SEATTLE — Lesotho, a mountainous country with a population of about 1.9 million people living mostly in rural areas, has faced a variety of challenges including mass poverty. Fifty-seven percent of citizens live on less than $1 a day and the country has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world. These challenges have been addressed with the help of nations around the world. These are some of the international organizations that have contributed to the success of humanitarian aid to Lesotho.
Action Lesotho is an NGO based out of Ireland. The organization works “to bring humanitarian and development aid from Ireland to the Kingdom of Lesotho in southern Africa”. They have established projects within the country focused on agriculture, economics and health.
The organization runs a model farm that teaches citizens which crops can be grown at low prices and how best to care for them. They have also provided innovation and enterprise training so that farmers can build value and increase employment. Action Lesotho also created Lesotho Mountain Crafts, which includes 15 small craft businesses that have learned management skills to get the most out of the sale of their products. Action Lesotho also focuses on health improvement projects, particularly those pertaining to HIV/AIDS, including providing regular nursing to 40 men, women and children with such poor nutrition that they cannot take HIV medication.
World Food Programme
One multinational organization that has contributed to the success of humanitarian aid to Lesotho is the World Food Programme (WFP). The WFP has worked to provide food security throughout Lesotho, specifically to those affected by drought. They have supported 263,236 vulnerable citizens throughout the country. They make monthly food donations as well as help strengthen communities against the threat of natural disaster. The WFP also specifically provides meals to 50,000 children in 2,053 different preschools. Lastly, they provide breakfast and lunch to around 250,000 children in 1,173 primary schools, which improves their learning environment. They also work with the government of Lesotho to provide meals in areas which are harder to access.
Help Lesotho, a Canada-based organization, works to specifically address the prevention of HIV/AIDS in Lesotho, including education and the importance of gender equality. Twenty-five percent of people in Lesotho are living with HIV, the second highest rate in the world, and over half of the 300,000 adults living with HIV are women. The organization empowers and educates the generation of young people deprived of parents and positive role models by HIV/AIDS.
Help Lesotho has built two community leadership centers and runs multiple village-based programs. These programs include child sponsorship, support for grandmothers and young mothers and several literacy and education initiatives. The organization provides services to 15,000 to 20,000 citizens living in rural areas each year. They provide education, leadership development and psychosocial support to those affected by HIV/AIDS or gender-based violence. Over 100,000 citizens have been involved in and benefitted from these programs.
Lesotho may be a country vulnerable to a variety of factors, but through the cooperation of nations around the world, more and more citizens have been able to gain a sense of security. Continued work and cooperation will only lead to the continued success of humanitarian aid to Lesotho.
– Megan Burtis