And the winner is … the Lower Usuthu Sustainable Land Management Project

Written by Steve Twomlow, Lynn Kota and Norman Mavuso

The IFAD-supported Lower Usuthu Sustainable Land Management Project (LUSLM, also known as LUSIP-GEF) walked off with four awards at the Swaziland World Water Day Awards in March. LUSLM was showered with accolades, including first place for best photograph depicting water and sustainable development, and first place for sustainable practices.

Water is a fundamental resource, vital for human survival and ecological life,
thus it is a key element for sustainable development. This picture shows
a Ferro-cement rainwater harvester, it is 1,700 liters. The family is now getting
clean water within the yard instead of walking long distances to fetch water, giving the
girl child plenty time to do other beneficial activities, like doing school work.
©Norman Mavuso 

LUSLM did not stop there though, raking in two second-place awards. These awards recognized LUSM's community outreach and awareness creation on water and sustainable development. The project was awarded for showcasing activities on the water-harvesting techniques it promotes, including rooftop cement rainwater harvesting; infield ripper farrow and basin water harvesting; and water harvesting through land rehabilitation on degraded land and dongas.

LUSLM won the best photo award for an image of a family collecting water from their roof water harvester. For the sustainable practices award, the project was judged the best in the country in terms of community initiatives that have employed good water-management practices. These initiatives have sustained LUSLM's water-related projects, rendering them effectively operational for a long time.

National Project Manager Lynn Kota receiving one of the World Water Day
Awards on behalf of the LUSLM team. © Norman Mavuso 

For awareness creation, all organizations taking part in the World Water Day Awards were judged on how they raise awareness about the importance of proper water use and management – and the underlying issues which affect water availability and distribution. For community outreach, each project was judged for ''making a mark that can never be erased.'' LUSLM did this by uplifting and empowering communities with activities such as provision of water, sanitation and food-security measures for the rural poor.

The LUSLM Project team, in Swazi traditional attire, with the awards
at the project offices. © Norman Mavuso