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NUL explores strategies for SDGs


Professor Nqosa Mahao
Professor Nqosa Mahao

Pascalinah Kabi


NATIONAL University of Lesotho (NUL) Vice Chancellor Professor Nqosa Mahao says the institution is ready to assist the country achieve the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Addressing students during the SDGs Prize Challenge held on Thursday, Prof Mahao said the feat could be achieved if the university came up with practical and innovative solutions to the problems the country is facing.

Championed by NUL and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the SDGs Prize Challenge is a competition where students are expected to come up with innovative solutions in three thematic areas of SDGs, HIV/AIDS the behaviours of young people and the disconnect between education and employment.

SDGs are a UN-sponsored effort to create a common set of development goals for all communities in every country, with a deadline for attainment of 2030.

Under the competition, the students — individually or in groups — were asked to choose one theme and one area of intervention.

The student who delivered the most innovative solutions received a prize consisting of a kick starter stipend from US$500 (M7000) to US$2000 (M28 000) depending on the type and scope of innovation. The winner also received an additional training package on entrepreneurship and project management skills.

Prof Mahao said as part of ensuring the university plays its role of helping the country achieve the 17 SDGs, the institution and UNDP set up a multidisciplinary team to project what Lesotho should be by 2030.

He said the team was assembled last week to collaborate with the government, particularly the Development Planning ministry.

“At the beginning of this year, academics congregated in Thaba-Bosiu where we put our heads together and said as an institution, what should be the flagships of our research effort given the constrains on the resources and the need to have a much more enhanced impact on policy formulation by the government,” Prof Mahao said, adding they came up with the seven research areas.

“On the seven flagships we agreed on poverty studies for the simple reason that we are a poor country and we have to study and understand the phenomena of poverty and how it recycles itself with our policymakers on how it can be overcome.”

He also revealed that NUL’s Water Studies Institute was at the finalisation stage and would soon be presented to the Senate during the first quarter of next academic year.

Speaking at the same occasion, UN Resident Coordinator in Lesotho Karla Hershey said climate change was the most complex issue facing humanity in the 21st century.

Ms Hershey said Lesotho was at a crossroads of many challenges ranging from the El Nino-induced drought, socio-economic decline, land degradation and poverty.

She said the UN was aware of the fact that inclusiveness was paramount to the achievement of the SDGs, which mostly depend on the participation of the youth.

Ms Hershey also indicated that children and youth had the greatest stake in the future and the UN recognised their role in achieving the SDGs, hence the launch of the SDG Prize Challenge.

For his part, Ministry of Development Planning Principal Secretary Tlohang Aumane said government was working hard to ensure SDGs are mainstreamed in the National Strategic Development Plans (NDSP).

He said it was crucial to include the SDGs and plans to achieving them in the NDSP.

“Cabinet has approved a roadmap that will guide the implementation of SDGs and to ensure that there is proper information dissemination for every Mosotho,” Mr Aumane said.

“Government has invested a lot in health but there are seemingly no returns matching the financial investments hence the need for innovative solutions from young people.”



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