Ireland’s links with Lesotho stay strong
2016-12-01 15:34:59 -
The Integration Question with Princess Pamela Toyin

From the legacy laid by Irish missionaries as educators in Africa, Ireland has achieved a positive reputation of reliability in partnering with other nations. In the continent of Africa, Ireland has no less than a dozen diplomatic missions, one of which is Lesotho. And despite the challenges faced by the nation, the bilateral agreement between Ireland and Lesotho remains strong.

Recently this bond was reiterated when the Dublin City Council Staff World Development Fund made a donation of €12,000 to Irish NGO Action Ireland Trust for their ongoing work in Lesotho since 2011.

According to Peter Martin, secretary of the DCC fund, the cheque will go towards the construction of a water supply pipeline to a village and Hlalele High School, a secondary school located in the outskirts of the capital Maseru.
Lesotho’s Ambassador to Ireland Paramente Phamotse, who was also present on the day, said the donation will assist toward furthering and completing the project for domestic and agricultural use.

“Lesotho was one of the first countries to receive direct development assistance from Irish Aid in 1975,” he said, giving context for this support.

“It is amazing that despite the fact that not every member of staff subscribes to this dedicated account, the staff fund pool raises an average of €3,000 monthly, which we are happy to donate,” said fund treasurer Donald Adegbesan.

Francis Whelan, CEO Action Ireland Trust, said funds raised since 2001 have supported various educational and medical programmes such as building new classrooms, an administration block, an IT facility and a poultry resource in Lesotho.
“Our aim was to listen and respect the Lesotho people’s needs, poverty and high levels of HIV/Aids, and prepare a five-year strategic partnership covering our key areas of education, primary care, agriculture, nursing and fire safety training, together with planning and development.”

Among the project’s successes, Whelan asserts, has been seeing the high school in Hlalele “come from the bottom of the schools table to the top 10 in Lesotho, with a significant reduction in terms of young girls dropping out of school.” 

In addition, a new partnership between Fingal County Council and Lesotho’s Ministry for Local Government as well as a new online mapping project at have been “of huge benefit to the people of Lesotho and beyond”.

Part of this partnership is a schools linking programme that’s so far involved 300 Transition Year pupils from Portmarnock Community School.

It’s an impressive commitment to a people whose disapora in Ireland numbers just over 50 on record. Still, as their ambassador says: “They are all an important part of the Lesotho diaspora in Ireland, whom we encourage to share their skills, experience and wealth with their country of birth.

“All the Lesotho citizens who are resident in Ireland legally are well integrated in their local communities, and have become valuable members of such communities. 

Ambassador Phamotse added: “The work that Action Ireland Trust has been doing in Lesotho in the past five years of my tenure has been the highlight of my role.”

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Princess Pamela Toyin is a journalist and author with over 25 years’ experience in various roles, including as an executive PA to company directors, as a public relations executive, reporter, editor and publisher, research consultant and workshop facilitator.
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