The Role of UNICEF in Zambia

Lusaka Travel Blog

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These girls wanted a photo so I could take it back to the states and get them a modeling job!

While the overall economic outlook in Zambia has been brightening, many Zambians have yet to share in the benefits: 64 per cent of the population lives on less than $1 a day. Government austerity measures have tamed inflation and introduced fiscal discipline, but these strategies have also hindered the delivery of social services. Zambia has been very hard hit by HIV/AIDS; the adult prevalence rate is over 16 per cent.  Zambia has one of the highest HIV rates in the world. Over 1 million Zambians carry the virus, and more than 150,000 Zambians between the ages of 15 and 24 are living with HIV.  Around the country, there is a massive, ongoing effort to educate Zambia's young people about HIV prevention and encourage them to avoid risky behavior.  The workshops I am involved with tackle some controversial topics that are often overlooked in a normal school day but are a still a part of daily life. The workshops encourage young Zambians to help effect change by staying in school, engaging in constructive activities and avoiding dangerous behavior. Our workshops are also coupled with clinics to give immunizations to children who would otherwise never receive a single inoculation.

Issues facing children in Zambia

  • As a result of mother-to-child transmission rate of HIV/AIDS, more than 30,000 children are born HIV-positive each year.
    Lydia, me, and our local volunteers
  • AIDS has left a generation of orphans in its wake: more than 20 per cent of Zambian children have lost one or both parents. Households with widows and orphans often lack the resources to cultivate sufficient food. Some 75,000 children live on the street.
  • Malaria is the leading killer of children.
  • About 50 per cent of children under age 5 are affected by under nutrition; anemia and vitamin A deficiency are widespread.
  • Zambia’s health-care system faces shortages of drugs, equipment and qualified personnel, especially in rural areas.
  • Only 36 per cent of the rural population has access to improved drinking water sources.
    We visited a few local Lusaka schools today...
  • Thanks to the elimination of tuition fees, primary-school enrolment rates have increased; the gender gap is less than 1 per cent. However, there is a severe teacher shortage, and many students do not master fundamental skills in language and mathematics.

Activities and results for children

  • A large influx of international aid has galvanized Zambia’s response to the AIDS epidemic. UNICEF has launched a major initiative to procure anti-retroviral drugs, along with supplies for rapid HIV testing. Programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission now exist in 110 health-care facilities.
  • Deaths from measles and malaria have declined significantly in recent years.
  • UNICEF sponsors biannual Child Health Weeks throughout Zambia, providing an integrated package of vitamin-A supplements, de-worming, and immunizations.
  • UNICEF formed a coalition to fight domestic violence and abuse, coordinating a major media campaign and enlisting the involvement of Zambia’s president and first lady.
  • UNICEF supported a feeding program in 61 schools. The ‘Go Girls’ outreach campaign focused on improving girls’ access to education.
  • Life-skills curriculum is raising awareness among young people about HIV and malaria prevention.
  • The introduction of an effective reading comprehension program in primary schools has improved literacy. UNICEF has trained 4,000 teachers and provided learning materials to expand this curriculum to community schools serving disadvantaged children.
UNICEF assisted in building and rehabilitating hundreds of wells, latrines, and hand-washing facilities, bringing clean water and sanitation to thousands of families and hundreds of schools.
RuttiTootie says:
What a wonderful way to give back to the world! You're an inspiration!
Posted on: Jul 21, 2009
_Leeta_ says:
good karma will come your way, james!
Posted on: Jun 30, 2009
Lord_Mike says:
You are doing God's work...keep up the fantastic work!
Posted on: Jun 06, 2009
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These girls wanted a photo so I co…
These girls wanted a photo so I c…
Lydia, me, and our local volunteers
Lydia, me, and our local volunteers
We visited a few local Lusaka scho…
We visited a few local Lusaka sch…
photo by: pearcetoyou