MASERU – The Government of Germany, through the German Federal Foreign Office, has contributed EUR1.5 million (about M26.3 million) to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Lesotho for the years 2021 to 2023. The grant is intended to support highly vulnerable people struggling to meet basic food needs amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. This is part of a EUR18 million contribution by Germany to Southern Africa for 2021-2023.
This contribution will improve access to food and ensure that vulnerable people, including women, have access to an adequate and nutritious diet in times of need, particularly during the lean season, more commonly referred to as the period between planting and harvesting. The assistance to identified people will be through monthly cash transfers via mobile money and commodity voucher assistance.
“Germany hopes that this funding will contribute to mitigating the suffering of vulnerable people at a time when more of them are in need of humanitarian assistance,” said Andreas Pesche, German Ambassador to South Africa, Lesotho and eSwatini, based in Pretoria. Pesche commended WFP for its continuous efforts to improve the lives of vulnerable people in the southern Africa region.
According to the 2021 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, about 312 000 people of the total rural population in Lesotho are food insecure and the Lesotho vulnerability Assessment report estimated that a total of 158 000 urban population in Lesotho is food insecure. In total, about 470 000 people are food insecure and require humanitarian assistance to reduce food gaps, protect and restore livelihoods and prevent acute malnutrition.
“WFP welcomes this timely and generous contribution from the people of Germany to enable us to respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs across the country, especially during the difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic which has impacted already vulnerable groups in Lesotho, driving them into increased food insecurity,” said Lesotho WFP Country Director and Representative, Aurora Rusiga. Rusiga said this contribution from Germany will go a long way in assisting vulnerable people who are finding it increasingly difficult to put food on the table and in dire need of support.
WFP aims to assist 122 000 food insecure people through emergency response assistance until the end of the lean season in March 2022 with monthly cash transfers via mobile money and commodity vouchers. Beneficiaries receive US$47 per month to help meet their basic food needs. Presently, the available funding will allow WFP to assist a total of 44 000 food insecure people.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. It is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.