Zambian Towns
To improve the state of the network in Zambia, back in November 2022, Paratus Zambia and Meta announced the building of a 900 km open-access metro fiber network in 10 Zambian towns. That will allow people in underserved communities to get access to a high-quality internet connection.

About Paratus

The Paratus Group is a multinational provider of a wide-ranging and independent African network, which includes Paratus Zambia. Paratus Zambia is the top provider of corporate internet, MPLS, cloud and satellite services in the area. One of the group’s goals is to transform Africa through first-rate digital infrastructure and customer support.

The operational staff of Paratus is based in seven African countries – Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. The company’s expanded network offers a satellite connectivity-focused service in 37 African countries. It provides top-quality service while connecting African enterprises across the continent. The group also has an international presence in Europe, the U.K. and the U.S.

Paratus’s Successes in Zambia

Paratus Zambia has invested in cutting-edge technologies to deliver steady, dependable and fast internet connection with reduced latencies and direct peering with the largest international internet service providers. It offers connectivity to hundreds of Zambian enterprises across many different industry sectors, through its own vast fiber and microwave network. With the help of its expanded network, 4,000 terminals in more than 35 countries in central and west Africa may access the internet.

Because high-speed internet connection is significant for businesses Paratus Zambia uses its own fiber to provide the fastest internet connection to Zambians in Zambian towns. Also, Paratus Zambia integrated auto-failover from fiber to wireless if the client’s primary connection fails, that way the client gets an extra layer of resilience, which ensures that the business can still keep running.

Paratus delivers tailor-made Cloud Solutions. The help of Cloud Solutions can keep company data safe and accessible. In addition to that Paratus offers public, private and hybrid Cloud Solutions with guaranteed accessibility based on solid data centers and communication infrastructure. Paratus also removed high upfront expenses and allowed technology costs to change as the business grows, that way companies can avoid financial risks.

What Paratus and Meta are Doing for Zambia

Paratus Zambia with the help of Meta will build and operate the network to offer wholesale services to mobile network operators and internet service providers. As a result, locals will get around 500 new jobs, more affordable services and better coverage. The network will also connect to Lusaka’s Paratus carrier-neutral data center, where Paratus can provide direct, high-quality access to nearby enterprises, IT News Africa reports.

All of it will be crucial to the economy of Zambia and contribute to giving millions of people and hundreds of enterprises access to the internet through a fiber network that is faster and more secure. That is not all Paratus Zambia is also working on a separate project to connect Zambia’s metro networks to numerous towns and cities. According to IT News Africa, towns where the metro fiber will be available at the end of 2023: Kitwe, Ndola, Livingstone, Chingola, Chililabombwe, Solwezi, Chambishi, Kabwe, Luanshya and Mufulira.

A good internet connection is essential not only for entertainment reasons but also for businesses and people who work remotely. More people have access to it – more people have jobs and money which helps reduce poverty globally as well as in Zambian towns.

– Elizaveta Medvedkina
Photo: Flickr

Human Trafficking in Zambia
In 2017, the International Labour Organization (ILO) published The Global Estimates of Modern Slavery, approximating that 24.9 million individuals are victims of human trafficking around the world. This prediction includes 20.1 million labor trafficking victims and 4.8 million sex trafficking victims. Globally, the ILO estimates 99% of victims to be women and girls. The World Population Review states, “Child trafficking is very common in Africa…where approximately 100% of all human trafficking victims are children.”

Causes and Effects of Human Trafficking

As mentioned, human trafficking is mainly an issue in developing countries, rather than developed countries. This is mainly due to the various political, social and economic differences between the two groups. Included are various causes and effects of human trafficking, all of which inhibit a developing country’s ability to overcome human trafficking.

Causes:

  • Poverty: Poverty offers a vulnerable position for families, thus becoming the target of traffickers. This factor is often due to the poor condition of a country’s economy and/or social inequality.
  • Unemployment: Traffickers often use the desperation of the unemployed to persuade them to leave their country. Traffickers use these unknowing individuals to manipulate them into forms of forced labor and sexual exploitation, as victims get threats with potential reports to an immigration officer.
  • Displacement: War, political instability and natural disasters force victims into vulnerable positions, thus allowing traffickers to easily prey on individuals and embed them into human trafficking.

