The Government’s development targets in its Vision 2020 policy are to be realized through the National Strategic Development Plan 2012–2017. There is general optimism, but Lesotho struggles with persistent development challenges such as chronic poverty, widespread food insecurity, high rates of malnutrition and HIV prevalence of 23 percent – the third highest in the world.
Access to food at the household level is undermined by chronic poverty and socio-economic inequality. Subsistence agriculture remains the main livelihood for most Basotho, who are vulnerable to increasingly erratic weather patterns and land degradation. As a consequence, 514,000 people face food insecurity.
Chronic undernutrition is a significant obstacle to attainment of Millennium Development Goal 1. The health of mothers and children is threatened by the 39 percent prevalence of stunting and 47 percent prevalence of iron deficiency; 56 percent of deaths among children under 5 are HIV-related. Lesotho has a tuberculosis prevalence of 405 per 100,000 people; 76 percent of people with tuberculosis show co-infection with HIV.
Country programme 200369 supports government plans and addresses some of the constraints to the realization of Millennium Development Goals 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7. It will focus on: i) enhancing preparedness for weather-related shocks; ii) addressing the underlying causes of vulnerability for those most affected by shocks; and iii) supporting the Government in enhancing the nutritional and social well-being of vulnerable groups. A combination of food assistance and capacity development will target children under 5 in pre-schools, pregnant and lactating women, and people living with HIV and tuberculosis.
The country programme supports outcomes 4, 6, 7, 8 and 11 of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (2013–2017) and WFP’s Strategic Objectives 2, 4 and 5. It marks a transition in WFP’s support in Lesotho from a focus on recovery to concentration on development objectives. Country programme 200369 uses food assistance to support the Government in ensuring long-term solutions to the challenge of hunger.