Lesotho Annual Appeal No. 05AA010

Originally published

The International Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. The Federation is the world's largest humanitarian organization, and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries. All international assistance to support vulnerable communities seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, according to the SPHERE Project.
This document reflects a range of programmes, objectives, and related activities to be implemented in 2005, and the corresponding funding requirements. These are based upon the broader, multi-year framework of the Federation’s Project Planning Process (PPP). The PPP products are either available through hyperlinks in the text, or can be requested through the respective regional department.

For further information please contact the Federation Secretariat, Africa Department:Terry Carney, Regional Officer for Southern Africa, email terry.carney@ifrc.org, phone 41.22.730.42.98. Please also refer to the full contact list at the end of this Appeal, or access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org

Programme Title
in CHF
Strengthening the National Society
Health Care
Disaster Management
Organizational Development

National Context

Lesotho is a small country (30,355 square kilometres), landlocked by the Republic of South Africa. It has a population of approximately 2.2 million and a per capita gross domestic product of USD 2,420. The country is largely mountainous with four agro-climatic zones (lowlands, foothills, mountains and the Senqu valley) with very little arable land.

This has caused over-population in marginal areas that are also prone to drought. Food insecurity is critical in the country following three to four years of crop failure due to poor rains. This situation has been seriously aggravated by the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The current HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 28.9%, the country is going through a serious socio-economic crisis which worsened poverty levels and high unemployment. Although there seems to be a slight decrease from 2001, most of the infected are between the ages of 15-49, which poses a serious threat to the productivity of the country.

The level of dependency has dramatically risen and the number of orphans is estimated at 10% of the population.

Lesotho’s economy is agro-based, complemented by light manufacturing industry and remittances from miners employed in South Africa. According to Turner (2004).2 The southern African food crisis Lesotho literature review, the declining labour opportunities in South Africa signal the end of the stable model of household livelihood that prevailed in Lesotho for the last century. Although it did little to alleviate poverty during that period, it was a source of income for young households. About 56.1% of the population lives below the income poverty line (USD 2 per day); consequently, their income levels are inadequate for basic food and non-food consumption.

Human Development Indicators at a Glance
Sub-Saharan Africa
Total Population (millions)
GDP per capita (USD)
Life expectancy at birth (years): Female-Male
Infant Mortality rate, per 1,000 live births
Maternal mortality per 100,000 live births (adjusted ratio) (2000)
Population (%) with sustainable access to an improved water source (2000)
HIV prevalence (%, ages 15-49) (2003)
Adult literacy rate (%, ages 15 and above): Female-Male
Source: UNDP Human Development Report, July 2004: Human Development Index (pages 139-250). Note: Data is 2002 unless noted above.

Refer to http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2004/pdf/hdr04_HDI.pdf*

Red Cross and Red Crescent Priorities

National Society Strategy/Programme Priorities:

The Lesotho Red Cross Society3 was legally established in 1967 by act of parliament (Act No 31 of 1967). The Lesotho Red Cross is regarded by the government as an independent voluntary relief organization, auxiliary to the public authorities especially in the areas of health, first aid, disaster preparedness and response. As clearly stipulated in its strategic plan, the vision is to become a widely recognized and unique leading voluntary organization in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in Lesotho. This is in line with the mission of the Lesotho Red Cross which is, “to alleviate human suffering and to improve the quality of communities affected by both natural and man-made disasters”.

The priorities as highlighted in the strategic plan are reflective of the identified needs of the vulnerable people. The national society is striving towards building a well-functioning national society through rendering community-based interventions as well as strengthening the management and governance capacity through recruitment and retention of capable and committed staff and volunteers. To achieve this, emphasis is being made on the need to engage staff at all levels whose efforts can contribute efficiently and effectively in alleviating the suffering of the vulnerable communities.

It is the Lesotho Red Cross primary strategic issues to promote the efforts on the national society’s programmes, strengthening divisions’ potential to scale up membership; volunteer resource base and fundraising. Thus, resource mobilization initiatives will remain as fundamental forces behind these attempts.

Movement Context:

Subsequent to multiple problems that confronted Lesotho Red Cross in the mid-1990s which were later addressed through restructuring of the national society and instituting a rescue and recovery plan, Lesotho Red Cross has been working hard to rebuild its reputation and functionality with government and other national societies.

In 2002 a strategic plan 2002-2012 was developed and adopted by the national society. In 2004, a planning meeting took place to introduce a CAS process in Lesotho. The Norwegian Red Cross, German Red Cross and the Federation committed themselves to supporting the process and have agreed on a plan of action geared to the finalization of the CAS document at the end of 2005.

The German Red Cross through ECHO funding is supporting the Lesotho Red Cross programme of food parcels distribution to the chronically ill who clients of the home-based care (HBC) project in Berea division. Lesotho Red Cross has established a partnership with American Peace Corps for caring for carers within the HBC.

A new relief project is being started in Butha Buthe division, targeting 1,000 out of school OVC. The Norwegian Red Cross is supporting bilaterally a five-year OVC project in Thaba-Bosiu starting in 2004. Additionally, the Norwegian Red Cross is supporting finance and organizational development activities as well as disaster management projects through the Federation.

Lesotho Red Cross is a partner of the WFP and is running a targeted food distribution in five divisions (Mokhotlong, Thaba Tseka, Qacha’s Nek, Quthing and Mafeteng). This partnership is an opportunity for the national society to increase its capacity to implement food distribution programme, to improve the division structures through enhancing activities and the overall profile in the country.

For further information please contact:

In Lesotho: Ntharetso Lieta, Secretary General, Lesotho Red Cross Society, Maseru; Email redcross@redcross.org.ls; Phone; Fax

In Harare: Françoise Le Goff, Federation Head of Southern Africa Regional Delegation, Harare; Email ifrczw02@ifrc.org; Phone; Fax

In Geneva: Terry Carney, Federation Regional Officer for Southern Africa, Africa Dept.; Email terry.carney@ifrc.org; Phone 41.22.730.42.98, Fax 41.22.733.03.95


1 USD 297,700 or EUR 241,400.

2 Stephen Turner, Amsterdam, 29 April 2003. The southern African food crisis Lesotho literature review.

3 Lesotho Red Cross Society - http://www.ifrc.org/where/country/check.asp?countryid=102

(pdf* format - 183.10KB)