Social Protection and Agriculture: saving lives and livelihoods in Lesotho

In Lesotho, social protection plays an important role in protecting poor and vulnerable people from natural hazards saving lives and livelihoods, while also enhancing families’ capacity to cope, respond and withstand threats and crises. In 2009 rural poor in Lesotho started receiving cash transfers through the Child Grant Programme. This brought positive impacts on the local economy, education and school enrolment, children living standards and agriculture production.

In 2013, FAO began a pilot called Linking Food Security to Social Protection Programme (LFSSP), which provided vegetable seeds and training on homestead gardening to households eligible for the CGP. An impact evaluation of the pilot revealed that combining CGP cash transfers with the delivery of vegetable seeds and the training by the LFSSP had a greater impact on household food production and food security – especially in labour-constrained households – than did each programme in isolation.

Based on the successes assessed during the pilot and in response to the El Nino induced drought - that affected 680,000 individuals in need of livelihood support - FAO decided to upscale this intervention. The upscaling was implemented entirely through government channels, therefore ensuring future expansion and sustainability. An innovative approach by FAO that led to incredible achievements in terms of bridging the divide between development and humanitarian contexts in a complicated emergency environment where coordination often represents a challenge.

Cash transfers are a powerful tool to combat hunger and poverty. This video highlights and raises awareness of how social protection impacts can be maximized.