Zambia is a peaceful country in the midst of many unstable bordering countries. Compared to many of its neighbours, Zambia has a reputation for a relatively efficient and transparent government. Zambia is the African continent’s biggest copper producer, and the economy has been dependent on this resource for decades. In the 1990s, the price of copper crashed due to a lack of investment. People flooded to the slums outside the cities and the number of people living in dire poverty quickly increased. Throughout the 2000s, the copper mines became privatised, and the economy is once again booming. However, the need for a diversified economy remains.
For the most vulnerable people living in the poorest communities, many basic essentials are scarce, and families have no choice but to resort to drastic means of survival. 41% of children are subject to child labour to help provide for their families. With less emphasis placed on education, girls become especially vulnerable. 42% are married by age 18 and 34% give birth by the same age. An alarming 61% of adolescent females (age 10-19) justify being beaten by their husbands.
Access to basic health care is also a serious crisis. 46% of children suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition. In the poorest communities, the local clinic is often further than 30 kilometres away. Zambia has the fourth highest rate of people living with HIV in the entire world. All eight of the countries Hands at Work serves in are within the 22 priority countries identified by UNAIDS, a United Nations program, in their Global Plan to focus on eliminating new HIV infections among children and keeping their mothers alive. However, only 9% of children in rural areas, and 28% in urban, are registered at birth, making tracking and providing access to any available services difficult.
For Hands at Work, the location of Zambia is a great advantage. In Zambia, international volunteers and African Leaders live together in a multi-cultural Christian community at Kachele Village. Here, many new key African leaders are being developed. Three other countries that Hands at Work serves border Zambia, enabling support to these more unstable and rural countries as a result of the relative stability in Zambia.
We envision the local church in Africa effectively caring for the dying, orphans and widows, and unified in this mission with the church outside Africa.
Orphaned children (age 0-17): 1,400,000
Children orphaned by HIV/AIDS: 600,000
Under 5 mortality rating (per 1000 live births): Female – 82 | Male - 93
Secondary School Attendance:
Female – 44% | Male – 47%
People living with HIV: 1,100,000
Life expectancy at birth: Female – 50 | Male – 49
Lifetime risk of maternal death: 1 in 59
Population below the international
poverty line: 75%
Country rating (out of 187) on the Human Development Index: 141
– Sources: UNAIDS, UNDESA 2014, UNICEF 2014