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Prince Harry met Prince Seeiso on his gap year in Lesotho and was moved to help vulnerable children and young people in the country. After ten years working in Lesotho, in November 2016, the charity launched operations in Botswana.
Sentebale means 'Forget me not' in Sesotho and the name was chosen "as a memorial to the charity work of our own mothers, as well as a reminder to us all not to forget Lesotho or its children." (Prince Harry speaking at the Concert for Diana).
Sentebale aims to combat these issues and works with vulnerable children and their communities, empowering them to reach their full potential. The charity is focused on community-led development which matches actual need.
Issues in Lesotho
Lesotho was 160/187 countries in the Human Development Index and described as having “low human development”. 43.2% of the population are living below the national poverty line. The country also came 108/187 for gender equality. Importantly, gender inequality in Lesotho does not follow the pattern of the majority of Sub-Saharan Africa. For example, males have lower literacy rates, and school attendance and completion rates. This is due in part to the traditional role of males in Basotho society. They are expected to spend their time herding livestock. This severely limits their access to education.
Lesotho has a population of just 1.8 million, yet it is estimated there are at least 360,000 orphans, and 13% of all children are vulnerable; their rights to survival and development are not being met. Life expectancy is on average just 41.2 years.
The country has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world. Knowledge about HIV prevention is also low. The two most common misconceptions on HIV/AIDS in Lesotho are that a person can become infected through mosquito bites or sharing food. Someone who has comprehensive knowledge of HIV is defined as someone who will "in response to a prompted question, agree that people can reduce their chances of getting the AIDS virus by having sex with only one uninfected, faithful partner and by using condoms consistently; know that a healthy-looking person can have the AIDS virus; and know that HIV cannot be transmitted by mosquito bites or by sharing food with a person who has AIDS." In Lesotho, only 38% of women and 29% of men age 15-49 have comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Among youth, this figure is 39% for women and 29% for men.
Sentebale focuses on supporting vulnerable children. The charity runs five key projects to enable communities to improve health, care and education.
- Network Clubs and Camps – This programme contains three initiatives.
- Sentebale runs week-long camps for HIV –positive children. These camps are led by Sentebale and supported by volunteers and health clinics. They are intended to educate and improve the confidence of children affected by HIV.
- Network clubs for camp alumni are held twice a month. The aim of these camps is to foster “expert patients” who can educate the community and keep themselves and others safe.
- Caregiver days connect medical professionals with the children and their families. This initiative has been successful in improving AntiRetroViral therapy (ARV) LINKS adherence and community support for those affected by HIV
- Herd Boys Education Programme – providing basic education to Herd Boys. This includes maths, literacy, learning to grow their own produce and HIV/AIDS knowledge and awareness. Sentebale supports five herd boy schools funding teachers, refurbishing properties, providing food and educational materials.
- Care for Vulnerable Children programme – Sentebale partners with 13 community led organisations across Lesotho providing education, care and support to some of the most disadvantaged children; those with disabilities and those who are orphans. Sentebale supports these organisations by providing funding, training and development support.
- School Bursaries – Sentebale offers bursaries for children to complete secondary school. These bursaries are comprehensive covering the hidden costs of education, such as clothing, food and educational resources.
- Letsema – A collaborative network connecting all the NGOs, grassroots organisations and community groups in Lesotho working with vulnerable children. Letsema is a communication and planning tool for groups enabling them to share information, tools and successes.
Background to Lesotho
Lesotho is a mountainous country, land-locked by South Africa. It has a land area of 30,300 square kilometers. Three quarters of the country is highland with a height more than 1,600m above sea level and a maximum height of 3,482m. There are mountain ranges in the east and running from north to south. In the centre of Lesotho the two largest rivers in Southern Africa, the Senqu and the Tugela have their source on a high plateau.
In the lowlands continuous cultivation and the use of manure for fuel has led to leaching of soil nutrients. Soil erosion is a serious issue in Lesotho due to increasing human and livestock population pressure and heavy rainfall. The country has also been affected by severe droughts. The climate is variable with temperatures commonly dropping below zero in the highlands and reaching highs of 32 degrees Celsius in the lowlands.
