MASERU – An interactive dashboard to monitor national vulnerability data in support of the World Food Programme (WFP) has been put in place by the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) through the Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC). Launched last Thursday, the dashboard is intended to serve as the database for all vulnerability data and information in the country. Moreover, it will also have a website accessible to the public for their information requirements.
The establishment of the dashboard has been attained through both financial and technical support from the WFP Country Office in Lesotho. The dashboard will display all the vulnerability information on the multiple facets of vulnerability assessments reports. Additionally, it will also curb the prolonged challenge of lack of a central platform where the LVAC databases and reports are stored and accessed by the majority of public users. Speaking at the launch, WFP country director and representative, Aurore Rusiga, commended the LVAC team that contributed to the achievement of this key milestone by working tirelessly with consultants to make this happen.
Rusiga said this is the first step and the next challenge will be a broad adoption to the tool, as this adoption will be determined by how accurate, up-to-date, complete and reliable the dashboard information will be. She urged different users, stakeholders and development partners to all support this initiative and provide feedback and to use it as an opportunity to interact with the dash board, reflect on challenges and gaps to explore opportunities to strengthen partnerships.
“This system shall allow for different stakeholders at national and subnational levels to access LVAC information in order to inform evidence decision making,” Rusiga said. On behalf of the DMA, the Acting Chief Executive Officer, ’Makhotso Caroline Mohosi, also extended her appreciation to the WFP for providing both financial and technical support in the development of the dashboard. “The DMA is looking forward to more support in all aspects possible to WFP,” Mohosi said. Mohosi also thanked the Ministry of Communications Science and Technology for hosting the LVAC dashboard and making it possible for it to be accessible to the public.
In addition, Likeleli Phoolo reassured the public of a key role that the LVAC will play in facilitating decision-making based on facts and current data that is periodically refreshed. Again, Phoolo indicated that this dashboard will save time and frustration by having all data analytics on the screen, instead of going through reports. She added that dash board will attract a wider range of stakeholders, partners and public at large to know about LVAC work. Phoolo said the dashboard will be used to allow tracking of key parameters to provide an update on food security situation and updates from different sectors; agriculture, health, nutrition, water and sanitation.
“It will display trends in food security and nutrition indicators, food insecure population and contributing factors,” she said. Meanwhile, while presenting LVAC results for June/July 2022, ’Mamonaheng Monoto, noted that on seasonal performance the onset of rainfall was on time for most communities except those in the mountains. Cumulative rainfall distribution was above long-term cumulative season (1981-2010) and has been above the previous season till March 2022. On food and nutrition security status, she said the area planted was larger than the previous agricultural season because more households planted their fields.
On food consumption, she explained that 63 percent of households had an inadequate diet in the current analysis compared to 44 percent of households in 2021. She said they recommend the government of Lesotho to continue implementing the agricultural inputs subsidy which includes the short seasoned varieties, that will withstand high soil moisture content and be on time in order to facilitate timely planting. These pieces of information that will be uploaded will support informed decisions for the government and its development partners, and will guide programming for interventions intended to address food insecurity in the country.
The existence of the dashboard comes as an answer to a long-standing concern of lack of an information management system (IMS) owned by the LVAC, which was established in 2002. Since then, these highly valuable pieces of information necessary to assist decision-makers being the developmental planners, policy makers and donors as well as humanitarian agencies in both the government and non-state actors’ groups have been accessed from individual members of LVAC who stored that information in their personal computers.
The LVAC was established in 2002, under the membership of multi-sectoral players, with members from government ministries, NGOs and the UN agencies. Its mandate is to generate information on livelihoods, in particular their vulnerability to food and nutrition insecurity and other socio- economic factors. Moreover, it aims to provide timely and reliable information to determine emergency interventions while also performing early action, medium and long-term programming and policy interventions in planning, programming and decision-making by government and development partners. Since inception to date, the LVAC has achieved 24 rural vulnerability and livelihoods assessments and analysis.