Effects:

  • Mental Trauma: Victims often face dehumanization and objectification, thus leaving them in a state of mental degradation. Victims often experience post-traumatic stress, anxiety, fear, guilt and shame. These mental conditions can lead to suicide and abuse, forever inhibiting the victim to become economically independent.
  • Physical Trauma: Many victims experience physical abuse in the trafficking process. Individuals often face rape, beating and subjecting to other abuses over an extended period of time. Sexual exploitation, a common form of human trafficking, also leads to the increased transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. These physical injuries can lead to an inability to work and death.
  • Ostracism: Victims of human trafficking often experience social isolation from friends and family due to personal feelings and cultural beliefs. In the case of Africa, loved ones often blame or shun victims of human trafficking.

Human Trafficking in Zambia

Despite the Government of Zambia’s inability to fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, the U.S. State Department ranks Zambia on the Tier 2 Watch List, as it is making tremendous efforts to do so.

The most vulnerable population to human trafficking in Zambia is mainly women and children. A poor economy and low social status encourage traffickers to use women and young girls for sexual exploitation, while they often use young boys for forced labor in agriculture, textile production, mining and other profit-inducing businesses.

Due to the high rate of migration within Africa, traffickers are also prone to exploiting immigrants desperate to cross borders into another region. The U.S. State Department reports, “Traffickers exploit women and children from neighboring countries in forced labor and sex trafficking in Zambia, including transiting migrants whose intended destination is South Africa. In recent years, traffickers lure Rwandan women to Zambia with promises of refugee status, coerce them into registering as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) nationals seeking refugee status in Zambia, and subsequently exploit them in sex trafficking and threaten them with physical abuse and reporting them to immigration officials for fraudulent refugee claims.”

Efforts to End Human Trafficking in Zambia

The U.S. State Department applauds the Zambian Government for its efforts to end the practice of human trafficking, as it states, “The government…[has] launched various awareness campaigns via billboards, radio shows, text alerts and pamphlets in rural and border areas to educate local communities on human trafficking.”

Additionally, on December 19, 2019, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) partnered with the Zambia Law Development Commission (ZLDC) to validate the Anti-Human Trafficking Act No.11 of 2008. The review was associated with revamping the 2002 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Palermo Protocol).

The Road Ahead

Reducing human trafficking in Zambia is a daunting task. Despite this, the Zambian government has made significant efforts to improve. By raising awareness and developing plans to advance socially and economically, the prevalence of human trafficking in Zambia can reduce.

– Sania Patel
Photo: Unsplash

Period Poverty in Zambia
The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked nation located in Southern Africa. More than 60% of the population lives below the poverty line, with 40% living in extreme poverty. This makes it very difficult to afford basic health necessities such as menstruation products. Here is everything to know about period poverty in Zambia.

Period Poverty

Period poverty is defined by the lack of access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, waste management and education. Limited access to safe, high-quality menstruation products is an issue that many people who menstruate and are living below the poverty line face around the world. Users must often purchase period supplies in bulk or frequently which can lead to users being economically vulnerable and unable to afford other necessities. This leads to choices that no menstruating person should have to make on whether they can afford to purchase period products or if they will have to forgo them for another essential item.

A Human Rights Issue

Globally, people lack access to education, resources and facilities to manage their periods safely and with decency. Oftentimes, this can cause people who menstruate to miss work or school which can have long-lasting educational and economic consequences down the line. Period poverty is an issue of human rights. Human rights are rights that every human being has an entitlement to by virtue of their dignity. With this, menstruation is inherently related to human dignity. When people cannot access safe and effective means for managing their menstruation, they are not able to menstruate with dignity. As a result, period poverty is a violation of the human rights of those who menstruate.

Period Poverty in Zambia

Period poverty in Zambia has become an increasing issue that too many across the nation have felt. Unhygienic menstrual materials can cause major health issues and often schools, especially in rural Zambia lack adequate facilities for one to practice menstrual hygiene. As a result of this, many have to manage their menstruation in unsanitary ways. In some instances, people have even reported sitting on sand piles during their menses.

