TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant, Vodacom Lesotho, has partnered with Limomonane Trust to officially launch a nationwide sustainable rural greening and forest restoration project.
The initiative kicked off last year at Menkhoaneng, Leribe before going to Thaba-Bosiu. The Raliemere ‘Green Fest’ in Mafeteng over the weekend marked the official launch of the campaign.
Vodacom said the campaign was part of an ambitious plan to plant one million trees in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).
The weekend event included the planting of 200 trees over the Raliemere plain in Mafeteng, panel discussions, games and festivities aimed at raising awareness about the need to plant more trees.
Speaking during the tree planting exercise at Motsekuoa High School, Vodacom’s external affairs manager, Katleho Pefole said, “We are pleased to continue to be involved with this noble initiative as it aligns naturally with our purpose of not only protecting, but also nurturing the planet as a caring organisation”.
For her part, Limomonane Trust founder, Lipuo Nkholi, appealed to the principal of the school, Moqhali Matšela, to encourage students to look after the trees and ensure that they are not destroyed.
“We have been planting trees for a long time but they were not suitable for this dry area. We have now specifically chosen Raliemere as an arid area to undertake this greening project. We appreciate the need to plant more trees,” Ms Nkholi said,
On his part, Tšepo Ntaopane, Vodacom’s head of external and regulatory affairs, said their wish was to plant a whole forest in the area.
According to a statement from Vodacom, the aim of the campaign is to create a green belt across the most arid parts of the country. The belt is expected to link with other green parts such as Thaba-Tseka, rural Butha-Buthe and Leribe in the north.
“Other green belts along the South African frontier are also expected to spread the lush green blanket all the way to the sea,” the company said.
So far, the Vodacom/Limomonane-led initiative has seen more than 50 000 trees planted across the country over the past six months.
The two companies also held the Raliemere ‘Green Fest’. The event gave small businesses an opportunity to showcase their products such as handicrafts.
They said they plan to make the show an annual event after it attracted the Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry and Soil Conservation, and Small Business Development. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and several local companies have also given the initiative the nod.