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King to lead walk against hunger

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Lerato Matheka

MASERU — His Majesty King Letsie III is next Sunday expected to walk the walk in the fight against hunger.

The king is expected to lead the fourth annual Walk the World fun-walk, an event organised by the World Food Programme to fight hunger and malnutrition in Lesotho.

The eight-kilometre walk will take place next Sunday.

The WFP country director and representative, Imandeldin Salih, told a press conference this week the king is expected to lead the walk.

“This year’s walk is expected to be led by His Majesty King Letsie III accompanied by cabinet ministers, the UN resident Co-ordinator, UN heads of agencies, government officials and UN officials,” Salih said.

“The theme for the walk is Fight Malnutrition, Support Education among Children in Lesotho.”

The walk is aimed at raising funds for the WFP’s school-feeding and nutrition programmes in Mokhotlong, Qacha’s Nek and Berea.

“The global campaign kicked off in Lesotho in 2007 with the aim of raising awareness and funds.

“Last year we managed to collect M139 000 which was used to buy fuel-efficient stoves for 80 schools in the three districts of Mokhotlong, Qacha’s Nek and Berea,” Salih said.

He said the initiative helped at least 20 000 children to have more time to study and play instead of collecting firewood for cooking.

Salih added that they expected at least a thousand people to take part in the walk.

“This year’s event is expected to attract a large number of participants because children from 17 years downwards are not expected to pay but we are still aiming at raising funds for the WFP’s school-feeding and nutrition programmes,” he said.

About 40 percent of Lesotho’s children below the age of five are underdeveloped, illustrating a chronic form of malnutrition.

At least 15 percent of deaths among children between the ages of one and 12 were attributed to malnutrition, Salih said.

He added: “Forty-seven percent of children below five years are anaemic, with Qacha’s Nek district showing a high percentage at 64 percent.”

Salih said it costs the WFP Lesotho just under M3 per day to provide a meal to a child at school under its feeding and nutrition programmes.

“These programmes also give parents an extra incentive to keep their children in school and help lay a healthy foundation for a better future,” Salih said.

Participants will be expected to gather at Maseru Club after the walk for after-walk entertainment.

Participants will also receive a T-shirt and free meal.

The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation that fights hunger.

This year it is expected to help more than 90 million adults, including 61 million children, in more than 80 countries.

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