Lesotho, the small African kingdom nestled within South Africa, is no stranger to struggle. Cases of HIV/AIDS have run rampant, average daily wages are some of the lowest in the world and the average life expectancy for men and women is estimated to be around 40-years. Since the mid 1980s, Lesotho has also been in international news with the creation of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. LHWP is a global program involving South Africa, Lesotho and a number of international financial backers created to reroute water from Lesotho to neighboring South African territories, while also boosting Lesotho’s struggling economy. Unfortunately, the project has suffered numerous difficulties including cases of bribery and a lack of funding for resettled communities that has damaged the livelihood of families.
A lesson to learn from the events that have been unfolding in Lesotho is the importance of ethical decision making and accountability by the parties in charge of managing the project. Multiple instances of bribery were documented over the years that have created a cascading effect of poor funding for development projects and a damaged economy. It is up to those in power in a program such as LHPW that is largely focused on improving a country’s economy, to ensure that decision making is cost effective, beneficial to the national economy, while also maintaining project timelines.