This Operation has been modified as per Budget Revision 1 (see below)
The Government of Lesotho is committed, as part of its long-term education strategy, to provide free and compulsory primary education. In order to increase both enrolment and attendance, the Government introduced a School Meals Programme in its education programme. The Government provides school meals to two-thirds of the schools in the country, while WFP covers the remaining one-third exclusively located in remote mountainous regions.
Lesotho has been deeply affected by the global financial crisis. Revenue from the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), which forms a significant portion of the Government’s budget, has been reduced by 56 percent, and government revenue in general is set to decline by 27 percent in 2010/2011. Remittances from migrant workers in South Africa have declined significantly as the mining industry has retrenched and textile exports have been significantly reduced, severely affecting the textiles and clothing industry.
As a consequence, the Government has requested WFP to continue providing assistance to schools for two years beyond the expected termination date of 31 December 2010, i.e. from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2012.
During these two years, the Government will provide funding to WFP to support school feeding for 30,000 students out of a total of 110,000 children attending WFP-assisted schools. The Government will take over the entire school meals programme by the end of December School Meals Programme in Lesotho DEV 200199 Page 2 of 17 Pages 2012. The two-year period will also be used to fine-tune the national school feeding approach that will cover all primary schools in the country.
This WFP project is for the continued provision of food assistance to school children living in the remote and economically-disadvantaged mountainous regions until end December 2012. The objective is to provide an incentive to encourage disadvantaged children to attend school, as well as to enhance regular attendance and learning retention. During this period, WFP will continue its efforts to develop the capacity of the Government to manage the entire School Meals Programme.
The School Meals Programme will support the Government’s priorities as defined in its longterm “Vision 2020” and more specifically the Education Sector Strategic Plan for 2005-2015. It contributes to Outcome 2 of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework to achieve improved, expanded and equitable access to quality health, education and social welfare services for all by the year 2012. The School Meals Programme contributes with Lesotho’s efforts to halve hunger according to Millennium Development Goals 1, (“eradicate extreme poverty and hunger”) and 2 (“achieve universal primary education”). It is in line with WFP’s Strategic Objective 4 “Reduce chronic hunger and undernutrition” and WFP Strategic Objective 5 “Strengthen the capacities of countries to reduce hunger including though handover strategies and local purchase”.
Lesotho's 2009 harvest saw a 10% drop in maize production compared to 2008 due primarily to more land being left fallow because of the high cost of inputs, such as seeds and fertiliser. However, there was a 57% increase in sorghum - the third annual increase in succession....