ACT Appeal Lesotho: Food Crisis Mitigation AFLS-31 (Rev. 1)

Originally published


Appeal Target: US$ 253,257
Balance Requested from ACT Alliance: US$ 112,991

Geneva, 25 June 2004

Dear Colleagues,

This appeal under the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) was first issued in September 2003 with the primary aim to assist over 11,700 people with relief food and another 1,953 families in food security through the provision of seeds and tools. By the end of January 2004, it was evident that the response to the appeal was very slow and the government, working with the World Food Program, stepped up food relief assistance to cover the 300,000 food insecure people in the country. This prompted the CCL to change their assistance strategy and instead focus on assisting 2,500 families in a more comprehensive food security program. Discussions on the shift of program focus took longer than expected as permission had to be sought from donors for transfer of the balance of funds from the old appeal AFLS-21 to this appeal. Apparently over US$100,000 was not utilised under the food crisis appeal issued in 2002 due to late receipt of funds. These monies are now to be used under the new proposal for food security in the AFLS-31 appeal. Implementation of the new proposal already started in February 2004 and will continue until end of March 2005.

This revised appeal is to officially start the program currently being implemented by CCL. You will note that a balance of US$ 113,000 is still required to fully cover the appeal activities.

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

Project Completion Date: 31 March 2005

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested

Total Appeal Target(s)
Less: Funds from AFLS-21
Balance Requested from ACT Alliance

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
8, rue du Rhône
P.O. Box 2600
1211 Geneva 4
Swift address: UBSW CHZH12A

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

John Nduna
Acting Director, ACT CO


  • Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) Integrated Rural Development Programme & Integrated Food Security Programme


The Christian Council of Lesotho is an ecumenical body, a fellowship of churches and organisations that have been involved, amongst other things, in drought relief operations within Lesotho. It has also been involved in the repatriation of refugees to South Africa and also facilitated the resettlement of Basotho political returnees.

At present five churches are full time members while one organisation is an associate member. Its members have been facilitating training in disaster management, though some re-training will be necessary. The regional structures - the eyes and ears of the Council - are facilitating development at the local level. Apart from the member churches and organisations the Council has been able to partner with the Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (LCN), the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) and the United Nations System.


Background Information.

The Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) has been involved in promoting community development in the Southern Mountain districts of Qacha’s nek and Quthing. The Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) which is the programme dealing with communities is in the fourth year of its phase. Since its inception, communities have been assisted in production of vegetables; cereals; fruits and agro-forestry. They have, however, progressed slowly in food security due to the area being prone to droughts and environmental degradation.

In recent years, droughts occurred in alarming rates to an extent that in April 2002, the Prime Minister declared that Lesotho had a food crisis like other countries in the southern African region. Upon hearing this, the Christian Council of Lesotho, in close collaboration with its member churches and agencies proposed to intervene. This intervention was in the form of food for work in the areas where the Integrated Rural Development programme was being implemented. Approximately 1,823 households were fed, each household with a breadbasket containing 50kg maize-meal, 2 litres of vegetables oil and 5kg of pulses from November 2002 to May 2003. Supplementary feeding started in May 2002 up to September 2003 where under - fives were given 7kg of food supplement made out of protein and mineral enriched porridge (over 1,900 households). This food assistance effectively averted a possible starvation situation in many cases. The Christian Council of Lesotho, through the Integrated Rural Development Programme, wishes to continue assisting these people through rehabilitation in the form of food security programmes.

From January 2004, the Council plans to support communities of Seforong and Sekake in areas of food security, sustainability and environment through extension training and support, as well as HIV\AIDS awareness. Homestead gardening has been the activity that IRDP communities most enjoy and appreciate, therefore, CCL will use this activity as a vehicle to assist the vulnerable members of communities that are categorised under the chronically ill and orphans under relief programme.

Current situation

Lesotho continues to face difficult times in terms of drought situation and its interpretation by relevant bodies monitoring the situation. For instance, an assessment carried out by special mission of United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization stated that the year 2003 had seen higher national food production than the previous year in that the cereal production was 60% higher than the 5 year average. Although this statement may be true it does not give a true picture of the actual situation on the ground. The Senqu river valley, for example, show that most farming families are poverty stricken due to erratic rainfall patterns of the area. It is the farmers in the northern regions of the country who normally produce most of the cereal production in Lesotho. Many people in the Senqu River are still without sufficient cereal grains, as cereal production has not improved from the previous year. The main problems that have surfaced during the planting season have been drought and inadequate farm inputs such as seeds and farming tools. This situation resulted in reduced food production and cash crops, insufficient fodder for livestock, rising food prices and a weakened community economy. The United Nations World Food Programme has again warned that Lesotho is in a precarious situation, it requires 19,000 tonnes of food aid to feed 322,000 facing severe hunger over the next six months in 2004. The report further states that this severe condition started in April 2003 and is expected to continue.

