Social Protection in Africa

Social Protection in Africa

Frank Ellis, Stephen Devereux and Phillip White

The purpose of this book is to make accessible to a broad audience the ideas, principles and practicalities of establishing effective social protection in Africa. It focuses on the major shift in strategy for tackling hunger and vulnerability, from emergency responses mainly in the form of food transfers to predictable cash transfers to the chronically poorest social groups. The diverse case studies in this book provide a unique and timely exploration of the effective, and less effective, ways that social transfers are delivered to the chronically poor and vulnerable in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Chapter 18: Case Study 8. School Feeding, Lesotho

Frank Ellis, Stephen Devereux and Phillip White

Subjects: development studies, development studies, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, social policy in emerging countries


OVERVIEW School feeding as a social transfer has a long history in Lesotho. It can be traced back to at least 1961 when Save the Children UK (SC-UK) began to provide meals for ten schools in the country’s lowlands. In 1965, the World Food Programme (WFP) began to provide the ingredients for meals to primary schools in the highlands, and in 1966, after Lesotho’s independence, WFP began sourcing food from abroad for distribution to schools across the country by the Government of Lesotho (GoL) and SCUK. This is also when the government’s Food Management Unit was created, which ever since has had chief responsibility for distributing food to schools. Between 1966 and 1990, the WFP school feeding programme covered all schools in the country. However, decisions were then taken to phase out WFP feeding in the lowlands and foothills regions and replace it with the School Self-Reliance Project (SSRP), based on providing schools with farm inputs in order to encourage them to grow their own supplies for school meals. In 1999, Lesotho adopted a Free Primary Education (FPE) policy and as part of this decided to phase in country-wide primary school meals once again, covering one additional grade each year, beginning with grade 1 primary and eventually covering grades 1–7 by 2007. In this phase, sourcing of food was shared by GoL and WFP, with WFP continuing to be mainly responsible for supplying highland schools, while GoL has supplied schools in the lowlands and foothills according to the FPE...

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