The role of networks in civil society in Lesotho : a case study of World Vision Lesotho.
Sehloho, Mamosa Elizabeth.
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This research focuses on civil society’s efforts to reduce poverty in Lesotho. The primary focus is on the networks that are formed in this process through a case study of World Vision International in Lesotho. According to the Millennium Development Goals Report (2008:9), the majority of Basotho live in increasing poverty, deprived, among others, of incomes that cover basic necessities like food, shelter and clothing. Although Lesotho is a relatively small Southern African country, it is faced with challenges that include chronic poverty (Bello, Letete, Rapapa and Chokobane, 2008:2). Both the State and civil society are concerned with alleviating this problem. In efforts to reduce poverty in Lesotho, a number of programmes and strategies have been applied, including the Millennium Development Goals operational artefact: Poverty Reduction Strategies. According to the MDG Report (2008:2), the prospects of Lesotho achieving the goal of reducing hunger and poverty by half by the year 2015 ranges from unlikely to potential. In the efforts of reducing poverty, both civil society and government ministries network to achieve this goal. In the current study, eleven organisations in a network, including government ministries, are discussed. Of the eleven organisations, seven are civil society organisations, while the remaining four are government ministries. This study is of a qualitative nature. Primary data was used in the form of structured in-depth interviews. Furthermore, a social network analysis was used for data analysis. The findings of this paper showed evidence of the role played by ‘networking’, in other words, although there was insufficient information concerning the ways in which World Vision International networks with other organisations in Lesotho, the findings from the interviews pointed at the importance of partnering and ‘networking’ with other organisations, as well as the role played by shared resources in the poverty reduction process. This research hopes to add to the literature on poverty in Lesotho generally and the importance of networking for poverty alleviation specifically. Furthermore, this study examines the networked involvement of World Vision Lesotho in development initiatives and poverty reduction approaches in Lesotho.
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