Agriculture production in Lesotho remains one of the challenges to the food security situation and as such, poses a serious threat to human development efforts unless it is attended to. One of the problems is where to start as some of the problems are man-made and others are related to natural causes. The Government of Lesotho has hired and deployed extension workers around villages to provide services to those farmers that need farming advice. However, these extension officers are often working under very poor conditions and are not provided with resources to do their work in an effective and efficient manner. It is therefore important that transformation starts with community-based staff, particularly those of Extension Officers on the ground and those that are in the training and management of community empowerment. Extension Officers in this field need to be equipped with measures that will ensure that they are ready and able to anticipate, and take precautionary measures against an imminent threat; to respond and cope with the effects of poverty by organising and implementing timely and effective food security programmes and other appropriate activities that will alleviate poverty. The Christian Council of Lesotho is well prepared to work with the communities on poverty alleviation, as they have strong extension services that have been developed over the years. Furthermore, they have good interaction and credibility with the communities themselves.

Another major factor is the HIV\AIDS pandemic which now stands with prevalence rates of over 30%. HIV\AIDS impacts negatively on livelihoods as many of the people who depended on agriculture become sick and agriculture production declines. The vulnerability to food insecurity is caused by lack of labour due to chronically ill people in the labour market. It is estimated that there are over 70,000 orphans in Lesotho whose parents have died of an AIDS related sickness. According to Disaster Management Authority (DMA) these affected households will fall under the category of the chronically sick for targeting of assistance. (In Lesotho an orphan is defined as a person younger than 18 years who has lost one or both parents). In Quthing and Qacha’s nek the DMA estimates that there are about 14,000 orphans.

It has now been established that people who are vulnerable to sustained hunger and malnutrition are more susceptible to the ravages of HIV\AIDS, while households that lose care-givers and breadwinners to the HIV\AIDS are more susceptible to food shortages. The HIV\AIDS impact on food production also contributes to the drastic rise in the cost of food resulting from domestic and regional food shortages. In Lesotho anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) are beyond the means of many Basotho. The HIV\AIDS factor is also being complicated by the gender injustices prevalent in the rural areas. Sexual abuse against young girls and woman is rife as women economically depend on men this results in a vicious cycle of re - infection. The inheritance practice also makes it difficult for women and young girls to inherit land, which they could use productively for agriculture when husbands are sick or dead, or both parents are dead.

During the evaluation of 27 to 30 July 2003 it was recommended that the CCL target the most vulnerable households, particularly the chronically sick and child headed households because they have no coping mechanisms.

Location of the project.

The project will be based at Ha - Sekake, within the Integrated Rural Development Project. Sekake is 350 km south east of the capital Maseru and is bordered by the South African province of the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu- Natal. The area is divided into six clusters by the IRDP for administration purposes. There are more than 200 hamlets scattered around the six clusters, however, the programme will start with four clusters that will comprise Qhoali plateau; Tebellong plateau, Sekake, and Whitehill. The area is chosen because it comprises the traditional area of the IRDP and as a result the programme will benefit from expertise from the ongoing agriculture activities. The area lies along the Senqu river valley and is home to approximately 12,500 people. It is commonly described as the most poverty stricken area in Lesotho.

The plan is to start where assistance is needed most and gradually expand to other areas within the same vicinity. The Christian Council has some of its member churches based in this area: the Anglican Church, Lesotho Evangelical Church and the Methodist of Southern Africa. These Churches have been involved in the identification of the most vulnerable people in the community.


Goal: The goal is to furnish the most vulnerable members of the communities with the means to fight poverty through facilitation of food security programmes, improved nutritional status and protection of human rights and dignity.


  • To promote and encourage homestead gardening among the 2,500 households of the most vulnerable members of the community.

  • To facilitate and foster food security by providing garden seeds, implements and an extension programme to 2,500 most vulnerable members of the community.

  • To train and facilitate better farming practises to 2,500 vulnerable members of the communities as well as provision of refresher courses to extension staff.

  • To conduct a water survey in 50% of the villages to ascertain the levels of mini-irrigation and establish 20 pioneer mini-irrigation points for homestead gardening.

  • To continue on-going research on 40% of agricultural activities by comparing areas, monitoring crops and facilitating open day seminars:


2,500 vulnerable members of communities in Qhoali plateau; Tebellong plateau, Sekake, and Whitehill.

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