Energy ministry honours women
ENERGY and Meteorology Minister Selibe Mochoboroane yesterday honoured women and female-run organisations making a positive impact in the energy and climate change adaptation sectors.
Addressing guests during the Women Appreciation Awards held at a local hotel, Mr Mochoboroane said his ministry decided to hold the event after realising the government couldn’t achieve its mandate without women’s support.
He said the event was held at the end of August to cap the African Women’s Month commemorations with a bang and ensure efforts made by women in the energy and climate change sectors were recognised.
“The ministry’s senior management decided it was proper to celebrate the African Women’s Month in the context of celebrating and honouring women making a difference in the energy and climate change sectors,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
He said although the African Women’s Month concept was originated by South African women, it was only proper to honour and appreciate strides being made by Basotho women.
“Today we have our very own Basotho women heroes. We have seen how strong and dedicated they are. If you look into the 1996 drought situation and the recent one, you will realise that women are the most affected by these disasters,” he said.
The minister said the El Nino-induced drought left women vulnerable in all sectors as they were forced to protect their children from severe heat burn whose effects include skin cancer and diarrhoea.
He said women were forced to walk long distances to collect wild vegetables (bobatsi) to ensure their children and husbands had something to eat, adding women also queued for water due to its scarcity.
Mr Mochoboroane further said the recent heavy snowfall also affected women the most.
“It is therefore proper to honour you on this last day of the African Women’s Month. We honour you because we need your help to develop our own country.
“We need to reach a position where weather conditions like snowfall shouldn’t be a disaster but rather a tourism attraction and opportunity to use the moisture for farming,” he said.
Echoing the sentiment, National University of Lesotho lecturer, Dr Puleng Matebesi said: “Issues of energy and climate change are mostly women’s issues. When you talk of energy, it is women who travel long hours to collect cow dung and firewood for household purposes.”
Dr Matebesi urged the government to include women in drawing up policies meant to address challenges in the energy sector.
“Every community has its own needs. Lifestyle and government policies in the energy and climate change sectors should cater for such needs,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter where we are living. Basotho women need to access clean, safe and sustainable energy.
“Modern development technologies must be used to help women lead a normal lifestyle in the face of climate change and that can only be achieved if we include them in decision making processes.”
She said government must work harder to ensure that energy was readily accessible and available to women, adding it was not enough to electrify villages without equipping women with the means to buy the electricity.
Women Appreciation Awards winners: Technologies for Economic Development Managing Director ‘Mantopi Lebofa, ‘Mamalefetsane Phakoe, Solar Electrification Group, ‘Mampho Thulo, Kopanang ka Lerato Basali ba Patlong, Lekokoaneng Clean Energy, Majantja Temong, ‘Matokelo Pakiso, Thaba-Putsoa Development Association, ‘Makholu Mopalo, Baroana Rock Art Centre, The Bana Project, Good Shepard Centre for Teenage Mothers, ‘Mamamello Rakolobe, Pascalina Letsau, Iketsetseng Bacha, Dr Puleng Matebesi-Ranthimo, Liketso Seeiso, Sebabatso Mohlobola, ‘Mabafokeng Mahahabisa, Monica Moeko, Ntsoaki Segoete and Dr ‘Mamoeketsi Ntho.