The district of Mafeteng was selected for a pilot project carried out between November 2004 and May 2008 to support food and nutrition security and livelihoods of vulnerable HIV-affected communities, in particular orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). This initiative was supported under the umbrella of a wider project for southern Africa, and is in line with the National Policy for Food Security. The district is affected by recurrent droughts and high rates of HIV. According to the district situation analysis conducted in 2004, Mafeteng had the country’s highest rate of orphans. A baseline study commissioned by the project highlighted high stunting rates and moderate underweight in children under the age of five, particularly in resource-poor households that host OVC. The main problems identified included poor dietary diversity, lack of awareness of nutritional needs and inadequate food safety. In addition, households that look after OVC were less likely to have developed vegetable gardens.


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