At least 58 people from six primary schools in the Butha Buthe district were trained on Climate Smart Agriculture from June 8th to 12th this year by Lesotho Red Cross Society under the School Feeding Project.

The 58 participants included 39 females and 19 males.

The objectives of the project include amongst others; the promotion of development and maintenance of community and school vegetable gardens to complement dietary needs.

The trained schools are Rehauhetsoe, as the host, Mantlobo, Khatibe, Jane Roman Catholic (RC), Moteng Community primary and Moteng RC primary schools. The schools are in the Ngoajane and Nqoe Community Councils.

The Project also played an important role in the resuscitation of the old projects which schools and the Ministry of Education used to have in the fight against hunger and malnutrition in all its forms through Agricultural activities.

‘this farming project is particularly important for a healthy life and quality education of the students. Some students have one meal a day which they get from school’, the Project Officer Mr Mokholoane Sefatsana said.

Through Climate Smart Agriculture trainings schools will continue to strengthen their approach towards farming and adaptation to the erratic climatic conditions which are now prevailing.

In addition, the project in collaboration with relevant government ministries and UN Agencies conducted a hygiene promotion and mobilization campaign in schools.

“Students, teachers and school board members undertook a joint short walk/march attracting six communities of Moteng in Nqoe community councils calling for the communities to protect and clean water sources which the schools are only getting water from,” Mr.  Sefatsana indicated.

He said in these communities people still use open defecation and or do not have toilets and putting vulnerable people at risk of contracting infections, including COVID19.

He said during the WASH campaign, the following topics were discussed with the communities; Child protection and protection of clean water sources. “Children were given a platform to appeal to the members of the community that they need protection against gender inclusion, prevention from exploitation and sexual abuse,’ Sefatsana added.

A total of 102 people was reached with WASH and Child protection messaging, 29 males and 63 females of the 6 villages around the Moteng during the stated campaign.

meanwhile, 12 steel tippy taps with 5 liters plastic containers; two per school, were constructed in six schools; next to the toilets, with the aim of availing water for handwashing. The schools were also given 25 liters of sanitizers each.

The tippy taps are meant to serve 1253 people, 629 boys and 624 girls as well as 43 teachers and school personnel; 13 males and 30 females, Sefatsane indicated.

The next phase of the project, which started in July this year and ends in December 2021 will provide the following; construction of latrines, handwashing stations, soap and sanitizer, and hygiene education (WASH).

The project which resumed in March this year started by conducting WASH training for 69 students from selected schools; 24 males and 45 females. These participants are already WASH club members who are given responsibilities to cascade the messing to their peers and family members.

Sefatsana revealed the nutritional value of the schools leaves much to be desired, hence Lesotho Red Cross Society through its School Feeding Project will assist the schools with the establishment of school community gardens:

Sefatsana said the following will be done to achieve good nutritional value for schools;

  • Installation of roof water harvesting facilities and storage (rainwater)
  • Construction of Keyhole, trench and implement other improved farming techniques such as greenhouse farming
  • Fencing the school and community vegetation gardens
  • Provision of start-up kits (garden tools and seeds)
  • Nutrition education and malnutrition screening
  • Conduct trainings on food preparation, handling, and preservation
  • Screening malnutrition and immunization
  • Establish and strengthen referral systems to local health facilities

He added that the project will also introduce energy-efficient stoves with the aim of reducing adverse effects on the environment, reducing cost and collection of firewood, and reducing air pollution.

The project is expected to reach 1500 students and 3000 community members. The project will take 24 months and is funded by the Australian Red Cross Society through the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to the tune of M6.1 Million.