Lesotho

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On 2 July 2014, the Kingdom of Lesotho joined the SUN Movement with a letter of commitment from Prime Minister Motsoahar Thomas Thabane. At the time, Lesotho had a nutrition programme structure in place with a Food and Nutrition Coordinating Office, responsible for coordinating nutrition programmes in the country. The Ministry of Health was responsible for curative and preventative nutrition strategies, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security was responsible for preventative nutrition activities at the community level, and the Ministry of Education was responsible for the comprehensive development of children under five years.

Progress

Bringing people together
28% 2017

Bringing people together

Coherent policy and legal framework
34% 2017

Coherent policy and legal framework

Aligning programs around a Common Results Framework
26% 2017

Aligning programs around a Common Results Framework

Financial tracking and resource mobilization
4% 2017

Financial tracking and resource mobilization

TOTAL
23% 2017

TOTAL

Nutrition situation

33.2%

Under Five Stunting

10.7%

Low Birth Weight

66.9%

0-5 Months Exclusive Breastfeeding

2.8%

Under Five Wasting

7.4%

Under Five Overweight

26.8%

Woman Anaemia 15-49 years

10.5%

Adult Blood Glucose (Diabetes)

35.4%

Adult Overweight

14.2%

Adult Obesity

Strategic objectives

The launch of the National Nutrition Policy in October 2016 and the Cost of Hunger in Africa study helped unite stakeholders, including the private sector, in Lesotho. Recent collaboration with the Ministries of Finance and Development Planning, along with awareness-raising on the creation of SUN Networks with civil society, businesses, UN agencies, academia, and the media, is aiding their future establishment, with the support of REACH. A key challenge is that many stakeholders within the realm of nutrition-sensitive actions are yet to fully take on board nutrition actions. Going forward, more national advocacy is proposed, in collaboration with His Majesty King Letsie III, and further political commitment encouraged to ensure coordination structures are funded and effective.

Last updated: November 2017

2015
The Food and Nutrition Coordinating Office (FNCO) based under the Prime Minister’s Office is mandated to provide visionary policy direction, technical guidance, coordination, oversight, monitoring and evaluation and resource mobilisation of food and nutrition programmes. It is also responsible for coordinating the implementation of the National Nutrition Policy (currently drafted). The FNCO convenes various government sectors, non-governmental organisations and development partners and organised in four multi-sectoral task teams: nutrition technical team; policy sub-committee; Research subcommittee and a Micronutrient task force. Lesotho has not yet established partnerships with business but recognises that business has a crucial role to play in advocacy initiatives that are beneficial for scaling up nutrition efforts. Lesotho has organised an advocacy meeting with various stakeholders to be held in 2015 in order to sensitise stakeholders to the Principles of the SUN Movement.

Last updated: October 2015

The drafting, review and validation of the National Nutrition Policy required the intensive scrutiny of other relevant policies to make sure it was holistic and adequately focused on nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive actions. All relevant stakeholders were part of its creation and regular impact evaluation reports are produced to inform policy decisions. Complementary to this, National Nutrition Week in October will bring public recognition of the issue by featuring street nutrition status assessments, counselling, a nutrition champion festival and a football tournament in honour of the King.

Last updated: November 2017

2015
A thorough analysis of existing nutrition-relevant policies and programmes has been undertaken before the development of the national nutrition policy, which has been drafted. Nutrition has been integrated into a number of policies including the Lesotho Food Security Policy and Strategic Guidelines (2003), the National HIV and AIDS Policy, the Agriculture Sector Strategy and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, which was adopted alongside the 2020 National Vision. A number of nutrition relevant legislation has been drafted under health and trade ministries for health, food safety and food standards.

Last updated: October 2015

Lesotho does not yet have an official common results framework as yet, but its development is underway with the Food and Nutrition Coordination Office (FNCO) and REACH currently developing a National Nutrition Strategic Plan. Private sector partners are supporting nutrition-specific interventions such as fortification, and UN agencies along with NGOs are also providing support for nutrition-specific and sensitive interventions – by supporting multiple ministries on various activities. In response to the 2016 drought, a national coordination forum was conducted and common plan with clearly defined responsibilities and budget was developed.

Last updated: November 2017

2015
A National Action Plan for Food Security (2007 – 2017) supports improved planning and implementation of food and nutrition activities undertaken by line ministries with FNCO coordination and support from various United Nations agencies and NGOs.
With technical support from development partners, all relevant national stakeholders were consulted in 2014 to elaborate a ‘Cross-sectoral Nutrition Action Plan’ (CSNAP) which has many attributes of a common results framework (CRF). It is an all-inclusive national nutrition plan with a multi-sectoral approach to the implementation of nutrition programmes by different stakeholders. The CSNAP clearly outlines how programmes can be aligned to national nutrition-relevant policies and sets out the role of various stakeholders. It also includes a monitoring and evaluation framework and standard reporting tools.

Last updated: October 2015

To date, there has not been systematic efforts to track finances and mobilise further resources for nutrition. Tracking financial investments, through the SUN 3-step approach, only captures nutrition-specific investments and due to the nature of Lesotho’s budget, is very difficult to ascertain investments in nutrition-sensitive activities. In the future, the FNCO may become an independent Ministry and thereby be able to develop a common financial reporting format and consolidate reports. Going forward, the African Union Nutrition Champion, King Letsie III, can help advocate for resources, the NEPAD nutrition fund can provide funding windows and more engagement is needed from the Ministry of Finance. One-off donations are sought from local businesses and civil society organisations for specific events, but more support can be identified and public-private partnerships fostered.

Last updated: November 2017

2015
The cost of the CSNAP has not been estimated, which has impeded the mobilisation of resources. The 2015 Budget Analysis Exercise undertaken this year, revealed that significant budget allocations for nutrition exist even though their breakdown does not allow reliable estimates of the share for nutrition. The Ministry of Health, with support from the Clinton Health Access Initiative, carries out annual mapping of financial resources which compares expenditures and projective budget information across governments and development partners to identify the level of resources available. This mapping can be improved to better capture nutrition sensitive allocations. Finally, Lesotho will soon start a Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) Study in order to help mobilise funds.

Last updated: October 2015

SUN Government Focal Point

"The mindset and behaviour of nutrition practitioners itself must genuinely transform to facilitate a truly enabling environment for all stakeholders to commit to the fight against malnutrition. It is only if the nutrition "fraternity" open their "turf" to all those with a stake to freely play their role that any significant progress could be realised."

Tiisetso Elias
Regional Food and Nutrition Coordinating Oĸcer (RFNCO), The Food and Nutrition Coordinating Office (FNCO), Prime Minister's Office

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