Total Population of Zambia: 12.9 million (Source: WHO 2009)
Percentage of population living below $1 a day: 63.8% (Source: WHO 2009)
Total Population Western Province: 881 000 (Source: WHO 2010)
Estimated number of adults and children living with HIV in Zambia(Source: WHO 2007): 1.1 million
Estimated number of orphans in Zambia (Source: WHO 2007): 600 000 (Rise from 390 000 in 2001)
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director, Susan Brems had said Zambia is one of the countries that has been hardest hit by the HIV epidemic. Speaking in Mongu recently during the commemoration to mark the opening of the New Start Centre in Western Province, Mr Kufuna said the 2007 D.H.S indicated the province had recorded an increase in new infections from 13 per cent in 2001 to 15.2% in 2007.
Net primary enrolment rate: 89%
Net secondary enrolment rate: 26%
Adult illiteracy rate: 32% of aged 15+
(Source: UNDP Human Development Report 2007-2008)
In the Western Province of Zambia, many children are denied the opportunity to gain an education. Often families living in rural areas cannot cover the basic costs of school uniforms, books or transport. HIV and AIDS has worsened the situation, and many children who have lost one or both of their parents are left with the responsibility of caring for their siblings.
Africa’s economy, before Europeans arrived was essentially a rural one. Fishing, hunting and agriculture were the means of survival and because numbers were small, these activities were viable. With the increase in community sizes and the lure of the cities, rural life has undergone fundamental changes. Most villages are dominated by women who now have to depend on their own ingenuity to generate cash to support their many children and very often their elders.
Adulthood comes at an early age to rural children, especially the girls. Few manage to start school before ten and only five years later they are considered adults with all the attendant responsibilities of marriage, child rearing and tending to crops. Only a small percentage of children finish primary school due to the high cost of uniforms, books and various school fees which parents must contribute. Usually a woman will have between 6 and 12 children (and every household has the burden of HIV/Aids orphans) and the cost of schooling for all of them is usually out of their reach. The desire to have many children still remains, even with the attendant hardships. The idea of long term insurance overwhelms the sacrifices.
But although life is hard in these remote villages, they are by no means unhappy. Pleasure is taken in simple things and problems are shared. Daily chores are done in groups and often become social occasions.