independent

Monday 26 August 2019

Action Aid Ireland launch five year plan for Lesotho

Ken Phelan

Action Ireland Trust's 'Vision 2020-2025' strategic plan for its operation in Lesotho was presented at an information and exhibition evening in Fingal County Council recently, proudly hosted by Mayor of Fingal, Councillor Eoghan O'Brien.

Action Ireland Trust is a registered charity dedicated to transforming the lives of rural communities in Lesotho, and Fingal County Council, in partnership with the charity and Portmarnock Community School have, over the past number of years, entirely mapped Lesotho, an independent Kingdom surrounded by South Africa.

The planning project has trained local planners on the ground, together with Fingal County Council funding a scholarship programme where planners from Lesotho are currently completing their Masters in Spatial Strategy at Technological University Dublin (TUD).

The 'Vision 2020-2025' plan demonstrates the urgent need for long-term spatial strategies in developing countries, and in response to this, Action Ireland Trust has proposed a National Spatial Strategy (NSS) for Lesotho.

The proposed plan has received positive support from senior officials of the EU, UN and World Bank in Lesotho, as well as with Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Principal and Deputy Principal Secretaries of the Lesotho Government.

Action Ireland Trust recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lesotho Ministry for Education and Training to partner with five schools in Maseru to provide extensive teacher training plot over 130 teachers and to provide sanitation facilities to over 5,000 learners.

This project will follow the internationally recognised 'WASH' program driven by UNICEF, with the aims to provide water, hygiene and sanitation in the form of clean flushing toilets.

Commenting on the five year plan, Fran Whelan, CEO of Action Ireland Trust said: 'Action Ireland Trust aims to commence the National Spatial Strategy at the earliest possible date, with a view to completion by the end of 2020.

'A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship to explore funding options and to this end the Ministry has also agreed to provide sufficient staff, office and administration support for the duration of the project.'

In addition to the National Spatial Strategy, Action Ireland Trust will continue to support local communities on the ground in Lesotho.

Key projects outlined in the plan include major infrastructural improvements to St. Angela's Cheshire Home for Children with disability, renovation works at the local Ha Hlalele high school, primary school and the completion of an early childhood centre situated in Ha Hlalele due to open in August 2019.

Action Ireland Trust is now looking forward to working with the charity's five new partner schools in Maseru.

The charity also provides skills exchange programs, creating opportunities for employment and developing entrepreneurial skills and projects for local people.

Fingal Independent

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