Livingstone is in Zambia’s Southern Province and near the borders with Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. It has a population of over 136,000, and its proximity to Victoria Falls makes it a popular tourist destination.
The region is often affected by severe drought, which leads to food shortages. Most recently, in 2019 there was widespread crop failure. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant there is extra need for support, especially for vulnerable children who are at risk of losing, or have already lost the care of their parents.
Since 2008, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Livingstone.
Around 66% of people living in the Southern Province, where Livingston is located, are poor.
While the city of Livingstone does better due to tourism, many of the poor families live in rural areas of the province. They survive off farming, which is dependent on the climate and livelihoods can be destroyed through crisis like droughts or flooding.
Efforts are already underway to empower families to learn new skills and find more stable ways to make a living, but these need to be further strengthened in the future to support families and children in the long-term.
Zambia’s Southern Province, where Livingstone is located, has one of the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. This affects thousands of families where adults cannot make a living and children’s needs cannot be met.
In many cases, children will have to drop out of school and find ways of getting food and other necessities for the family. Girls are more likely to drop out of school than boys. The government is working hard to ensure that girls can stay in school to receive training and broaden their chances in life.