In a significant step towards combating climate change and promoting food security, Gem Institute, in partnership with Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL), has initiated an annual fruit-tree planting campaign.
The campaign was launched at ‘Mutlanyana Primary School in the Botha Bothe district, with the aim of planting 1200 apple and peach trees across 13 schools nationwide during August this year.
The project seeks to empower youth to address climate change effects while ensuring access to nutritious food.
The Act4Climate Change Fruit-Up School Drive, organized by Gem Institute, strives to engage schools in fruit tree planting, contributing to environmental preservation and sustainable food production.
Gem Institute, a community-based social enterprise and innovation impact hub, collaborates with youth and women to combat inequality and unemployment.
ETL, in support of the initiative, continues its partnership with Gem Institute that began in 2022.
Last year, over 1300 apple and peach trees were planted in 16 schools across nine districts, marking a significant effort to promote ecological awareness and practical sustainability practices.
Mpho Letima, the founder of Gem Institute, highlighted the urgency of addressing climate change and unemployment. He emphasized that planting trees not only counters climate change but also equips the youth with essential skills for the future.
“Supporting young people at this stage of their lives is crucial to their development. By fostering skills now, we set them up for self-sufficiency when they complete their education,” Letima stated.
Speaking at the launch event, ‘Mapusetso Ntšekhe, ETL’s General Manager for Marketing, Communications, and Customer Experience, stressed the importance of responsible tree planting. Ntšekhe shared her own learning experience, expressing that proper tree planting techniques involve more than digging a hole and watering.
The initiative aims to sensitize the younger generation about the correct methods and suitable fruit tree choices for the country.Addressing the event, Lejone Mpotjoane, the legislator for the Hololo constituency, underscored the financial implications of neglecting local production.Mpotjoane lamented the unnecessary loss of money due to importing products that can be locally produced.
He stressed the value of preserving fruit trees for sustainable harvests and encouraged imparting preservation techniques to students.‘Matebello Seana, the Principal of ‘Mutlanyana Primary School, expressed gratitude for the initiative and the trees provided. Seana committed to ensuring the proper care and maintenance of the newly planted trees, involving both parents and students in their upkeep.
“We promise to take care of this gift together with parents and students. We are going to water the trees as we were taught,” she affirmed.