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The Kingdom of Lesotho and the European Union today concluded an agreement to support civil society on the premises of the Ministry of Finance. The agreement was signed by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Moeketsi Majoro, and by the EU Ambassador, Dr Christian Manahl, in the presence of the Executive Director of the Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCN), Mr. Seabata Motsamai.
The agreement signed today will provide support to the LCN - an umbrella organisation in the country - with a grant of EUR 4.5 million (about M65 million) in order to increase the organisation's overall institutional and coordination capacity. It will also provide support to other organisations through funds that will be allocated under a Call for Proposals.
The rationale for this structure arises from the unique capacity-development, coordinating and federating role of LCN, which is essential for the continued strength of civil society organisations as a whole.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Manahl said: "LCN's main agenda is to empower its members, in particular those in the districts. The European Union recognizes that providing a voice to poor and marginalised groups is an important role that can very often be performed only by active and accountable CSOs. Particularly where it concerns situations of social exclusion, for example of people who live in remote and inaccessible areas, voicing interests and demands is a function that will usually be performed by rural CSOs and CBOs. Over the last three years, through EU support, LCN has worked hard to ignite the role of CSOs in Lesotho and they have become important stakeholders in development".