The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes the Japanese Government contribution of JPY200,000,000 (equivalent to about US$ 1,860,000) that will enable WFP to strengthen food assistance to some 180,000 primary school children, through the Government of Lesotho’s national school feeding programme.
A ceremony was held today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations to mark the contribution which will be used to buy canned fish, further diversifying nutritious meals offered in primary schools across the country. The ceremony was officiated by the Lesotho Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Honourable ‘Maphoka Motoboli.
“Over 600,000 Basotho are currently facing food insecurity due to the 2018/19 drought, a situation being worsened by predicted late rains in 2019. This support came at a critical time when WFP is appealing for more resources to respond to increasing needs. It will help the most vulnerable, Basotho children, some of whom, the only nutritious meals they receive are provided through the national school feeding programme,” said WFP Lesotho Country Representative Mary Njoroge.
Japan has been one of the most consistent donors to WFP Lesotho having donated USD $8.2 million since 2014. The ceremony was attended by the Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of Japan in Pretoria, Mr. Shuichiro Kawaguchi.
“Japan remains committed to assisting in globally achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger. For future generations to thrive and contribute to the development of their country, they require sufficient nutrition to think, learn and grow intellectually. Fish is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and provides numerous health benefits including stimulating brain cell growth and healthy hearts,” said Mr. Shuichiro Kawaguchi.
Honourable Deputy Minister of Basic Education, ‘Maphoka Motoboli, reiterated the significance of Japan’s support explaining that “this invaluable donation will complement the maize meal, pulses, oil, sugar and salt that are currently on the menu and make a tangible difference to the lives of Basotho children across the nation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Japan for this direct investment in the future of our country.”
The support comes at a crucial time, as food insecurity levels in the country remain high and particularly affect the most vulnerable, including children. Results from the latest Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (VAA) of June 2019 predict that some 30 percent of the population will need immediate food assistance, with the figure expected to grow towards the end of 2019.
The Government of Japan has been funding food assistance for developing countries since 1968 and is a long-standing partner of WFP in Lesotho.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).