OPEC Fund provides $19m to support sustainable livelihoods in Lesotho
The OPEC Fund for International Development has become the largest supporter of a program that will create sustainable livelihoods in Lesotho with a $19 million loan. The “Regeneration of Landscape and Livelihood Project” (ROLL) will benefit rural communities in the southern Africa country, whose economy is largely based on agriculture with 70 per cent of rural households depending on it.
The goal of ROLL is for rural communities to adopt transformational practices for regenerated landscapes and sustainable livelihoods. For this, the program aims at adapting practices of using resources, the reduction of environmental degradation, the improvement of livelihoods, and securing funding for landscape regeneration.
The project will be rolled out in northern, northwestern, central and southern regions of Lesotho, covering around 2,240 villages and directly benefitting 100,000 people corresponding to 68,000 rural households, and indirectly reach approximately 340,000 people. Out of these, 40 percent will be women and 20 percent young people who are expected to particularly benefit from the creation of new income generating activities.
Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, Director-General, OPEC Fund: ''We are proud to commit with partner organizations to support this innovative, inclusive and important project. By adopting sustainable land management practices, leading to a better integration of the agricultural ecosystem, strengthening of climate change resilience and diversification of household incomes, rural communities will be able to transform landscapes and livelihoods, reversing the downward spiral of over-exploited natural resources, declining productivity, poor nutrition and increased poverty.''
The OPEC Fund is joining the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Global Environment Facility, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the government of Lesotho and others in support of the program. Half of Lesotho’s 2.1 million population lives below the national poverty line ($1.65/day) and the country experiences a “rural urban divide” with a rural poverty rate of 61 percent according to IFAD. Access to arable land is considered one of the major challenges for the country’s development.