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As part of the European Union funded 'Deepening Decentralisation and Non-State Actors Programme', the NGO 'Send A Cow' has been implementing a project on Capacity building of local Non-State Actors to help them deliver social services, alleviate poverty and promote local economic development. With a total funding of 1.3 million Euros (approx. 20 million Maloti) from the European Union, the three year project, which comes to an end in October 2016, has been working to alleviate poverty in Lesotho by helping households create sustainable food and local markets. Support from the project extended beyond food security to public-private partnership for delivery of improved social services. For example, over 120 Wills have been drafted for the beneficiaries and educational seminars on the rights of inheritance have been conducted.
With the help of community members digging holes and collecting stones, 260 ventilated improved pit latrines have been constructed and the community members trained on water, sanitation and hygiene.
Before joining the 'Intlafatseng' Project, which translates to Self-Development Project, Lesesa said that she used to stay at home and be idle. "Before the project started, we were sitting under the trees and not thinking. We were just turning with the sun." With a smile on her face, she explained that now she is very busy.
The project works in three districts in Lesotho, namely Berea, Leribe and Butha-Buthe, reaching approximately 15, 250 beneficiaries which include orphaned and vulnerable children, largely because of the country's high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates.
The beneficiaries have been trained on sustainable farming practices which include keyhole gardening – the vegetable growing method which produces food throughout the extreme heat of the summer and the cold of the winter so that families can eat better.
"Our lives have changed. We now eat well. The children do not go to bed hungry."
Lesesa says that she sells her surplus and uses the money to buy soap, cooking oil and school shoes for the children. She added that she also gives some vegetables to child headed households in her village.
In June 2016, members of the 'Intlafatseng' Project came together and bought 380 chickens along with feed and equipment. Today, Lesesa says that the chickens are laying eggs which they are taking to the market to be sold. "The profit we are making will allow us to buy more chickens and grow our business" said a joyful Lesesa.
"We are going to be able to continue growing different kinds of vegetables and continue with our chicken project beyond this current project because we have been empowered. We are equipped with skills which we can transfer to others who were not part of the initial project."
The project is funded by the European Union and is implemented by the NGO Send A Cow Lesotho in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Lesotho and the International Federation of Women Lawyer – Lesotho.