A NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisation, Msizi Africa Lesotho is mulling expanding its nutrition assistance initiatives for orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) in order to mitigate the prevalence of malnutrition in the country.
This was revealed by Msizi Africa Lesotho Country Director Mochesane Mosoloane in an interview with the Lesotho Times this week.
He said the organisation was seeking to expand beyond just three villages in Mohale’s Hoek where it was currently operating.
Msizi Africa is a United Kingdom registered charity that was established in 2007 by the British-born Lucy Caslon who had realised the need to assist some of the OVCs at Mants’ase Children’s Home in Mohale’s Hoek.
Ms Caslon had noted that although the children were fed at the home, the food was not optimal in terms of nutrition especially in view of the fact most of them had HIV/AIDS and other health issues.
She soon organised financial help from family and friends back in the UK which enabled her to buy fruits, vegetables, meat and fish to complement the children’s regular diet of maize meal and cabbage.
According to Mr Mosoloane, it was this determination to ensure local children benefitted from nutritious meals that led to the opening of Msizi Africa Lesotho in 2015.
“We are currently carrying out our projects in three areas of Mohale’s Hoek where we either bought or rented some buildings to ensure that children are served fresh and healthy meals to fight malnutrition,” Mr Mosoloane said, adding, “The upbringing of a child starts with healthy meals to prevent illnesses and death”.
The three villages that Msizi Africa Lesotho operates in Mohale’s Hoek are Majapereng, Ha Mahase and Ha Thoriso. Mr Mosoloane said they catered for a total of 108 children in their nutrition programme.
He said hunger and nutrition remained serious challenges as evidenced by findings from a recent vulnerability assessment conducted by the Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC 2016) which revealed a deterioration in the food security situation with over 709 000 people in urgent need of food assistance.
He said Msizi Africa Lesotho had conducted its own vulnerability assessment in Qhalasi constituency in Mohale’s Hoek, where they found that there were 46.78 percent orphans and vulnerable children in the population of which 36.2 percent were in need of immediate food supplement.