Despite showing strong signs of economic growth in the past decade, Zambia is still mired in poverty. Approximately 70 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and this has a significant effect on families' access to basic health care, food and education. ChildFund has worked in Zambia since 1983 and continues to work in several key areas, including education.
Zambia has outpaced many other African nations in terms of economic growth, even recently during worldwide slowdowns. According to the World Bank, substantial gains have been made in the manufacturing, agricultural and mining industries, but much of the country's population still lives well below the poverty line because of economic disparities caused by location of birth.
Many parts of Zambia, particularly rural areas, have experienced little improvement in access to education and health care services. Almost half of the households in non-urbanized regions are affected by chronic malnutrition due to food scarcity, and the effects of public spending reductions on education that took place in the 1990s are still being felt today.
In Zambia, the first nine years of a child's education are subsidized by the state. As such, early school enrollment is high in many regions. However, families must pay tuition if they want their children to continue their schooling beyond this period. For families struggling to make ends meet, this is simply not possible.
Improving access to education is one of ChildFund's top priorities in Zambia. To reach this goal, we have implemented a number of initiatives at high schools across the country. Using the Children Learning Actively in Supportive Environments (CLASSE) model, we have provided educational facilities with books, chairs and desks.
We have also built mobile classrooms to accommodate students who may not have been able to attend school due to physical distance or other barriers. Through these projects, we have increased the number of children receiving an education in many parts of Zambia, and we are working to expand these initiatives so more children have the chance to learn.
Without the generosity of our supporters, we could not help as many families in countries like Zambia. Sponsoring a child can help provide the support he or she needs to continue to high school and beyond.