WFP Lesotho Country Brief, March 2021

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Photo by Jennifer Coffin-Grey on Unsplash

In Numbers

10,707 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lesotho, including 315 deaths and 4,674 recoveries (09 April 2021)

US$ 12.7 million six-month (April–September 2021) net funding requirements

208,611 people targeted in 2021

Operational Updates

COVID-19

On 22 March, the country moved to blue colour coding stage, which entails easing of some restrictions. Social and economic activities are now open, subject to adherence to COVID-19 risk and mitigation measures under the COVID-19 Risk Determination and Mitigation Framework.

Crisis Response

WFP expanded the lean season assistance from 6,300 to 13,141 households in the districts of Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka and Maseru up to June The targeted households will be supported through commodity vouchers redeemable at local retail shops and mobile cash through the Vodacom Mpesa platform. Due to funding constraints, WFP is able to assist only 48 percent of the targeted people under crisis response while a total of 60,995 beneficiaries remain without any assistance.

School Feeding

The funding shortfall of US$ 763,937 under the school feeding programme has prompted WFP to reduce the number of assisted school learners to 50,910 (15 percent less than the plan).

Schools will open in April 2021 after a long closure since March 2020 due to COVID-19. There are anticipated challenges on the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) in schools.

Strengthening technical capacity on early warning systems

WFP continues to support the Government through the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) in conducting the crop assessment and vulnerability annual assessment, including the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis. WFP is supporting the ongoing crop assessment, which is led by DMA. The objective of this assessment is to determine the status and condition of crops. However, other sectors that include water and sanitation, agriculture and food security, and health and nutrition are also included. The information collected is intended to support stakeholders to plan for appropriate interventions in the next three months. WFP is also supporting DMA in producing monthly food security monitoring reports.

Nutrition

Implementation of all planned activities is ongoing. These include: implementation of the action plan to operationalise the National Food and Nutrition Strategy; finalization of the Advocacy, Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) strategy; dissemination of the approved fortification legislation and regulation; and other climate awareness activities which integrate nutrition, including the establishment of livelihood strengthening initiatives to support people living and affected with HIV and AIDS.

Resilience

WFP received multilateral funding that will enable continuation of assistance to 7,125 targeted people for the next six months (March–August 2021). Planned activities include cash support to 1,800 vulnerable households affected by food insecurity and engaged community-based assets creation activities in Mafeteng, Mohales’hoek and Quthing districts.

Other activities include provision of nonfood items to 1,200 households and farmer groups to create assets that increase their adaptive capacity and strengthen resilience to climatic shocks. The assets-creation activities include homestead gardening, bee and small stock rearing, and other income-generating activities.

Technical support to smallholder farmers

In support of smallholder farmers, WFP is engaging other partners to ensure that surplus produce by smallholder farmers reach the available local markets in the targeted districts of Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek and Quthing. However, the available funding under this activity limits expansion into other districts.

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