In 2013, UNICEF and partners plan for:
children under 5 with severe or moderate acute malnutrition receive therapeutic care and micronutrient supplements
children under 5 access lifesaving preventive and curative interventions through outreach services
poor and very poor households caring for 30,000 orphans and vulnerable children receive quarterly cash payments
2013 requirements (US$)
Lesotho’s food security declined at an alarming rate for the second year in a row as a result of consecutive years of drought. The food security crisis continues to endanger women and children, especially those living in female-headed households as well as orphans and vulnerable children(OVC) who have been affected by a high prevalence of HIV and AIDS. In Lesotho, child health, nutrition and survival are greatly undermined by the negative synergy of HIV, malnutrition and poverty. HIV prevalence stands at 23 per cent, while 39 per cent of children are stunted and 60 per cent of households live below the national poverty line. The confluence of the unrelenting AIDS pandemic, hunger and the worsening economic situation are shattering traditional social safety nets for children. The current food crisis will affect a large proportion of children – in particular, over 360,000 orphans and 10 per cent of the 1,072,916 children who are considered to be vulnerable.1 The food security crisis increases the vulnerability of a significant number of already economically stressed and food-insecure households caring for orphans and vulnerable children. With more food-insecure households adopting negative coping mechanisms, such as skipping meals, the acute malnutrition rate is expected to rise beyond the current level of 4 per cent. In a country with a high infant mortality rate of– 117 deaths per 1,000 live births2 – mainly caused by curable diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, the survival, growth and development of children will be adversely affected.
Planned results for 2013
2013 Programme Targets
- 44,000 pregnant and lactating women provided with micronutrient supplements
- 4,350 children under 5 with severe or moderate acute malnutrition receive therapeutic care and micronutrient supplements
- 69,600 children under 5 access lifesaving preventive and curative interventions through outreach services
- 15,000 poor and very poor households caring for 30,000 orphans and vulnerable children access safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and are provided with appropriate information
Child and social protection
- 15,000 poor and very poor households caring for 30,000 orphans and vulnerable children receive quarterly cash payments
In 2013, UNICEF will support the Government of Lesotho’s response to the humanitarian needs of more than 725,000 people3 affected by the food crisis. Working with partners, UNICEF will support the scale-up of lifesaving health, nutrition, social and child protection interventions. Lesotho’s cash grant programme – implemented jointly by UNICEF, the Ministry of Social Development and World Vision – will be expanded and used as a platform for the extension of health, nutrition, and WASH interventions. During the emergency period, a child and social protection cash grant will be provided to 15,000 households (approximately 125,000 people, half of whom are children) with a monthly cash benefit of US$50 to meet the monthly basic needs of a rural household of five. To address health and WASH needs, UNICEF and partners willpromote access to and use of safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, supported by appropriate information campaigns. In anticipation of the 2013 diarrhoea season, soap and water treatment equipment will be pre-positioned to benefit an estimated 15,000 poor and very poor households, including female-headed households, caring for 30,000 orphans and vulnerable children. To service vulnerable children in remote areas, UNICEF will continue to support the Government’s efforts to expand essential health services to emergency-affected populations through lifesaving immunizations and diarrhoea management, provided via established outreach services and networks. UNICEF will coordinate with line ministries, World Vision, the Red Cross and Partners in Health.
Results from 2013
UNICEF appealed for US$6,119,557, and as of 31 October a total of US$2,216,409 (36 per cent) was received in contributions, enabling UNICEF and partners to deliver programmes while building capacity at the local level. This included the disbursement of cash transfers to 15,000 households in six of the most vulnerable districts to increase the purchasing power of vulnerable households, reaching over 30,000 orphaned and vulnerable children. UNICEF supported the training of community-based service providers in screening and referral of malnutrition cases, in addition to infant and young child feeding counselling and education. All hospitals were provided with therapeutic nutrition supplies for the management of severe acute malnutrition and diarrhoea cases. All affected communities from the eight districts were reached with awareness campaigns to promote health-seeking practices and protection issues to minimize exploitation and abuse of women and children during emergencies.
UNICEF funding requirements for 2013
UNICEF is requesting US$7,563,949 to meet the humanitarian needs of children in Lesotho, aligned to the inter-agency Flash Appeal that is currently being revised through February 2014. Since the launch of the Flash Appeal in September 2012, UNICEF has received US$2,216,409 through 31 October 2012. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to the country’s continuing health and nutrition crisis, provide critical WASH services, and support social and child protection services to food-insecure households. All these interventions are critical to avert negative coping mechanisms and reduce vulnerability to factors such as exploitation, child trafficking, gender-based violence and reduction in the consumption of meals.
1 Department of Social Welfare, ‘Lesotho OVC Situational Analysis’, Maseru, 2011.
2 Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Lesotho, and ICF Macro, Lesotho Demographic and Health Survey 2009, November 2010.
3 Disaster Management Authority, Lesotho Vulnerability Committee Report, Maseru, 2012.