WFP Lesotho Country Brief, August 2019 Operational Updates

Photo by Ilyass SEDDOUG on Unsplash

More than half (57%) of Lesotho’s population live on less than one dollar per day. GDP stands at USD 2.3 billion while its national GDI per capita is USD 1,270 (World Bank).

Revenue from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) contributes a significant proportion to Lesotho’s national budget. The Government allocates 7% of its national budget to social protection programmes such as school meals, pension for the elderly, child grants and public works.

The population’s high vulnerability is exacerbated by recurring climatic hazards, including droughts, early frost and a low performing economy. Twenty-nine % of people below the age of 35 are unemployed.

The country is also characterized by an extremely high HIV prevalence rate (24.6 %) and should provide care for more than 250,000 orphaned children, most of whom lost their parents to AIDS. Life expectancy stands at 49 years.

Agriculture, which contributes 7% of GDP, is a major source of livelihood for 80% of the population living in rural areas. WFP supports the Government’s efforts to build the resilience of communities frequently affected by climatic hazards, with the view to stimulate agricultural production. WFP has been present in Lesotho since 1962.

Operational Updates

WFP Lesotho launched the Fill the Nutrient Gap Study (FNG) which identifies nutrition gaps, overlaps and potential alignment across sectors – such as agriculture, social protection, health and education – for a strengthened nutrition response, with a focus on the most vulnerable.

In a joint ceremony with FAO, WFP handed over 10,000 printed copies of the complementary feeding booklet to the Ministry of Agriculture Nutrition and Home Economics.

This was part of WFP’s support to His Majesty in his role as the African Union Nutrition Champion, promoting local initiatives aimed to reverse the nutrition situation in the country.

The recipe booklet will provide information and guidance to families on the selection and preparation of good, nutritious and safe foods for young children.

The last round of theatre sessions was done to WFP beneficiaries targeted for the emergency response programme. WFP employed theatre as an innovative and fun way of disseminating nutrition messages to young children.

A mission from WFP’s Centre of Excellence in Brazil visited Lesotho to provide support to the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) by providing advice on the implementation of the national school feeding policy, as well as for effective handover of school feeding from WFP to the government.