Through the CRS-supported

Through the CRS-supported "Whose Child Is This?" early childhood development center, children learn basic math and language skills. Photo by Kim Pozniak/CRS

Catholic Relief Services began working in Lesotho in 1976, but left in 1988 following a period of economic growth. In response to a request sent by the Lesotho Catholic Bishop's Conference to CRS in 2002, CRS returned to provide support to Caritas Lesotho response to a region-wide food crisis that also affected Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. When the program ended, CRS felt that the needs of the country and the growing HIV and AIDS crisis in Lesotho warranted a more permanent presence and continued providing support under the leadership of the CRS South Africa program. The growing HIV and AIDS-related needs of the country prompted the agency to consider making CRS Lesotho an independent country program. In late 2005, the CRS Board of Directors approved the separation of CRS Lesotho from CRS South Africa with a complete separation in late 2006.

CRS employs an integrated approach to help poor and vulnerable people lead full and productive lives. We plan and coordinate programs in 3 of the country's 4 dioceses, bringing public- and private-sector actors together for community-based development.

We implement programs through partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, including the government of Lesotho, local NGOs, international NGOs, public- and private-sector partners, and Church partners. Our current work in Lesotho focuses on the following areas:

  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Microfinance
  • Information Communication Technology for Development

CRS' Commitment to Catholic Teaching

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Population:1,936,181 (July 2013 ext.)
Size:11,720 sq mi; slightly smaller than Maryland
People Served:750,277 (2013 est.)


Catholic Relief Services began working in Lesotho in 1976. Since 2002, CRS and the Lesotho Catholic Bishops' Conference have worked closely to address the food and nutritional needs of communities in Lesotho and to increase opportunities for households to support themselves. From the start, CRS and the Catholic Church have responded to frequent droughts and resulting food shortages. CRS also supports partners as they help communities reduce the impact of HIV.


Lesotho Catholic Bishops' Conference
The Good Shepherd Sisters
Rural Self-Help Development Agency



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