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Letsatsi Lekhooa
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Letsatsi Lekhooa

Climate Activist Urging Climate Action in Lesotho

Once upon a time, under the mountains of Lesotho there lived a creature named El-nino that terrorised and destroyed everything in its path. It ravaged the land with its ability to raise temperatures and fuelling environmental degradation, natural disasters, weather extremes, food and water insecurity, economic disruption, conflict, and terrorism within communities. Sometimes, there would be heavy rains, floods and major drought that negatively affected people. When this creature was moving, it would leave houses destroyed, leave people with physical injuries, people with no food and land eroded and some forests burned. Everywhere it went, It also left animals and people dead. Most times even destroying vehicles. When it was really angry, the people would hear it roar as it shook the earth before causing heavy rains so that people and animals would drown. But when it was being generous, it would just scorch the land with prolonged droughts.

On the other part of the mountain of Mount Moorosi, there was a woman who lived with her son and family. She was a councillor of Telle G04 since 2005 and she used to work for her communities and mobilised community projects that are climate related, unfortunately community people would destroy them. In 2014, her son graduated from the National University of Lesotho, where he earned Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science. His name was Letsatsi Lekhooa nicknamed Mr.Climate and a very determined young leader, about his community development. This was also driven because he wanted to give back to the community as he was sponsored by National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) and unleash his skills acquired from the University.

Since his mother was councillor, she wholeheartedly dedicated her efforts to community development as mentioned earlier. One of the things she encouraged was fruit tree planting and production, unfortunately people rejected that project though she tried it several times. She had about two orchards and when the trees were planted people would come and destroy them. Letsatsi then realised that there is much to be done in his community of Mt. Moorosi and that might be lack of knowledge is the major factor which drove them to destroy those projects even if they are helping them. They would graze animals in the orchard and would remove or steal trees.

For his mother’s legacy to continue, he researched that the community is more intrigued by one’s excellence, so he was inspired to upgrade his mother’s community projects by implementing it himself so that he could win the community interest. Therefore, Letsatsi went to ask for land from the community chief ‘Morena Mahlomola Letsie’ and he was given about 7.5 acres and the council approved a lease of that piece of land. Thereafter, the young man sat down and thought about this very hard, and he decided to mobilise 12 influential youth and old people in community committees such as the water and land committee to brainstorm solutions where each of them was assigned 3 community members from different villages, to come up with implementation plans; leading to the integration of tree planting and food production and use of climate friendly seeds as a climate-smart initiative.Luckily, One day on 12 December, 2015, the Head of States met in Paris, France, there was an agreement called Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement sets out a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. It also aims to strengthen countries' ability to deal with the impacts of climate change and support them in their efforts. The Paris Agreement is a binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196

Climate Activist Urging Climate Action in Lesotho

Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Therefore, the world called for climate experts, as it will continue destroying people, buildings and creating more climate crises. That was where he learned more about climate and community transferable skills and in 2019 he was selected for the first ever United Nations Climate Youth Summit in New York, USA, where he also acquired more climate skills.

He then started equipping himself with climate change and community development skills. He completed his Diploma in Climate Friendly Travel Tourism, Certificate in Paris Agreement on Climate change as a global agenda, Climate Governance, Diplomacy, and Leadership Programme. He is in the process of completing his Master of Science in Climate Change at the University of Free State. Moreover, his advocacy on climate change has immensely influenced more people in Lesotho to learn more about climate change and even enrolling in some short courses. Letsatsi also took the initiative of mentoring other young emerging leaders into the climate change space. Since this climate change needs everyone to take action he is also being selected into the National Climate Change Committee under Public Outreach Committee as he has massive advocacy skills on climate change, community development and stakeholder engagement. Since being into climate space, he mobilised more than 20 youth-led organisations for Lesotho Youth Climate Change Dialogue in October, 2021. His neighbours, the villagers, and the country at large started adapting to climate change. These acts have shifted positively since people are not much affected as before because they are more climate resilient and have knowledge on climate change. People started taking action to produce more food and store enough water for their families and their animals. Moreover, the budget for 2022/23, stipulated a climate budget for the first time in history called Investment Climate Reforms of 255 Millions Maloti. It was true that if they did not take action to adapt and even mitigating it would escalate more and more. This is because climate change will not stop affecting people and animals day after day. Finally, Letsatsi and everyone and even the government of Lesotho, they are on the same page in fighting the climate crisis together. This means they leave no one

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