Khoelenya community library in Mohales’Hoek receives furniture and equipment including laptop computers, books, television, radio, projector and tables and chairs. This is part of the strategy to strengthen capacity of communities to receive information on national and local policy and other government decisions and be able to engage in national discussions with policy-makers and decision-makers. Communities in Khoelenya are already using WhatsApp and Facebook to communicate on local issues and participate in national issues and the additional equipment will make it easy for them to access internet, watch local news and listen to pertinent radio programmes.
The furniture and equipment were received by the chief, members of local government council, students and members of community based organisations affiliated to DPE in the presence of the Community Animator for Khoelenya, Ms. Rosalea Souru who is responsible for running the library and engaging community members in activities. Community based organisations, representative of the local council,Ntate Mapeshoane Toka of Atlehang Sethaleng could not hide his happiness. Mphonyane Hashe and Tlholohelo Kholo-kholo both girls from Mekaling High School said that they will use the internet enabled computers for research as they have no access to internet in their schools. The significance of internet access was echoed by Dlamini Lehloenya , young person doing sewing who believes that his business will grow as he becomes aware of new trends and styles online. Community based organisations will also use the place for their meetings and members of council will also use the place to hold reporting and other engagement meetings between themselves and the community.
DPE is grateful for the support by its partners Denmark Lesotho Network from Denmark and Cor Van Haasteren Trust from the Netherlands. This is part of a three-year(2017-2020) Community libraries’ initiative implemented by Development for Peace Education in Khoelenya, Polihali, Lebakeng, Seforong, Koebunyane, Hloahloeng, ‘Mamaebana and Lekokoaneng. The initiative seeks to bridge the digital divide by giving rural and hard to reach communities access to computers and empower them to use internet to advance the citizens-policy maker dialogue. Further it aims at encouraging dialogue among communities as a means of building peaceful and harmonious relations. Community libraries as an initiative has proven more relevant in the time of COVID-19. This will form an integral part of DPE work to rekindle community potency in fighting COVID-19.