Progress from CRS’s “Whose Child is This?” Program in Lesotho

Progress from CRS’s “Whose Child is This?” Program in Lesotho
Better Way Foundation has partnered with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for more than five years in the interest of increasing access to quality early childhood care and development services in the Kingdom of Lesotho, where 49 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

With the majority of Lesotho’s population living in rural areas, there is a great need for child care and pre-school facilities. In urban areas like the capital, Maseru, where many young parents work in textile factories, there is a lack of safe, educational and stimulating spaces for the children of working parents. CRS’s “Whose Child Is This?” program directly addresses these needs.

The first phase of “Whose Child Is This?” made important progress in supporting the healthy development of young children in Lesotho. The program achieved:

  • Service delivery to more than 48 rural communities
  • Implementation of integrated early childcare and development programs for 5,167 children aged 0-5
  • Active engagement of more than 9,500 parents and caregivers in regular caregiver trainings and Child Health Days

The second phase of “Whose Child is This?” will build upon these successes by advancing local ownership of integrated early childhood care and development services among key national and local stakeholders, generating data that can support greater advocacy in Lesotho and further improving services for children and their families in targeted communities, including Maseru.

One critical improvement in phase two of the program will be the expansion of services available through Child Health Days.  These events have focused on health, education, protection and nutrition related to children, but CRS found high interest in extending the focus to parents and caregivers. Renamed as “Wellbeing Days,” these events will add hypertension, diabetes and visual acuity screenings for parents and caregivers, as well as continued HIV testing for both children and adults.

By expanding services to parents, Wellbeing Days will encourage greater ownership and understanding of early childhood care and development efforts, as well as provide an opportunity to connect parents with services that impact the wellbeing of their entire household.

CRS has already implemented three Wellbeing Day events—one in eight communities across Leribe, another in three villages near Mantsonyane and a third in the Maseru area.  Multiple regional stakeholders, including the Madagascar Ministry of Health and two congregational partners from Zambia, have visited Lesotho to learn from the Wellbeing Days model, in the interest of replicating them in their own countries.

We look forward to sharing the additional successes of “Whose Child is This?” in phase two. To learn more about Better Way’s early childhood care and development work in Lesotho and around the world, contact us.