The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa and home to around 19 million people. The population is growing rapidly, and although birth rates are falling, Zambia's birth rate is one of the highest in the world - women have an average of 4.6 children.
Despite recent progress, Zambia is still one of the poorest countries in Africa. In addition, inequality between rich and poor and between urban and rural areas is increasing.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Zambia since 1996.
About 44% of Zambians live in poverty. This means that children are very likely to be malnourished, to drop out of school early and to live in houses without clean drinking water, sanitation or electricity.
Families living in rural areas are more likely to be poor. Most of them have to live off the food they grow themselves.
Overall, the number of children attending primary school has increased in recent years. Today, 74% of all children in Zambia complete primary school. However, only 43% attend secondary school. This is due to the high costs and the fact that children have to work for the family to contribute to the family income. According to UNICEF, 23% of children are involved in child labour.
In some ways, the health of Zambian children is improving. The infant mortality rate is steadily decreasing. However, there is a greater need for antenatal care and postnatal care.
Malnutrition is often the cause of many child health problems and deaths. Many diseases could be prevented or are treatable if families could afford it.