The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a US$ 1.7 million contribution from the Government of Japan to support the provision of daily meals to some 50,000 pre-primary school learners in Early Childhood Care and Development Centres (ECCDs) countrywide and the training of 300 farmers in the Mohale’s Hoek and Quthing regions of Lesotho over the next 12 months. The funding allows for the continuation of a Japan-backed project, initiated in 2019, whereby WFP helps strengthen the capacities of Lesotho’s Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) to facilitate the provision of nutritious food in ECCDs.
“We thank the Government of Japan for its ongoing, timely support to enable WFP and the Government of Lesotho to mitigate some of the negative impacts of COVID-19,” said Aurore Rusiga, WFP’s Country Director. “For the national school feeding program to be sustainable, it must be based on local farm output – and must ensure that smallholders can supply products of the necessary quality.”
Japan’s donation will enable the provision of two nutritious meals each school day: a porridge breakfast of Super Cereal Plus, made from maize, soya beans, milk, sugar, and vegetable oil, enriched with vitamins and minerals; and a lunch of maize meal and canned fish. This contribution will add to the standard daily lunch meal already provided through the assistance of the Government of Japan.
The contribution will also allow WFP to train 300 smallholder farmers in food preservation, processing, packaging, pricing, and marketing techniques.
“The donation will help meet the heightened need for food assistance in this country provoked by the pandemic and ensure a consistent and vital source of solid nourishment for young children”, said Norio Maruyama, Japan’s ambassador to Lesotho. “This project is one example of how Japan delivers on its commitments at the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development in 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. This new contribution brings Japan’s total contribution towards WFP’s humanitarian assistance in Lesotho to more than US$ 19.5 million since 2004.
The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.