1 The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) today received a contribution of JPY 250 million (approximately US$2 million) from the Government of Japan to strengthen food support for 60,000 preschool children through the national school feeding program of the Government of Lesotho.
2 A signing ceremony was held today to mark the contribution, which will be used to purchase canned fish and fortified cornmeal, further diversifying the nutritious meals offered at Early Childhood Care Development Centers across the country.
4 While COVID-19 restrictions have been eased, Lesotho’s economy has not fully recovered from the pandemic and is now suffering from the effects of the conflict in Ukraine, in particular further higher food and fertilizer prices.
6 More than 520,000 Basotho are food insecure (320,000 of them in rural areas), and that vulnerable population is likely to increase due to job loss, limited livelihood opportunities, lower remittances, reduced income from sales of livestock and livestock products and increased food and non-food incomes.
8 Households categorized as poor and very poor are expected to experience a more pronounced challenge in food consumption, especially during the upcoming lean season (October 2022-March 2023).
10 “Assisting preschool students, most of whom are orphans or vulnerable, with high rates of malnutrition, will increase their food and nutrition security needs.” The Government of Japan’s contribution will close the funding gap for the school feeding program and ensure the uninterrupted supply of meals, especially lunches.
11 These will complement a daily breakfast already provided thanks to the assistance of the Government of Japan.
12 “This aid is aimed at improving food security and supporting the economic and social development of the country.”
13 HE Norio Maruyama, Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Lesotho, said.
14 “We would like to continue to contribute to improving the livelihoods of vulnerable people in Lesotho.”
15 “Let me thank the Government of Japan for this timely and crucial investment in the future of our children and our country,” said Senior Secretary for Education Dr. Dira Khama.
16 The Government of Japan has been providing humanitarian food assistance to developing countries since 1968 and is a long-time partner of WFP in Lesotho.