
“The move to develop a comprehensive SDMP demonstrates LHDA’s commitment to sustainable development in the project area. The master plan will be a comprehensive process that builds on lessons learnt from Phase I and will prioritise the participation of communities in the LHWP II footprint area to ensure ownership and sustainability of projects,” said Tente Tente, Chief Executive.
Work on this contract entails assisting the Project affected communities across the entire Phase II landscape to identify priority areas for social development initiatives aimed at addressing social, economic and health needs and generally improving the quality of life of people in the Phase II Project area.
The assignment entails the investigative and conceptual design of social development projects. During the planning process for this social development masterplan, the consultant will engage with and ensure the participation of households, communities and local authorities in the project area and other relevant stakeholders, including NGOs, donor agencies and government departments.
The identified development activities and expected deliverables will be included in the plan which will be implemented by LHDA. Social development within the LHWP as underscored in the Treaty. The SDMP is one of the initiatives that the LHDA is undertaking to manage risks associated with involuntary resettlement to ensure that the livelihoods of affected people are not only restored but also improved, where feasible.