In 1993 Sechaba Consultants joined a network of small research companies in South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia that are engaged in similar and complementary work. The objective was to move towards a more regional approach. This has significantly increased the Company’s capacity to provide services in and outside Lesotho as it can now draw from this wider pool of professionals.
Sechaba believes in the value of long-term research and has been involved a number of such initiatives, including the Poverty Mapping Exercise (1990-2000), the Southern African Migration Project (with Queen’s University, since 1996) and the Afrobarometer project (with IDASA, since 1999).
Since 1997, the Company has worked closely with British and US NGOs that are assisting small scale farmers in East and West Africa to develop intensive organic farms for food security and income generation. This has involved training the local NGOs and CBOs that work directly with the farmers concerned. Sechaba has developed monitoring and evaluation systems that make it possible to trace the long-term progress of the farmers.
In 2004 Sechaba became involved in Poverty and Social Impact Assessments (PSIAs) on behalf the World Bank in Mauritania (mining sector) and Madagascar (health sector) that were to run over a two year period. Again, this has involved building the capacity of local stakeholders to undertake surveys, analyse the results and dialogue with policy makers. Sechaba also played a leading role in the finalisation of Lesotho’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.
A significant part of Sechaba’s work has involved determining people’s attitudes towards public utilities, such as water, electricity and telecommunications, as well as towards Government services such as revenue collection. This has entailed large scale ‘willingness and ability to pay’ surveys in both rural and urban areas.
Sechaba has been involved in numerous environmental impact assessments which have been mandatory in Lesotho since 2001. The Company has specialised in conducting the Social Impact Assessment and Public Participation activities that are critical components of an EIA. These have included assessing the likely impacts of large scale infrastructure projects in the water and electricity sectors, as well as mines and industrial estates. In 2006 one of the company directors (David Hall) took charge of a small social impact assessment team working under the Mekong River Commission in South East Asia.
In all, over the last 18 years the Company has been involved in a more than 200 studies, project planning and capacity building exercises.