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.
Safety nets, seasonal income likely to limit food insecurity to Stress (IPC Phase 2) through March
Stable food prices, ongoing safety-net and subsidy programs, and the start of green consumption in February to March together with income opportunities associated with agriculture activities, are all expected to contribute to sufficient access to food and production costs resulting in Stress (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity outcomes from December-March.
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.
This bulletin is being issued for information only and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation. The Lesotho Red Cross Society will, however, accept direct assistance to provide support to the affected population.
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.
Limited assistance unlikely to cover Stressed food insecure population
Below average incomes, high food prices, low coverage of ongoing safety nets, and the start of green consumption in February or March are expected to be inadequate to cover all the food and livelihood protection requirements, resulting in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity outcomes.
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.
Improving nutrition and reducing stunting in children - low growth for age - is not easy. Part of the trick is getting people to understand what difference a healthy diet can make for them and their youngsters.
Semonkong - That a man can enjoy eggs while his wife and daughters endure a poor diet is commonplace is some parts of Lesotho.
The affected population that will require humanitarian assistance is estimated at 447,760 people for a period of 4-5 months from October/November 2014 to February/March 2015.
The estimated requirement for intervention for the 4-5 months period is 32,108 metric tonnes of maize equivalent or 257,861,320 Maloti.
The current assessment findings will hold as long as:
There are stable food prices throughout the season.
Stressed food insecurity projected from start of the lean season
Despite well above-average maize meal prices and below-average income from the 2013/14 agricultural season, most poor households are currently facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity, meeting their basic food needs through purchases at adequately stocked markets and through own-produced staple foods.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will return to Maseru, Lesotho, to pursue a regional mandate to help restore peace, stability and democracy to the country, his office said on Sunday.
09/21/2014 02:39 GMT
by Michael J. JORDAN
MASERU, September 21, 2014 (AFP) - A police officer killed in Lesotho's August 30 abortive coup was laid to rest Saturday.
The death of Lesotho police sub-inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko was the first and so far only fatality in the tiny African nation's three-week crisis.
For the mountain kingdom, dealing with his killers has become a question of war and peace.
Working a night-shift, Ramahloko was guarding the force's armoury when he heard soldiers burst in and bark their demands.
During the month of June 2014, up to 106 farmers practicing Conservation Agriculture (CA) had the opportunity to exchange views, experiences and ideas with other farmers during their visit to two communities outstanding in the practice of CA in Tale and Mahobong Resource Centres in Lesotho.
09/15/2014 19:01 GMT
by Stephanie Findlay with Michael J. Jordan in Maseru
PRETORIA, September 15, 2014 (AFP) - South Africa hosted an emergency meeting of regional leaders to negotiate a peace deal for Lesotho on Monday, following an attempted coup and stalled peace talks between deadlocked political parties.
Political turmoil continues as parties have reportedly failed to reach consensus on the opening of Parliament. A special SADC meeting is due to be held in South Africa today, where the political situation and pressing security issues in Lesotho will be a key focus.
In Focus: Zambia
09/12/2014 16:33 GMT
by Michael J. Jordan
MASERU, September 12, 2014 (AFP) - Lesotho's deadlocked political parties failed to meet a Friday deadline for a fresh peace deal, prompting South Africa to call an emergency meeting of regional leaders.
After promising South African President Jacob Zuma that they would decide by Friday when to re-open Lesotho's parliament, rival leaders failed to resolve a crisis sparked two weeks ago by an aborted coup.
A top official from South Africa sees for himself the impact of his country's donation on hunger relief in Lesotho and, in particular, the big difference it has been making for school children.
There was great excitement at Masapong Primary School in early September when it received a visit from South Africa’s Director General of International Relations and Cooperation, Ambassador Jerry Matjila. He was in Lesotho to review the impact of his country’s US $20 million donation to WFP’s school meals and nutrition programmes in the Mountain Kingdom.
09/10/2014 00:06 GMT
by Michael J. Jordan
MASERU, September 10, 2014 (AFP) - Rival Lesotho leaders vowed to resolve an 11-day crisis that has spurred calls for regional military intervention in the tiny African nation, after South Africa brokered talks on Tuesday.
The sparring factions agreed to hold further negotiations and present a concrete date for reopening Lesotho's parliament to South Africa's President Jacob Zuma on Friday.
The situation in Lesotho remains calm but tense. It is being reported that Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli is refusing to negotiate an end to the political stalemate. South Africa and SADC are still very much committed to dialogue to resolve the current situation.
In Focus: Mozambique