The Republic of Botswana is one of the most stable countries in Southern Africa. The discovery of diamonds brought relative prosperity to the country of two million people, and it has a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections.
However, it also faces challenges. Most notably, Botswana has been affected by HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, inequalities remain high in spite of Botswana’s impressive economic growth, leaving many people in the country poor and malnourished.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Botswana since 1986.
Botswana has the world’s third-highest HIV infection rate. According to UNICEF estimates, there are around 160,000 children without parental care living in Botswana: 120,000 of them have lost parental care due to AIDS.
When their parents become ill, children take on more responsibility within the family or even end up heading households. Child-headed households are very vulnerable – as the children have to fend for themselves, they often lack adequate schooling.
Despite Botswana’s astonishing economic growth in recent decades, inequality and poverty remain issues for some. 16 per cent of Botswana's population is poor, leading to limited access to food, shelter and other necessities. Access to decent sanitation facilities is generally good in urban areas, but this is not the case in some rural parts of the country.
Almost one in three children under the age of five is stunted, meaning that they do not receive enough healthy food to develop.
The main reason why children are not growing healthily is low birth weight.
Furthermore, many children do not get the complimentary food with breastfeeding at a recommended age.