Period poverty in Zambia, however, goes beyond just health but also can have negative consequences on one’s education, gender equality and productivity. If a student misses enough days of school as a result of their period, this can lead to them falling behind and potentially dropping out. An Educational Statistical Bulletin found that the percentage of girls between grades one to nine that dropped out was an estimated 2.7%, whereas boys in those grades made up 1.88%. This gap has an association with ineffective menstrual management and the stigma people who menstruate face surrounding menstruation. It also shows the potential for increasing gender inequality as boys are staying in school longer. As a result, they will have access to more education and economic opportunities in the future. Reusable pads, although a potential solution to frequently purchasing menstrual hygiene products are often not affordable to those who need them most.

Some Good News

In recent years, there has been an increase in nonprofit organizations, such as the African Education Program, that are working to provide people who menstruate with resources and period products. The African Education Program was born out of a highschool cafeteria in 2002 in the United States and since its founding has had a strong focus on menstrual health. Today, more than 700 children in Zambia take advantage of their programs and they have created the Amos Youth Center in Kafue, Zambia. The purpose of this Center is to provide a safe, creative educational space for students.

One campaign from the African Education Program called “Reuse, Rise, Rejoice,” is working to ensure that all people who experience periods have access to hygiene products. It raised money to provide 200 girls in Zambia with an individual at-home menstrual health visit, a pack of five reusable pads, and a menstrual cup in 2020. The Program continues today to raise money to provide girls in Zambia with these menstrual resources.

The Zambian Government has also stepped in to help combat the issue of period poverty in Zambia. In 2016, the government pledged to allocate more funds to ensure that menstruation does not limit Zambians’ ability to go to school. However, external sources are still vital in helping end period poverty in Zambia.

While much progress is still necessary to achieve a full and equitable end to period poverty in Zambia, groups like the African Education Program offer hope for the future. A future in which the right to menstruate is a universally recognized human right and all those who menstruate can do so with dignity.

– Emma Cook
Photo: Flickr

Kazungula Bridge
According to the World Bank, 58% of the Zambian population lives in extreme poverty, and 13% are unemployed. Although it is one of the poorest countries in the world, Zambia has an abundance of natural resources. However, it is landlocked. Its neighboring country Botswana, on the other hand, has a significantly lower percentage of poverty, around 20% of the population. A large part of its economy depends solely on diamonds which makes the country vulnerable to external economic factors. Both Zambia and Botswana would greatly benefit from increased trade to fuel economic growth and tackle poverty. However, the completion of the Kazungula Bridge will transform trade and boost economic growth.

The Zambezi River

The Zambezi river separates Zambia and Botswana. More specifically, this flow of water joins five countries together: Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Separated only by the river, this geographical point forms one of Africa’s most important trade triangles. The area is vitally important to expanding the local markets of the countries involved. Before, the only way to cross the river was to load trucks onto a pontoon and wait for good weather. Now, according to African Business, the completion of the Kazungula Bridge will become “a key driver for the progress and sustainable economic growth of the African continent.”

Life Before the Kazungula Bridge

Before the building of the Kazungula Bridge, crossing between Zambia and Botswana was difficult and time-consuming. According to CNN, the river was a major obstacle to trucks and traders “from Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Durban, South Africa…” Vehicles would load up two by two into pontoons just to be hindered by strong currents and heavy rains. What was physically a 10-15 minute journey would take up to 15 days when waiting for the right weather conditions.

Furthermore, going through customs was a complicated process, especially with all the different countries involved at this major trading point. According to African Business, “traders and transporters along Southern Africa’s North-South Corridor have long been dogged by decrepit infrastructure, border delays and traffic jams, heightening both the cost and time of trade.”

Looking into the Future

Now, with the Kazungula Bridge in place, the passage has become much easier. The bridge is dramatically reducing congestion, lowering the cost of business and boosting trade not only between Zambia and Botswana but also around the world. According to CNN, copper from the DRC, Zambia and Tanzania pass through before heading toward China. Food from South Africa and mining equipment from Tanzania pass through before going to the rest of Africa.

