Community shown how to stay hunger free during hunger march
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The community of Qoaling Village in the outskirts of the Maseru Capital City, were encourage to grow their gardens in curbing the scourge of food insecurity that has rampaged much of the Qoaling area in recent years. The demonstration was undertaken by Rural Self-help Development Association (RSDA), one of the many member NGOs of the Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCN) during the hunger march occasion that took place on Wednesday 24th November 2010 commencing from LCN offices through to the chief of Qoaling place.

The community members who had come in throngs witnessed on the demonstration on how to grow vegetables on a small space given that most of the urban places do not have much space to grow any crops. At the same occasion the Principal Chief Mr. Khoabane Theko also rolled out his sleeves and planted a tree not only to mark the landmark occasion but also to continue on the quest to implore upon the villagers that its time they acted against food insecurity by growing vegetables themselves; not to wait for government handouts.

The growing of crops demonstration was preceded by a number of presentations from LCN President, Mr. Lira Theko, Member of Parliament (MP) for Qoaling and the Actionaid International Lesotho, country coordinator Mr. Seabata Motsamai.
LCN members marching in an effort to raise awareness about urban areas food insecurity. The march commenced from LCN to Qoaling moreneng.

Nonetheless, the landmark presentation came from Associate Professor Resetselemang Leduka from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Institute of Southern African Studies (ISAS) who did a study on Maseru urban food security in 2008. The study as indicated by the Professor revealed that urban areas are as much ravaged by food insecurity as rural areas. “Food insecurity is no more a rural challenge only, the urban areas as much threatened by this problem. Thus, although the significant number of urban households secured/ purchased their food, but over 27% obtained food from other sources involving non-purchase such as depending on the good will of other households. About 0.8% were recipients of food aid”, he said.

Professor Leduka further said that as a result of food price increase a significant percentage of households in the urban areas have had to go without food for varying periods in the past six months because they could not afford it. Nearly 23.5% have had to go without food everyday while about 30.5% for more than once a week.

The study was conducted at Maseru Capital believed to be populated at about 230 000 people while the sample of 800 households was drawn from two 2006 census constituencies (33&34). Lesotho citizens are estimated at about 2 Million people. The sample was drawn from the Maseru unplanned neighbourhoods consisting of mixed income groups. The sample was meant to capture as many poor households as possible. These villages include Qoaling, Lithoteng, Ha Seoli, Ha Shelile, Tsoapo-le-Bolile and Semphetenyane.

Besides the findings of the study, the purpose of the hunger march was part of the activities that LCN is undertaking to mark its celebration of 20th Anniversary as the umbrella body for the NGOs in the country and the council wanted to add its voice on the ongoing global campaign on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), specifically the MDG 1 on ‘Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger’.

The hunger march was organized in collaboration with Actionaid International Lesotho, an organization focus its activities in relation to eradication of and ensuring of food security.

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