Projects from 1998 - 2003
Gillian Attwood of Wits University has compiled this document. It describes how Malealea Lodge promotes community involvement in tourism.
We encourage clients to interact with local people in a number of different ways:
Some tourists contribute more than money. A group of British students spent about ten days in the community working on different community projects, ranging from tree planting, to installing a wind turbine, to helping excavate a dam. The picture insert shows some of the tourists digging the dam with community members.
Skills development and training in the community
In addition to the contributions described above, other tourists have also been moved to work on a longer term with people in the community to develop skills. For example:
We make an effort to raise local awareness of tourism and thereby increase access to the tourism product. These efforts have centered mostly on encouraging tourism focused entrepreneurial efforts in the community. A concerted effort to develop training materials to help people develop their businesses has been made in this regard. For example:
The table below summarises the education materials developed for the communities and projects surrounding the Malealea Lodge, setting out the purpose of each set of materials as well as the number of people who have benefited from these materials, their financial value and the source of funding.
Much work has been done to develop a wide range of skills in the communities surrounding the Lodge, from business skills training to community development training.
Social investments have been made to improve education, health and infrastructure for local residents
Social investments have been made through donations to the Malealea Development Trust. Malealea Lodge initiated the establishment of the Trust, although it is not solely administered or controlled by the Lodge. Eight Trustees have been elected to manage and monitor the activities and finances of the Trust. These trustees include Mick and Di Jones, (the owners of the Malealea Lodge), four members of the local community and two other people who in different capacities have been involved with the Lodge and the local community over a sustained period of time.
Adult education and community development programme. Gillian Attwood, a researcher and lecturer at Wits University has developed a comprehensive education and community development programme. Gillian has spent three and a half years working with the community to establish learning circles who take up development issues in their villages. Each circle has two trained facilitators who manage and monitor the learning and action process. The project currently works with 11 villages in the Malealea valley, as well as in the Craft Co-operative itself. Each circle meets twice a week for a period of two hours. In total there are over 300 people involved in the 11 village learning communities and the craft co-operative and their related education and development activities.
The photo at right shows members of one of the learning circles recording the group’ s discussion about deforestation in their community
Other educational topics that members of the learning circles engage with include:
Literacy and numeracy is systematically integrated into these broad topics so that learners’ progress with learning literacy and numeracy skills in an ongoing way that is simultaneously contextualised within issues relevant to their everyday lives.
Support of schools and a community library
Through encouraging tourists to visit the local schools, the Lodge and the Trust have managed to raise money for infrastructure development as well as more general support for the school in the form of donation of stationery and books for the schools and the library.
Health and HIV/AIDS
Testing and awareness campaign
On a monthly basis, meetings are held at the clinic where members of the community can be counselled and tested for HIV by trained professionals. To date 56 people from the Malealea community have been tested.
Awareness and destigmatization campaign
Malealea is working hard to try and destigmatize HIV. A group of HIV+ women recently visited Malealea and shared their experiences with the about 400 community members at various gatherings. People were encouraged to test early and get help to live with the virus. As a result of these meetings 44 people from Malealea tested and two made public disclosures about their positive status to the community. These two women plan to continue raising awareness of HIV and break the silence surrounding the disease.
Support for people living with HIV
The Malealea Development Trust has established a relationship with a British organisation (AIDSARK) who are supplying anti-retrovirals to HIV+ people. (The people running this organisation visited Malealea Lodge as tourists.) The availability of ARV s provides people with an incentive to test. A nutrition improvement programme has also just been started. This programme encourages people to develop gardens and grow appropriate immune boosting foods.
HIV/AIDS and lifeskills training
To date, 25 local people have been trained to do HIV/AIDS and lifeskills education in the community. All of these people have done HIV education work in their respective village learning circles, reaching another 200 people. Working in conjunction with the local nursing sister, Village Health Workers have also been trained in HIV/AIDS issues.
The table shows all the different constituencies who have been trained, the number of people trained and the number of HIV/AIDS workshops held:
The table below summarizes the infrastructure that has been developed for communities in Malealea:
These photographs illustrate some of the community projects discussed:
Tsinyane village community garden Tsinyane dam under construction
Handicraft sales room under construction Preschool lesson in progress
(preschool in the background)
Wind turbine at the high school Wetlands conservation area
Respectful interaction between guests, staff and neighbours is encouraged
Malealea Lodge and the surrounding community are inter-reliant. The relationship with the local community is crucial to the overall success of the Lodge operation, and the success of the Lodge directly affects the well-being of the communities around the Lodge. It is thus very important that good relationships are promoted between the Lodge, staff, guest and community members. This is achieved in a number of ways:
For example, students from a British High School joined community members who were digging a dam for their village garden (see also Question One). These students paired with the local High School, and raised money on their behalf for the wind-turbine electricity generating system. An aspect of developing this relationship has been some research into Malealea and Lesotho more generally.
Efforts to conserve and protect the natural environment in Malealea have focused primarily on water conservation, waste management and energy conservation.
Water Conservation Initiatives
Wetlands conservation area
A small (350m x 80m) but critical area of land had been fenced to protect the area. This area used to be a fertile wetlands area, but due to overgrazing and harvesting of grasses, the wetlands has almost dried up. The purpose of this initiative is to restore the wetlands and which feeds a crucial spring that serves a population of between 2000 and 3000 people. Indigenous species of plants will also be rehabilitated in this area in the long term.
Harvesting of rain water
Due to the critical shortage of water in the area, rainwater is harvested wherever possible. A system of gutters preserves all water off the main roof of the Lodge reception and dining area, as well as the main store.
Waste Management Initiatives
Disposing of tin cans presents a real problem to a Lodge far removed from recycling
services such as Collect-a-can. For this reason cans have been recycled in a
number of different ways.
While these fire rings do help to dispose of a limited number of cans, they
also help to preserve wood the main source of fuel used for domestic cooking.
Since deforestation is a major concern, this initiative also has broader environmental
Wine bottles from the Lodge have been used to construct a ‘greenhouse’ in the community garden. The mouth of the bottle faces inwards, and water condenses in the bottle as temperatures drop towards nightfall. The water evaporates again as the sun warms the outside base of the bottle during the day.
Village waste disposal project
In addition to trying to address the waste produced by the Lodge itself, there have also been initiatives to manage waste in the surrounding villages. A village waste disposal programme has been started to encourage local people to dispose of waste in an organised way that preserves the environment. On the following page is a copy of the proposal for rubbish disposal that was presented to community at a village meeting. This proposal was accepted in July 2003, and the construction of the area allocated for rubbish disposal has begun.
Proposal regarding the disposal of rubbish and litter in Makhomalong Village
Members of the Malealea Development Trust and the owners of Malealea Lodge have noted with concern that the disposal of rubbish and litter in the Makhomalong village has become a difficult problem. There are many papers, bottles, tins and other items of rubbish lying around the village. These are not only unsightly to visitors who take guided tours around the village, but are also dangerous to members of the community. Children and adults may easily be injured on broken bottles. Animals who ingest the plastic that is lying around could become ill and die. It is clear that we need to address this problem. In this regard, the Trustees have come up with several suggestions:
We hope that the proposed actions will provide the community with a place to throw their litter and dispose of heir waste more systematically. We also hope that the zoning of the village into different areas, with different members of the community taking responsibility for those zones, will encourage members of the community to use the bins and become more aware of litter and the need to keep the environment clean. In this way we are confident that members of the community will be able to do something to address the problem of rubbish disposal in their village.