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rise Hosted Athabasca University Students as part of a knowledge exchange and skills sharing program 

Thanks to a Canadian government-funded program, the Global Exchange Opportunities Program, nine students from Architecture, Heritage Resources Management and Computer Science as well three faculty members from Athabasca University in Canada visited Lesotho for a 2-week visit this month. 

rise Executive Director – Daniela Gusman with Athabasca University students and tutors upon arrival in Lesotho

During this trip in Lesotho, the contingent had the privilege of visiting Morija, Lesotho’s cultural and historical center, where they spent a large part of their time. Along with 10 Architecture Technology students from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology,  the Athabasca students were trained in how to facilitate a participatory design workshop (PDW) for the proposed development of the heritage park in Morija. After gathering all the opinions, needs and wants of various members of the community as well as key stakeholders, the students worked tirelessly to analyze all the information and came up with some potential layouts for the potential development of the Heritage Park, which they then presented to the community and stakeholders for validation.  

Athabasca University students and tutors engaging in a PDW with rise pioneers and Morija community members 

While in Morija, alongside community members and rise’s in loco fellows, the students got their hands dirty as they got to learn about how to construct using rammed earth and how to make earth blocks. 

Construction of rammed earth and earth blocks

An important element of the visit, was for the students to exchange their knowledge and skills in a practical manner, whereby they got to work hand-in-hand with rise’s in loco fellows who are currently building the Stadium of Life, a football stadium for a non-profit called Kick4Life who use sport as a tool for social change. 

The National University of Lesotho also hosted the students for a lecture on The role of Basotho design culture in architecture which was led by Ms Mpinane Qhobela. They also engaged in another lecture session which was hosted by the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology on the History of Architecture in Lesotho given by Ms Boikokobetso Mohlomi which can be seen Limkokwing University Lecture Part 1 Limkonkwing University Lecture part 2

As part of the study and exploring Lesotho, the group also visited the national monument and mountain called Thaba Bosiu, the rural horseriding community of Semonkong, the University town of Roma and the capital of Maseru at the National University of Lesotho learning about the Mountain Kingdom’s heritage, architecture and tech challenges and opportunities.

Additionally, the Heritage and Computer Science students got to collaborate with students and tutors from Botho University, the Innovation Hub at the National University of Lesotho as well as the Morija Museum & Archives, the Seriti Sa Makhoarane Heritage & Tourism Project, The Hub in Morija and the Morija Arts Centre. 

rise Executive Director, Daniela Gusman with the staff of Botho University Lesotho and some of the Athabasca University tutors and students after a lecture.

Lastly the students had an opportunity to interact with Basotho artists, musicians, dancers, participate in a drumming circle as well as visiting some of Lesotho’s successful social enterprises including Pheha Plastic and Noma Pads where they joined a session  learning about the establishment’s operations and a hands on experiment of using the machinery machines to make plastic recycled products and reusable sanitary pads!

This visit was part of a 2-year program funded by Global Exchange Opportunities which will also include another group of up to 15 students coming to Lesotho in 2024. 

For anyone interested in visiting Lesotho on an educational trip contact us at [email protected] or sign up for updates about our International Workshops which you can learn more about here 

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