Lipalesa Sissie Matela has a BSc in Environmental Science and MSc. in
Agronomy and Soil Science, with over 30 years of hands-on experience
and research in eco-tourism development, environmental management,
rural development, technical planning and community capacity building.
She received additional training in soil and environmental management in
the United States of America, Finland, Canada, South Africa and Lesotho.
She also received organizational and personnel management training in
Canada, Kenya, South Africa and the Netherlands. Sissie received training
in ecotourism development from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. She was
instrumental in initiating a national park, a nature reserve and a cultural
centre while working for the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority.
She was involved at different times over the last 20 years with the Maluti
Drakensberg Transfrontier Development Project, first on the binational
commission and later as consultant and project manager.
Sissie also worked for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as
Researcher in natural resource management and tourism development
before moving to Matatiele in 2000 to manage a development NGO. Over
the last 30 years Sissie has worked as a field soil scientist, development
facilitator, and university lecturer, community-based tourism development
facilitator, published articles in journals, produced several information,
educational manuals and promotion materials, produced educational
manuals and posters, and produced project reports. In addition, she has
completed assignments on management of environmental and agricultural
resources for international organizations such as the International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Union for the
Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Food and Agricultural Organization
(FAO). She is presently a partner in Environmental and Rural Solutions cc,
working with rural communities along the Drakensberg Mountains to
restore livelihoods, landscapes and governance.