Community involvement in the fight against HIV, TB and other common diseases is essential.
The Red Cross is working closely with local volunteers and communities to find solutions. We are supporting people in five districts in Lesotho: Quthing, Mokhotlong, Mafeteng, Maseru and Thaba-Tseka.
Food security and livelihood support
Building knowledge and self-sufficiency is important to ensure people have a nutritional diet to support active lives.
Trained volunteers act as lead gardeners to inform local people about the best methods to grow, produce and preserve food.
The gardeners assist with the construction of keyhole gardens, help communities diversify their crop base, and advise on how to prepare for adverse conditions.
The Lesotho Red Cross compliments this through the distribution of vegetable and crop seeds, fruit trees and gardening implements.
Food parcels are distributed to meet the immediate needs of 1,800 households struggling to access food, including people with HIV and TB who receive support at home.
If people do not consume enough calories, it can affect the effectiveness of anti-retroviral treatment. To combat this, the Red Cross produces and communicates dietary information to communities to improve nutritional knowledge and quality of diets.
Community home-based care
The programme provides the most vulnerable family members with training and practical advice on HIV, nutrition, care and stress reduction.
Each week, volunteers visit people living with HIV, AIDS and TB. They provide care ranging from prevention and treatment of infections to specific treatment of the illness. In addition, they offer counselling and social support.
Action has also been taken to improve access to care and support services. Existing services are often situated far away from villages and are costly to reach.
In all health centres, nurses work closely with the mobile and hospital services, and provide clients money for transport to ensure they can access medical services.
Orphans and vulnerable children
Some 150,000 children have been orphaned due to AIDS. The Red Cross programme gives vulnerable children the support and skills they need to survive.
The Red Cross provides books and uniforms, which allow children to continue their education.
Youth clubs have been set up to enable orphans to interact with other children and take part in activities, including sport and drama.
Home-based care volunteers in each area have also been trained to provide moral support and counselling.
Raising awareness about HIV and its transmission
The Lesotho Red Cross works to prevent further infections through communication. Activities include:
- Peer education and information
- Public communication activities conveying facts on HIV and TB, prevention methods, anti-stigma and discrimination messages, and the rights of people living with HIV
- Distribution of education and communication materials
- Condom demonstrations