Rhodes>ELRC>Research Projects>The Tsitsa Project

The Tsitsa Project


Restoring land and water in the Tsitsa River Catchment, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Shifting our approach to use governance principles that include the voices of resident communities.

The Tsitsa Project is a novel approach to restoring and managing land and water sustainably in the Tsitsa River Catchment.

The idea for the Tsitsa Project (previously known as NLEIP*) was born when two dams were planned on the Tsitsa River – provisionally called the Ntabelanga and Lalini Dams. These dams are a key part of the Mzimvubu Water Project and intended to supply water to communities as far away as Mthatha and to irrigate an area near Tsolo. However, key parts of the Tsitsa Catchment (~494 000 ha) are degraded, posing the possibility that the dams will fill with sediment and silt within a few decades. The solution? Repair the catchment by restoring the landscape to prevent the silting and, at the same time, improve the livelihoods of the people who live there.

Since its beginning in 2014, the Tsitsa Project has grown considerably and now aims at developing and managing both land and water in a sustainable way. Sustainability involves improving the land, the water, and the lives of the people who live in the catchment. The project approach has been different from most other, similar projects because:

  • it deliberately seeks out the community’s ideas and participation as a starting point;
  • it recognises that physical, biological, human and social factors are inextricably linked together and;
  • it recognises the importance of collaboration and knowledge sharing in achieving successful natural resource management and sustainable land management.

Many development facilitators have started from this point and recognise how much background work, how many meetings and how much effort it takes to implement a programme based on these starting points. At the time of writing (late 2018), we feel we have made a good start and are gradually building trust and are optimistic about improved collaboration.

See the Tsitsa Project Brochure for a detailed overview of the project.



Last Modified: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 12:17:10 SAST