There are more than one million children under the age of 18 living in Lesotho. One in three of these children are orphans, and nearly half (45%) of all households are caring for at least one orphan. This situation is primarily due to the impact of HIV and AIDS in Lesotho: the country has an HIV prevalence of 23%, the second highest globally. Factors such as a high rate of poverty and challenging terrain and climate exacerbate these challenges, contributing to food insecurity and inadequate nutrition, as well as limited livelihood opportunities and household income.
The Government of Lesotho, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other development partners, are working together to address these challenges and improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children, their caregivers, and communities throughout the country.
Through the five-year (2010-2015) USAID-funded Building Local Capacity for Delivery of HIV Services in Southern Africa Project (BLC), implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), 92,381 orphans and vulnerable children and their caregivers have received needs-based services in five districts in Lesotho - 73% of the total number of orphans in these districts. This was accomplished through partnership with local civil society organizations who increased and improved their community-based services.
As a result of collaborating with MSH, key government departments and civil society organizations in Lesotho have stronger institutional and technical capacity to implement policies and services that support access to coordinated, high-quality, evidence-based health services to reach orphans and vulnerable children and their caregivers.
The stories in this book share perspectives from some of the orphans and vulnerable children and their caregivers that have received services from MSH and its partners. Their experiences reveal personal success, probe ongoing challenges and complexities, and provide a window into what true personal and community transformation look like - the only sustainable way to achieve national and global transformation.