MINISTER APPRECIATES UNICEF SUPPORT
The Minister of Social Development says the Lesotho government
appreciates technical assistance provided by the United Nations
Children’s Fund (UNICEF) together with other development partners to
help Lesotho implement Child Grants Programme (CGP) for social
protection to vulnerable households.
Mr. Molahlehi Letlotlo was speaking at a meeting of the UNICEF Executive
Board with local authorities in the Makhoarane Community Council in
Morija on Saturday.
He said the Lesotho government through the Ministry of Social
Development is proud that some countries came to Lesotho to learn about
the successful implementation of the cash transfers to needy communities
for social protection.
The Cash Grants Programme is an intervention by the Government of
Lesotho, UNICEF and European Union (EU) where EU provides funds which
are transfered to needy households.
The Minister commented that given the level of poverty facing majority
of local households, hence appealed to development partners to intensify
efforts to caver more of the ministry's clientele noting that the
Ministry has recently launched the National Information System for
Social Assistance (NISSA), which is a single registry that stores
socio-economic data for targeting, planning, managing and monitoring
Social Protection Programmes.
The system also serves as a source of information for targeting
beneficiary selection and assist in integration of payments and Case
Management so to reduce costs of delivery of social grants.
He further urged development partners to join efforts so that the social
protection programme can be multiplies.
Mr. Letlotlo said around 60,000 households are expected to be registered
hence a plea to development partners for more assistance to help
vulnerable households improve their living standards.
Also speaking was the President of the UNICEF Executive Board who
arrived in the country on Friday from New York, Mr. Walton Webson said
they are happy to visit Lesotho to observe some of the field operations
that UNICEF is doing for the local communities particularly provision of
services to children no matter where they are.
Mr. Webson is accompanied by a delegation of five
He said UNICEF Executive Board’s visit is part of the efforts to promote
oneness and ensuring that children receive services as mandated by this
Also speaking was the National Director for the Catholic Relief Services
Mrs. Erica Dahl-Bredine who said CRS is implementing a programme called
Sustainable Poverty Reduction through Income, Nutrition and access to
Government Services (SPRINGS) to complement Lesotho's national social
assistance programme with the services households need to emerge from
poverty and ensure their children's overall wellbeing.
She said through the programme, beneficiaries are trained on how to
promote keyholes gardens, marketing skills in an effort to enable them
to market their surplus production of vegetables from the keyhole
gardens and earn sustainable income.
In his welcome remarks, the Area Chief of Morija, Chief Ranthomeng
Matete said Morija is honoured to have hosted a high powered delegation,
saying Morija is a special place in Lesotho as it is the first centre of
learning established in 1833 by the French missionaries.
He said UNICEF continues to give support to different communities since
Lesotho became party to the United Nations, just after she gained her
independence in 1966.
Chief Ranthomeng expressed hope that the support will be intensified to
benefit other vulnerable communities in the country.
The Chairperson of Makhoarane Community Council, Mr. Tsekiso Mphafi
requested UNICEF to expand coverage of the households assisted so that
the programme can benefit many families that are most vulnerable.
He also thanked CRS for the programme aimed at strengthening the
livelihoods of the needy.
Meanwhile, the UNICEF Executive Board visited the school for herdboys in
Semonkong and then visited the Scott hospital.
The delegation, led by the Board President Mr. Webson, Permanent
Representative to the UN, Antigua and Barbuda arrived in the country on
Friday for a five-day visit.