Using drama, poetry and song, AAP Lesotho’s roadshow informs rural people all over the country about climate change
Pictured: AAP Lesotho Climate Change Ambassador and Director of the Leseli Youth Sport Programme Nthethe Ntai speaks at the launch of the roadshow in Teyateyaneng.
On a cold Friday morning in May, a team of enthusiastic young people stood before a large crowd at the Lioli Football Club in Teyateyaneng, a town in Lesotho’s Berea district.
They were AAP Lesotho’s ‘Climate Change Ambassadors’, a group of young people chosen to deliver public messages on climate change and adaptation through drama, poetry, song and other artistic performances. Having been schooled by AAP Lesotho on the threats climate change poses to development, and the ways rural Basotho can adapt, the troop devised a series of powerful and informative vignettes telling stories their audiences could relate to and engage with. These have now been performed in almost every district in the country as part of an awareness-raising roadshow that began in Teyateyaneng before rolling on through Lesotho’s northern provinces of Leribe, Buthe-Buthe and Mokhotlong before heading south.
With a focus on energy use and health, two areas identified by the AAP as pivotal to boosting the resilience of rural communities in Lesotho, the roadshow shared information on renewable and alternative energy sources accessible to the communities and on the need for hygienic household water storage systems given the expected increase in water-borne diseases. It also explained the aims and activities of the AAP. In each town the roadshow visited brochures detailing the mandate of AAP Lesotho and its objectives, activities and achievements were distributed and AAP promotional materials such as caps, T-shirts and pens were given to participants in the show’s question and answer sessions.
The roadshow was publicised through media announcements and interviews prior to its arrival in each area. Assistance with publicity was also provided by associates of the Leseli Youth Sports Programme (LYSP), an NGO partner of AAP Lesotho that uses sport and performance activities to deliver developmental messages and which helped recruit the show’s young participants.
Getting this show on the road
At the launch of the campaign in Teyateyaneng, District Administrator Mofihli Phaqane joined AAP Lesotho Project Manager Thabang Phuroe in a march along Mofolo Street in the centre of town. At a tree planting session along the way they were joined by the District Youth Coordinator Thabang Makubakube and the Director of the LYSP Nthethe Ntai. The vital role of trees in environmental protection was elaborated on at the tree planting before the march moved on to Lioli Football Club.
Mr Ntai, who is also one of AAP Lesotho’s Climate Change Ambassadors having completed the AAP’s training, spoke at the football club about the work of the AAP.
‘This is the reason why the government of Japan is supporting 20 African countries, Lesotho included: to ensure that long term adaptation strategies are part of the development planning frameworks,’ he explained.
The Climate Change Ambassadors then performed their creative retellings of adaptation and development messages.
Mrs Lipontša Ntisa, a Maputsoe resident who attended the roadshow and was interviewed by Lesotho’s national TV news, said she could relate to the topics presented.
‘We have seen that the climate has changed but we have been ignorant and lacked understanding on how to adjust our actions to live within the changing environment. We are thankful for this campaign touching on issues that affect us,’ she said.