Carlos Lopez, an economist and professor at the University of Cape Town, believes the Kazungula Bridge will spark trade and tourism. “We are talking about the confluence of Victoria Falls, Chobe, and Zambia’s most famous national parks… The potential to boost that type of eco-tourist offer is enormous…” With the level of poverty in Zambia and other neighboring countries, the completion of the Kazungula will hopefully be a boost to the economy. As truck driver Memory Lambie says, crossing into Zambia used to take two weeks with 10km long queues. “Now, it’s easy,” she says, “The bridge is 100% perfect to us.”

 – Emilie Zhang
Photo: Flickr

Sickle Cell Disease in Zambia
Sickle cell disease is most common globally in sub-Saharan Africa. Up to 45% of sub-Saharan Africans are carriers of the disorder. Sickle cell disease appears to have evolved as an adaptation against malaria, which is why it would be so prevalent in these African countries. For example, Zambia is one of the 20 countries in the world with the highest malaria incidence and mortality. About 2% of the world’s sickle cell disease cases occur in Zambia, and about 5% of cases in eastern and southern Africa occur in the country.

Alarmingly, after significant progress in controlling the disease in the 2010s, sickle cell in Zambia started to escalate in 2020. In fact, during the first half of 2020, sickle cell cases, test positivity and mortality increased from 30% to 50% between 2018 and 2019. That is why as of 2021, the Zambian Ministry of Health recognizes sickle cell disease as a public health crisis. Specifically, 20% to 25% of the Zambian population is a carrier and 1% to 2% of children born in Zambia have the disease. That is why early screening programs are so important in fighting sickle cell disease in Zambia.

Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease is actually a group of conditions that cause misshapen red blood cells called “sickle cells.” Most red blood cells look like discs, but sickle cell patients have red blood cells that look like sickles or crescents. Sickle cells tend to stick together and obstruct the movement of blood, which makes sickle cell patients more vulnerable to infection. Also, sickle cells are more easily breakable than non-diseased red blood cells. This can lead to patients not having enough blood cells, a condition known as anemia.

Patients with sickle cell disease experience pain when the blood cells clog blood vessels. This pain may last a short time or for hours. Also, their anemia makes them often feel tired. Although it is not clearcut what triggers a sickle cell crisis, being overly cold or overly stressed seems to provoke incidents. Finally, other illnesses and dehydration trigger sickle cell crises.

Treatment for Sickle Cell Disease

Luckily, there are drugs that treat sickle cell disease. To prevent pulmonary infections, to which sickle cell disease patients are more prone, health professionals commonly prescribe penicillin. They also suggest that all sickle cell patients stay fully vaccinated. To prevent anemia, patients take folic acid to help the body manufacture new red blood cells. Additionally, medical professionals frequently prescribe the medication hydroxyurea to decrease the stickiness of red cells and adverse effects of the disease. If an infection or anemia still occurs, patients may need hospitalization. There, they receive more intensive medicine, including blood transfusions. Bone marrow transplants can cure sickle cell disease by replacing the diseased blood with healthy blood from a donor. However, not everyone is a candidate for a bone marrow transplant, and the procedure has a lot of risks.

Newborn diagnosis, careful monitoring and access to care results in survival to adulthood in 96% of cases of sickle cell disease. That is why all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the United States mandate sickle cell screening. European countries also have robust screening programs. However, in Africa, where newborn screening is sparse, up to 80% of children born with the disease die before they turn 5 years old. Zambia is working assiduously to improve its sickle cell screening and launched its newborn screening program in April 2021.

Zambia Launches Screening Program

Zambia’s Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Newborn Screening (NBS) program focuses on early therapeutic intervention and builds on the country’s framework for early vaccination and HIV screening. The program hopes to annually screen 10,000 newborns and develop an electronic database of patient demographics, medical history and laboratory records. Initially, the program will screen at three sites in northwest Zambia.  The screening program involves taking a blood test sample from infants at different hospitals and sending the sample to its Tropical Diseases Research Center.

Additionally, through the Consortium of Newborn Screening in Africa (CONSA), scientists can use newborn screening data on the disease in the future so they can map out the disease in Zambia and across Africa to inform treatment and prevention. Dr. Jonas Kamina Chanda, the Zambian minister of health, claims that the new screening “marks an important milestone in the health sector, as well as those living or caring for someone with sickle cell disease.” Hopefully, Zambia will serve as a model for other African countries that do not currently screen to offer such a critical service to their citizens as well.

