In Zambia we currently support some 160,700 children and young people in 11 projects. We have worked in this sub-Saharan country since 1998. Our projects are primarily located in the Central, Southern, and Eastern provinces and are run by local partners.


Little chance of a long life

Zambia’s life expectancy is lower than in almost any other country in the world. The country's leading problems include the spread of HIV/AIDS and rampant unemployment. As a result, roughly one million children have to contribute to family incomes. Many children don't attend school and suffer from malnourishment and preventable diseases.

Our projects focus on educating people about HIV and combating poverty. In close collaboration with our partners, we have created a standardised and effective system to protect children.

The challenges

A boy has spreaded second-hand clothes on the ground and two people look at his goods. (Source: Ralf Krämer)
One million children in Zambia have to work - Jonathan (r.) sells second-hand clothes. 

Despite a change of government with the 2011 election of President Michael Sata, popularly known as “King Cobra” for his anti-Chinese rhetoric, Zambia remains a stable country. Nevertheless, an increasing and disproportionate amount of the state budget is spent on government administrative expenditures. In spite of the country’s rich natural resources, Zambia's dependence on the global price of copper and foreign investments is impeding its economic upswing. The agricultural production is plagued by floods and droughts. Consequently, the country continues to have an extremely high rate of poverty. Two-thirds of the population live below the poverty line.

Although Zambia signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, (sexual) violence, child labour, and early marriage are appalling aspects of everyday life for many children. The educational system urgently requires reform and expansion. Even among those children who are sent to school, the vast majority do not complete primary school. The quality of instruction is usually poor and not in-demand. Teachers’ salaries are extremely low. Instead of regular schools, many towns and villages have community-based schools in which volunteers usually teach the children in exchange for food.

Zambia ranks among the countries with the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in the world. There are already 0.7 million children who have been orphaned by the disease.

  • Our work in the country

    We champion the rights of children who suffer from exploitation, violence, and abuse. Working hand-in-hand with our partners, we are creating in our projects a standardised and effective system to protect children. We support projects against child labour and promote rehabilitation programmes for children with special needs. The radio plays an important role in giving schools, girls and boys in remote areas information on sustainable agriculture.

    Our highly successful self-help groups enable women to work collectively on their problems, save money, take out loans, and lift their families out of poverty. Our main goals in the area of healthcare are to improve sanitary conditions, combat HIV/AIDS, and provide malaria prophylaxis.

    Our partners have established a network so that their voices carry more weight when it comes to decisions of nationwide importance, for example, concerning expenditures for the education system and raising the minimum age of marriage for girls.

  • Key figures on Zambia

    • 14.6 million people live in Zambia
    • 46 % of all Zambians are under the age of 15
    • The average life expectancy in Zambia is 52 years (ranking 217 out of 224 countries)
    • 13 % of the population becomes infected with HIV every year (7th place worldwide)
    • 1.4 million children are orphans, 0.7 million of them because of AIDS*
    • 61 % of the population lives below the poverty line
    • 37 % of all Zambians aged 15 and over are illiterate
    • 1 million children have to work (41 %)

    Sources: World Factbook, United Nations*

Zambia: Radio schools

Zambia: Radio schools

In the rural community of Chikuni we run radio schools for children with our local partner. Since girls and boys there have no opportunity to attend a regular school, the school children in the surrounding villages are taught via radio.

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Who we are

Who we are

Kindernothilfe is a Non-Governmental Organisation founded in Germany in 1959. We partner with local non-governmental organisations in 33 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe to realize and protect children's rights.

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How we work

How we work

Learn more about how we realize children’s rights.

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