A new joint programme is changing the way the Lesotho government and its development partners deliver aid by getting different government departments, UN agencies and civil society organizations working together to help mothers and their families.
Tens of thousands of Basotho already depend on food and agricultural assistance as well as free HIV/AIDS treatment, but the country is no closer to achieving a number of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and progress on some has reversed.
Over half the population lives in extreme poverty, an estimated 23 percent of adults are infected with HIV, and for every 100,000 live births, 1,155 women died during or after delivery in 2009; up from 762 in 2004.
“Because we’re looking at negative trends in these areas, we discussed with the government and I think there was consensus that there was something we weren’t doing right,” said Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, the UN resident coordinator in Lesotho.
Starting in June 2010, the joint programme began targeting the four worst performing MDGs – those relating to the eradication of poverty and hunger, to reducing child and maternal mortality and combating HIV – in the four worst performing of Lesotho’s 10 districts. The best chance of success, everyone agreed, was to focus interventions on helping mothers. Research has shown that improving their lives has a knock-on effect on other family members.
The programme also tries to address the lack of coordination and wasted resources that have plagued aid delivery in the past.