– Mikaela Marinis
Photo: Pixnio

Renewable Energy in Zambia
Zambia has enjoyed significant economic growth in the past few decades. With prosperity, Zambia’s demand for electricity has increased. However, the current energy supply has struggled to meet this demand. Zambia relies on hydroelectric power for more than 85% of its electricity and frequent droughts prevent these plants from operating at full capacity. Further, the average nationwide rate of access to electricity is 30%. Worse yet, only 5% of the rural population has electricity access. The Zambian government has set a target of 50% electricity access across the nation by 2030. As electricity demands continue to grow, the expansion of renewable energy in Zambia is critical for the country’s social and economic development.

Capacity Building for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project

To aid in the sustainable development of Zambia’s energy resources, renewable energy projects are underway. One such initiative is the European Union (EU)-funded Capacity Building for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency project. The project is a collaboration between the EU and the Zambian government to provide technical assistance to the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) of Zambia. The project’s assistance will help fund the REA’s development of energy infrastructure. The project began in 2017 and should have reached completion in 2021.

Specifically, the Capacity Building for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency project is striving to establish a collection of solar-powered mini-grids to provide electricity to rural Zambian communities. Mini-grids are small electricity generators interconnected to an energy distribution network. These are useful in Zambia because the grids do not require the construction of long stretches of electrical lines. The mini-grids will provide electricity to an estimated 10,000 people living in rural communities in Zambia.

Shiwang’andu Small Hydropower Plant

Another initiative to develop renewable energy in Zambia is the Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development in Zambia project. Created by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme, this initiative seeks to bring readily available and local renewable energy sources. One of the initiative’s projects is the construction of the Shiwang’andu Small Hydropower Plant, which the Zambian government commissioned in 2012. The Shiwang’andu plant supplies a solar mini-grid that will provide electricity to more than 25,000 people in the Mpanta region.

Hydropower plants generate power using the energy that the flow of water creates. This energy generation requires the water to flow across an elevation difference, from a higher point to a lower point. Usually, dams are built in running bodies of water, such as rivers, to construct this elevation difference.

Because constructing hydropower plants involves building dams in bodies of water, the developers of the Shiwang’andu plant had to consider the plant’s impact on wildlife. Developers installed a second dam during construction to divert water, which maintained normal downstream water flow. They also included a 1.5-meter gate within the dam to help fish, crabs, shrimp and other migrating animals.

Renewable Energy Key to Expand Sustainable Access to Electricity

As Zambia continues to see economic growth, and as it aims to provide electricity access to a greater percentage of its population, the nation’s energy demands will continue to increase. The development of renewable energy in Zambia is an efficient and eco-friendly way to expand the country’s energy resources, which should provide sustainable access to electricity for more Zambians in the years to come.

– Aimée Eicher
Photo: Flickr

Developing Solar Power in Zambia
Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa that receives between “2,000 to 3,000 hours of sunshine per year.” The country benefits greatly from its location along the Zambezi and Kafue Rivers and has become highly dependent on hydropower, with hydroelectric dams providing more than 85% of its total energy in 2021. Unfortunately, recent droughts have led to prolonged blackouts and an increase in energy poverty across the country. To help combat this issue, the government is investing in a new source of renewable energy: solar power. Solar power in Zambia has the potential to transform the country’s economy along with the lives of citizens.

Energy Poverty in Zambia

The U.N. defines energy poverty as a lack of “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.” According to USAID, approximately 69% of Zambia’s 17.35 million citizens suffer from energy poverty. Energy poverty is an even larger issue for people living in rural areas — USAID estimates that 96% of rural citizens do not have access to electricity in 2021.

Energy poverty has significant negative impacts on individual homes, affecting education, health and even political participation. However, widespread energy poverty also affects the economy as a whole as it is nearly impossible for businesses to operate without power. Furthermore, a lack of power in the home presents a barrier for remote work and remote education. Implementing solar power in Zambia could be the solution.

