Islamic Relief is distributing food in Lesotho, in Southern Africa, where 650,000 people face hunger caused by widespread drought.
In December, the Government of Lesotho declared a state of emergency and appealed for help from the international community.
By Tsitsi Matope
WFP plans to strengthen colloboration with the government and partners as more than 650,000 people face hunger in Lesotho's worst drought in decades. Struggling from two successive crop failures, the mountain kingdom has been pushed into a state of crisis by the El Niño weather phenomenon which has brought reduced rainfall to much of southern Africa.
By Priyali Sur/Contributor — December 11, 2015
Maseru, Lesotho—“That’s how African men are,” the woman said. She and two others laughed aloud at the infidelity of their husbands. Their hearty, free-spirited laughter resonated in the hotel lobby, attracting disapproving stares from the men in business suits who occupied most of the other coffee tables.
In the prevailing context of climate change and declining food security in Lesotho, the need to raise children, parents and communities’ awareness on Climate Smart Agriculture technocologies including Conservation Agriculture (CA) and improved Home Gardening and Nutrition is essential.
One of Lesotho’s strategies to boost its agricultural growth is to encourage youth participation in agriculture along with promoting CA. CA entails minimum soil disturbance, soil cover at all times and intercropping or crop rotation. This protects the soil and increases its fertility.
Manthabeleng Ramotsekhoane is 65 years old and looks after her family of eight: six grandchildren aged 17 to four years, and two of her adult children. The family lives in Thabang village in Mokhotlong—one of the most rural areas in Lesotho.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Lesotho recently conducted training sessions on climate-smart agriculture technologies including conservation agriculture, home gardening and nutrition. The training was organized in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Ministry of Education and Training through the leadership of the National Curriculum Development Centre.
A total of 120 Senior Education Officers and resource teachers from all districts of the country participated in this series of training.
Lesotho has experienced a range of climate change shocks ranging from increasingly frequent droughts to unpredictable and heavy rainfall, resulting in an increased rate of soil erosion, desertification and reduced soil fertility which negatively affects agricultural production.
26 June 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru.
“The Secretary-General expresses his condolences to the bereaved family and urges the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York.
After the support they were receiving from WFP ended in November 2013, the farmers of Ha-Mohapi village defied the odds and worked to produce a flourishing fruit tree plantation. The proud farmers are today the envy of passers-by who stop to see how the trees have transformed a once barren area.
Farmers supported by WFP defy odds
By Tsitsi Matope
A three-acre plot of fruit trees is flourishing on a remote hillside of Ra-Mohapi Village in Mafeteng District, south of the capital, Maseru.
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 7, 2015 – Peace Corps volunteer Evan Brown of Eads, Tennessee, is building a health club in Lesotho to give his community a safe place to exercise and learn about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. The new club will provide nearly 7,000 community members with access to programs that combine exercise and health education in a country where more than 22 percent of the population is living with HIV/AIDS, according to UNAIDS.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission to the Kingdom of Lesotho (SOMILES) has closed down following successful elections in the Kingdom held on 28th February, 2015.
The SADC Double Troika Summit plus Democratic Republic of Congo and the United Republic of Tanzania which was held in Pretoria, South Africa on 15th September, 2014 decided to deploy the SOMILES in order to address the political and security developments in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Lesotho Emergency and Resilience Programme (ERP), implemented by FAO and the Government of Lesotho since 2012, has been retained as Finalist in the “Expo Milano 2015 Call for Best Sustainable Development Practices (BSDP)”. The BSDP is a competition organised by the Universal Exposition taking place in Milan (Italy) from 1st of May to 31st of October 2015 having as a theme “Feeding the planet, energy for life”.
Recently, farmers in Lesotho have been consistently obtaining low yields from their staple crops. This has affected food production as well as considerably reducing incomes.
There can be no doubting Lesotho’s commitment to education. In 2000, the country began making primary education free; a decade later, in 2010, it became compulsory. Now the country is trialling a startup that sends homework to pupils via mobile phone.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Planting of 2015 cereal crops is well underway with belownormal rains at the start causing some delays
2014 cereal output was estimated at an average level
Maize prices decrease in capital Maseru, reflecting lower prices in South Africa (main supplier of imports)
Number of food insecure estimated to have increased in 2014/15
Below-normal rains at the start of 2014/15 cropping season
By Tsitsi Matope
Lesotho is putting into practice an old saying: “it takes a village to raise a child”, as it refashions its national school feeding programme to become more inclusive of the local agricultural sector. Lesotho recognizes it will take a community to feed a child, and to also create a sustainable, home-grown feeding programme that benefits both children and smallholder farmers.
By Tsitsi Matope
Maseru, Lesotho—The World Food Programme (WFP) currently feeds 200,000 students in Lesotho. Through a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding with the government, WFP will implement the national school feeding programme and build the government’s capacity to take over the programme in 2018. As WFP prepares to scale up its activities to reach 400,000 students, staff members are consulting those most affected by the change—the students themselves.
For many years the farming community of Ha-Sankoe in Rothe communal area has struggled to cope with extreme weather shocks that have left many families destitute. They have toiled in barren fields but ended up harvesting little. Despite years of food insecurity, this year the heavens smiled on Ha-Sankoe after the World Food Programme (WFP) introduced a Food-for-Assets scheme. Thanks to a US$ 1 million contribution from the Government of Russia, 80 villagers from Rothe have been able to rehabilitate their eroded land.
UNFPA Regional Director calls for support to reduce maternal deaths, HIV, teen pregnancy
Lesotho’s high maternal mortality rate of 1155 per 100,000 live births and high HIV infection rates are cause for concern, said Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, during an official three-day visit to Lesotho this week.
The Regional Director met Lesotho’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mohlabi Tsekoa, for a discussion and toured the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) clinic.
In the community councils of Litjotjela and Maloaneng, Leribe District in Lesotho, Mrs Masekhametsi Hlomoka and Mrs Sesinyi Ramatekoa are beneficiaries of a pilot initiative complementing Social Protection cash grants with home gardening in-kind support helping families to improve their food intake and nutrition.