In recent years severe droughts followed by heavy rains have led to significant decreases in food production. The availability of the staple crop, maize, has dropped by 77% since 2011. This has led to severe food shortages.
A UN emergency appeal in 2012 indicated that a third of the population are affected by a food crisis. In addition levels of anemia and stunted growth in children under-5 are well above emergency international thresholds.
Sentebale maintains a small office in the UK. The chief executive is UK-based, but all other operational staff are based in Lesotho and Botswana.
Cathy Ferrier was appointed as Sentebale’s Chief Executive in March 2012. Before joining Sentebale, Cathy was Oxfam’s Fundraising Director, responsible for raising over £100m a year from individuals in the UK. Cathy spent more than 25 years in buying and marketing roles for leading retailers, including WHSmith, the Walt Disney Company and the Burton Group.
Sentebale's Trustees are:
- The Rt Hon Lynda Chalker, Baroness Chalker of Wallasey
- Mark Dyer
- Philip Green (ex-Chairman)
- Johnny Hornby (Chairman)
- Damian West
- Tim Boucher
- Dame Nicola Brewer
- Dr Tsitsi Chawatama
The charity's first accounts published in March 2008 showed that despite raising more than £1 million in the first 18 months of its operation, just £84,000 was handed over to projects in Lesotho. In the same period however, Sentebale spent £190,000 on salaries, £86,000 on a website, £26,000 on equipping its office in Maseru and £47,000 on work done before the charity was formally established. Sentebale's director in Lesotho, Harper Brown, had received a salary and benefits package worth between £90,000 and £100,000 per year.
In 2009 Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative Party deputy chairman, donated £250,000 to Sentebale to remedy financial difficulties at the charity. A new Chief Executive, Kedge Martin, joined in 2009. Before joining Sentebale Kedge Martin was the CEO of WellChild, a charity that provides care, support and research to long term, chronically sick children across the UK.
The 2010 report and accounts showed £2.089 million had been raised for the charity with £1.334 million being spent on charitable activities. This was an increase in funds raised by 16%. 72% of expenditure was spent directly on supporting orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho. 27% was spent on fundraising and 1% on governance.
- Charity Commission. Sentebale, registered charity no. 1113544.
- UNGASS, Lesotho. "Global Aids Response Country Progress Report" (PDF). UNGASS. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- "National Strategic Plan on Vulnerable Children April 2012 - March 2017". 2012.
- "Sentebale Website". Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- "Human Development Report 2011". UNDP. Archived from the original on 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- "Lesotho 2012 Facts and Figures" (PDF). World Food Programme. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- "Education (all levels) Profile Lesotho". UNESCO. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- "Lesotho Demographic and Health Survey 2009" (PDF). Lesotho Demographioc and Health Survey (2009). Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- "Sentebale Our Work". Archived from the original on 2012-07-06. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- "Lesotho Fact Sheet". Lesotho High Commission in London. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- IRIN. "Lesotho: Food Security goes from bad to worse". IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- UN News Centre. "UN seeks $38 million to respond to Lesotho's food crisis". United Nations. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- "Lesotho 2012 Facts and Figures" (PDF). World Health Organisation. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- "Sentebale - Who We Are".
- Sentebale. "Sentebale Our Team". Sentebale. Archived from the original on 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- Thomas, Glyn (1 March 2018). "Johnny Hornby appointed Sentebale Chairman". Sentebale.
- "Harry accused of wasting over $2m". Sydney Morning Herald. 2008-03-25. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
- Richard Eden (23 January 2010). "Boss of Prince Harry's charity resigns after just one year". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
- Tim Walker (31 December 2010). "Kedge Martin tightens her grip on Sentebale". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
- Sentebale. "Report and Accounts 2010 Sentebale" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-19.[permanent dead link]
- Metro.co.uk, Rebecca Lewis for (2016-11-30). "ITV is giving us a documentary about Prince Harry for Christmas this year". Metro. Retrieved 2016-12-29.