When droughts began to cause extensive blackouts, ZESCO, the leading state-owned power company in Zambia, had “to raise tariffs by as much as 200%” in 2019 to afford the cost of importing power from South Africa. While this short-term solution prevented total economic collapse, the Zambian government quickly came to the realization that a more reliable source of renewable energy is necessary. The development of solar power in Zambia has the potential to sustainably lift millions out of energy poverty, improving the lives of individual citizens and jumpstarting Zambia’s economy as a whole.

The Transition From Hydropower

The Kariba Dam is one of Zambia’s largest hydroelectric constructions. When droughts hit in 2019, water levels at the dam “plunged to their lowest level since 1996,” causing nationwide blackouts. This prompted the development of solar power in Zambia as sunlight in Africa is a much more dependable source of energy than water. Furthermore, while the energy from large-scale hydroelectric dams is very centralized, smaller solar power grids can serve as decentralized sources, allowing for power to reach isolated rural communities.

In March 2019, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu introduced the Bangweulu Scaling Solar Plant to Zambia, a 54-megawatt power plant projected to lift 30,000 private homes and “several businesses” out of energy poverty. Following the inflated energy tariffs that power outages caused in 2019, the Scaling Solar Program was able to lower tariffs to $0.06 cents per kilowatt-hour, a much more affordable price for Zambians suffering from energy poverty.

By 2030, the government of Zambia hopes to increase its electricity generation to 6,000 megawatts. A single 54-megawatt solar power plant saves Zambia nearly $140 million in capital over 25 years, serving as a game-changer for the country’s economy. The expansion of solar power in Zambia will alleviate pressure on local water sources and allow for the rejuvenation of hydroelectric power plants. The Scaling Solar Program’s innovative projects put Zambia in an optimal position to capitalize on solar technology and improve the well-being of all citizens.

Looking Ahead

The continued development of solar power in Zambia is a pivotal way for the country to address energy poverty, especially in rural areas. Not only will this innovation revitalize Zambia’s economy but it will also improve health and education on an individual level. Overall, Zambia is in a prime position to reduce poverty and enhance the quality of life for all citizens through the power of the sun.

– Hannah Gage
Photo: Flickr


In the year 2011, Zambia moved up in income status with a reclassification from a low-income country to a middle-income country. The reclassification stems from improvements in Zambia’s economic and social structures. Zambia has made strides in the education realm in particular, with high primary school education completion rates. However, due to geographical barriers and higher rates of poverty, access to education in rural Zambia does not see the same equality as other parts of the country. Acknowledging the role of education in poverty reduction, it is imperative to improve access to education in rural Zambia.

School Completion in Zambia

A point of pride for Zambia is its national primary school completion rate, which stands at 91.8%. However, when comparing the national primary school completion rate with semi-urban or rural regions, regional discrepancies become apparent. In Zambia’s northern region, comprising mostly of rural areas, this rate stands at 81.3%, indicating clear geographic disparities in completion rates.

Despite high national primary school completion rates, just 67% of students go on to attend high school. Barriers to high school attendance include a lack of secondary schools “to accommodate all primary school graduates.” Additionally, school fees are necessary from eighth grade upward, which many impoverished families cannot afford.

Poverty and Access to Education in Rural Zambia

For students living in rural areas, the long distance to educational establishments presents an additional barrier. In fact, rural Zambia faces the most obstacles in keeping children in school because there are few schools, often far from students’ homes. Most rural Zambians cannot afford the costs of transportation to schools because rural areas face a higher rate of poverty.

Furthermore, impoverished families struggle to afford the costs of school fees. According to the World Bank, the poverty rate in rural Zambia stood at 76.7% in 2015 while the urban rate stood at 23.4%. The World Bank also estimates that about 75% of Zambia’s impoverished reside in rural regions.

This has far-reaching impacts. Children who do not go to school often end up in child labor in order to contribute to household income. Furthermore, parents marry off their young girls to ease the economic burden on the family. Access to education in rural Zambia will lower both child labor and child marriage rates while providing a pathway out of poverty.

In order to improve access to education in rural Zambia, the most significant barrier to education, poverty, must stand as a priority in aid efforts. In order to keep more children in school in Zambia, geographical location and financial means must not stand as barriers to education.

