Lesotho Gardens
USAID/OFDA support has provided communities in Lesotho with trainings in the establishment of home gardens, such as the one in this photo.
Lisa Gabriel/USAID

Latest Southern Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

An estimated 709,000 people may face acute food insecurity between June 2016 and March 2017 due to significant crop losses and high staple food prices, according to the national Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) survey conducted in May. From June–September, staple prices will likely increase to levels approximately 17 to 30 percent higher than national five-year averages, further eroding household purchasing power and constraining food access, the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) reports. As a result, FEWS NET projects that most areas of Lesotho will experience Crisis levels of food insecurity between June 2016 and January 2017.

Nearly 17 percent of rural households in Lesotho rely on unprotected water sources, according to the VAC, indicating improved access to potable water since February, when approximately 56 percent of households reported using unprotected water sources. However, the VAC anticipates that household water access is likely to decrease during the May-to-October dry season. In addition, a recent UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) assessment found that 30 percent of early childhood development and primary schools in Lesotho urgently require water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) support, affecting more than 100,000 children. UNICEF is coordinating with the Government of Lesotho (GoL) to address water shortages through a GoL water-tanking program. UNICEF is also improving access to safe drinking water for approximately 80,000 people in Berea, Butha-Buthe, and Mohale’s Hoek districts. UNICEF interventions include distributing water storage containers and water purification tablets and conducting community WASH trainings.

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) provided $1 million in new funding to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to support agriculture and food security and WASH interventions in Lesotho. With USAID/OFDA support, FAO is increasing pastoral households’ resilience to drought and other disasters by conducting livestock vaccinations, providing families with livestock fodder, and promoting rangeland management. In addition, FAO is improving access to safe drinking water for vulnerable households and livestock through the installation of community water tanks and rehabilitation of boreholes and other water sources.

USAID recently committed more than $7.8 million to support partner World Vision’s response efforts in Lesotho. With $7.5 million from USAID's Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP), the non-governmental organization (NGO) is providing emergency food assistance to vulnerable populations. In addition, World Vision—with $320,000 in USAID/OFDA assistance—is conducting trainings on safe hygiene practices, distributing safe drinking water, and establishing water access points for approximately 9,000 people in acutely drought-affected Mohale’s Hoek.

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA)  is responding to a regional drought in Southern Africa. Please visit our webpage for additional information.


Lesotho experiences erratic rainfall, recurrent droughts, and soil degradation, which can adversely affect food security. In addition to responding to urgent humanitarian needs, USAID/OFDA supports interventions to build the capacity of people in Lesotho to withstand disasters. For example, USAID/OFDA has supported programs to train emergency responders in Lesotho and supported initiatives to improve the land management and agricultural techniques of local farmers.

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Last updated: July 27, 2016

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