Guinea is a small
country located on Africa's west coast and is rich in natural resources,
including some of the largest deposits of iron ore in the world. The country
also has an abundance of agricultural resources, which, if handled effectively,
could provide the nation with a rich source of funding and strengthen its
economy. However, political unrest and a lack of continued investment in the
country's infrastructure have meant these valuable commodities have gone largely
undeveloped. As a result, nearly half of Guinea's families live below the
poverty line, and without help, there seems to be little hope of change.
For years, Guinea has tried to harness its
resources effectively, and communities across the country have struggled for
generations. The social causes of poverty in Guinea are complex, and many
families face the same challenges as those living in the world's poorest
countries, including underdeveloped infrastructure, lack of access to adequate
sanitation and clean water, food scarcity and income inequality. For many
Guinean children, health care and education remain out of reach. According to
percent of children born between 2006 and 2010 were underweight at birth,
while 21 percent of children under 5 years of age were moderately or severely
underweight during this period.
Despite ongoing international aid initiatives,
there is much to be done before conditions in Guinea improve. Less than 20
percent of the country's population had access to improved sources of drinking
water in 2008, and only 11 percent of children and families living in rural
areas had access to better sanitation facilities, according to UNICEF.
Serious diseases also pose a significant threat
to Guinean children and their families. Approximately 59,000 children were
orphaned in Guinea by HIV and AIDS-related deaths in 2009 alone, and malaria
remains a serious problem, especially in poorer communities in rural areas. This
disease, which can be treated with relatively inexpensive medications, can also
be prevented by the use of chemically
treated mosquito nets, but only 8 percent of Guinean households owned one of
these nets between 2006 and 2010.
To improve the lives of children in Guinea, it is
vital that care, support and education are provided at an early age. ChildFund has
worked in Guinea since 2005, and one of the most important initiatives we
have undertaken during our time in the country is the introduction of early
childhood development (ECD) centers. Since a large percentage of Guinea's
children are not enrolled in a formal school program, without these centers,
many children would lack the foundation they need to progress into academic
programs later in life.
To date, more than 3,340 children have benefited
from our ECD centers. In addition, our community empowerment programs have
helped more than 530 households better understand how to care for children and
provide them with the support they need to lead healthy, productive and
On a broader scale, ChildFund has also provided
training and health care education to communities affected by HIV and AIDS. By
helping community volunteers understand effective treatment options and how to
help patients cope with the rigors of living with HIV, many people's lives have
been positively affected.
ChildFund is committed to helping children and
their families emerge from poverty and work toward a brighter future, but our
work would not be as effective without the generous support of our donors and
partners. To make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children, please
consider making a donation to our Essentials
for Survival fund. You can help us provide a family with clean water,
healthy food and basic medical care.