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Congress and LECODU's succesful partnership project in Lesotho

Issued on February 15, 2010 at 02:14 PM

Lesotho girl - Young girl in Lesotho. Photo:Eileen O'Leary.
Young girl in Lesotho. Photo:Eileen O'Leary.


"This project is rescuing embattled and marginalized workers of Lesotho and their families".


ICTU and the Lesotho Congress of Democratic Unions have, together with Irish Aid, developed this trade union capacity building project. The first year has been successful and LECODU is now represented in all 10 districts of the country. Previously LECODU only had committees in two of the districts.

HIV/AIDS

The HIV/AIDS information campaign, which is a part of the project, is expanding. In Lesotho, where 25% of the population is infected and more than 300,000 children are orphans due to the epidemic, HIV/AIDS is an issue of high priority for the trade union movement. The existence of the ten district committees has contributed to a more decentralised and effective HIV/AIDS information campaign work.

One important LECODU affiliated union in this work is the Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT). Adelina Maile, the treasurer in LAT, emphasizes how vital the Irish assistance is to the work of LAT in terms of HIV-education for teachers. Many adults in Lesotho have contracted HIV/AIDS and, in common with other countries across Southern Africa, the education sector in Lesotho is losing so many teachers to this deadly disease that schools are being forced to shut down. This project enables the LAT to continue their life-saving work with teachers and enable schools to remain open.

New funding 2010

The project represents the first time ICTU has formally engaged in a capacity building programme with a trade union congress in the developing world. It has been co-funded by grant assistance from Irish Aid (€20,000) and by contributions from Congress affiliates, IMPACT (€10,000) and PSEU (€15,000). This project now needs funding for the second year. Congress is confident that the partnership project will be ensured by new contributions from several affiliated unions in 2010. So far we have already received important contributions from INTO (€20,000) and IMPACT (€10,000).

Rescuing marginalised workers

The General Secretary of the Lesotho Congress of Democratic Unions (LECODU) Mr. Elliot Ramochela together with board member Mrs Adelina Maile were invited to Ireland at the end of August last year. They participated in the Global Solidarity Summer School in Waterford where they reported on the ICTU and LECODU partnership project.

Elliot Ramochela said that he was "Grateful, beyond expression, to the Irish Government and ICTU who, despite experiencing economic hardships, through this project are rescuing embattled and marginalized workers of Lesotho and their families"