By: Koena Elliot Mokobocho
In efforts to try and mitigate the devastating effects malnutrition has had on Lesotho, the Alliance Insurance Company donated 30, 000 bags of fortified porridge to Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation (BCMCF) – Lesotho. Baylor will be responsible for the distribution of the porridge – which will benefit patients at Baylor COE/SCOEs, as well as the nutrition corners and clinics at the district hospitals at Baylor clinics. The aim is to target vulnerable communities in the country by providing a nutritious meal that is easy to make and can last for up to 100 servings per 5 kg bag, thus curbing the risk of malnutrition.
The fortified porridge does not need to be cooked. The porridge is easy and quick to prepare. It is mixed with either milk or water (hot or cold) and is ready to serve. This is especially important for families that are not able to cook merely because they do not have access to a kitchen or kitchen equipment like stoves and fridges.
Nearly half of the population of Lesotho is poor. Currently, 24.1% of the 2 million people living in Lesotho are facing conditions of extreme poverty (living below the poverty line). This poverty is most prominent in rural areas, where people lack the most basic of needs, whether it be safe housing and/or food. Healthcare, nutritious food, and education are often inaccessible to poor people. This further increases the vulnerability to natural disasters such as droughts, floods, diseases, and food insecurity.
The dreadful statistics and the high numbers of people who are food insecure make the struggle for a food-secure country seem interminable. However, with organizations like Alliance Insurance Company playing their part and seeking sustainable ways to feed communities that are most affected and disadvantaged, we are given a fighting chance. The insurance company hopes to continue donating these bags of fortified porridge for at least two to three years, promising to continue helping at-risk communities and increasing their vitality. Alliance is exemplary of an organization that cares about the community it serves – offering not just insurance policies but a helping hand to communities that need it the most.
Another key point discussed at the event was the effects of malnutrition on children. In studies done by the United Nations Organization stunting in children below the age of five was seen to be very common in Lesotho. Nearly 35% of children under the age of five are stunted, which is higher than the African continent’s average of 30%. It is apparent malnutrition has had devastating effects on Lesotho and will continue to do so if not provided with the necessary amount of consideration.
The Executive Director of BCMCF Dr. Lineo Thahane, was there to accept the very generous donation made by Alliance Insurance. Dr. Lineo Thahane expressed her gratitude to the donating company and emphasized the importance of occasions of this nature.
I hope that similar acts of kindness continue to happen and that Lesotho keeps moving forward.