Cash for Assets: A Welcome Relief in Drought Stricken Areas of Lesotho
WFP's Cash for Assets programme has been designed to assist people affected by climate change. With support from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), and the United Kingdom Government (DFID), the programme provides a source of income in exchange for the creation of community assets which help prevent drought and flooding - both of which have been recurring in recent years.
Only 10% of Lesotho's land is fit for farming, and each year another one percent is lost to the effects of climate change and erosion. This causes widespread hunger and malnutrition. WFP is assisting communities in building rock walls (as seen above) which slow down fast moving water, reducing soil erosion.
In the past, heavy rainfall meant that farm land was washed away. Under the Cash for Assets programme, communities work together to protect their food source by creating secure structures which slow down fast-moving rain water.
WFP is working with the Lesotho Government to protect against climate change and erosion by planting thousands of fruit trees. The fruit will be shared by the community who can consume what is needed, then sell the remaining produce.
The Cash for Assets programme is highly successful due to the participation of all community members, from those in local government to local farmers. Through this programme WFP aims to reach 145,000 people in Lesotho who are struggling with severe food insecurity and hunger.
The Cash for Assets programme assists people who are particularly vulnerable to hunger and food insecurity...people like brother and sister Qhelane and Thabiso who tried their best to grow food this year. Due to drought, however, their four-acre garden only yielded 20 litres of maize meal, just enough to feed them for two weeks.
Each morning, Paile Semoko woke up worried about how she would provide for her two orphaned granddaughters. Without money to buy vegetable seeds for her garden and no support from her family, she decided to ask to join the Cash for Assets programme in her village. Result - the cupboard in her house in no longer bare.
In 2012, the Government of Lesotho called a State of Emergency due to the unrelenting drought affecting many regions of the country. The World Food Programme along with the international donor community (European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), and the UK Government through the Department for International Development (DFID)) responded with a Cash for Assets programme in the regions worst affected by food insecurity and malnutrition.
The Cash for Assets programme was designed to overcome environmental degradation by working with communities to construct or rehabilitate structures such as silt traps and rock walls. These assets help to divert heavy flowing rain water away from farm land. By diverting the water into collection areas, rather than causing damage, the rain water can instead be used for irrigation.
The programme, which targets the most vulnerable, aims to reach some 145,000 people in Lesotho.