CAMFED Zambia Takes Action

CAMFED Zambia began in 2011, initially working in Zambia’s rural areas, such as the northern region. In particular, girls in rural areas face a higher rate of exclusion from education. Thus, CAMFED Zambia “empowers the most marginalized girls in rural Zambia to attain a full secondary school education.” With CAMFED’s efforts, the female students it supports “achieve a completion rate of 96% and a progression rate of 98%.”

CAMFED also supports the education of other marginalized children. Since its beginnings, CAMFED Zambia has helped more than 400,000 children obtain primary and secondary education through donor support. “CAMFED provides holistic support” in the form of “school or exam fees, uniforms, sanitary wear, books, pens, bikes, boarding fees or disability aids” to ensure children remain in school.

Efforts to improve access to education in rural Zambia ensure that children gain the knowledge and skills to rise out of poverty. With an education, these children are able to secure higher-paying, skilled jobs, enabling them to contribute to growing Zambia’s economy overall.

– Hariana Sethi
Photo: Flickr

how-small-town-rotary-clubs-fight-global-poverty
The rotary sign is a common sight alongside the parks and roads that rotary clubs maintain. However, what many people may not realize is that even the smallest rotary clubs are part of an international organization that unites 1.2 million Rotarians across 35,000 clubs worldwide. These rotary clubs contribute to Rotary International’s efforts to serve communities, beginning more than 110 years ago. Small-town rotary clubs fight global poverty by supporting international service programs, such as Rotary Community Corps, Rotaract and Rotary Peace Fellows. These programs teach leadership skills and address global humanitarian issues. As a result, small-town rotary clubs’ service activities promote world peace, fight diseases, protect the environment, provide clean water, support women and children and grow developing economies. Here is how three small-town rotary clubs are fighting global poverty.

How 3 Small-Town Rotary Clubs are Fighting Global Poverty

  1. Rotary Club of Nome. Supporting its townspeople for 75 years, the Rotary Club of Nome sets a rugged example of how small-town rotary clubs fight global poverty. The club’s humanitarian activities include a 2014 collaboration with the Rotary Club of Central Tandag to provide medical supplies, hygiene supplies, clothing and food to 49 indigenous families living in a remote village in Surigao Del Sur, Philippines. The club also contributes yearly to ShelterBox, an international disaster relief charity established in 2000 that provides emergency aid to families that disaster or conflict displaced. ShelterBox aid includes emergency shelter kits containing materials such as tarps, mortar and tent pegs as well as cooking tools, solar lights and learning games for children. In an interview with The Borgen Project, Nome Rotary Club President Adam R. Lust told The Borgen Project that the club is working on a proposal to fund a month of food resources for the village of Masai Mara, Kenya. Lust hopes the project is just the beginning and that it will lead to a more extensive, sustainable program in the future.
  2. Rotary Club of Boothbay Harbor. This club has 70 active community leaders committed to humanitarianism, with 15% of the club’s fundraising efforts going toward supporting international projects. The Boothbay Haborclub is a long-standing supporter of Safe Passage, a nonprofit school that creates educational opportunities for children and families who live and work at the Guatemala City dump in Guatemala. The club also helps to support Thai Daughters, an organization that “provides education, safe shelter and emotional support to girls” in Northern Thailand who are at risk of becoming sex trafficking victims. The club also supports Healthy Kids/Brighter Future, a program that Communities Without Borders runs. It provides access to education to Zambian children, with teachers who have training in first-line medical care. In addition, the Rotary Club of Boothbay Harbor provides support to Partners in World Health, PolioPlus and Crutches4Africa, among other organizations.
  3. Rotary Club of Crested Butte. This club puts an emphasis on benefiting youth. The club’s international outreach activities include supplying “English and Khmer language books” to Cambodian children to improve literacy rates. Additionally, the club sent “learning toys & games to Burmese refugee centers in Mae Sot, Thailand” to improve refugee children’s education in a stimulating way.

How to Help Small-Town Rotary Clubs Fight Global Poverty

One of the ways to help small-town rotary clubs fight global poverty is to become a member. Rotary membership is “by invitation only.” An individual can receive an invitation to join a club by someone who is already a member or one can attend a meeting as a guest and fill out a membership application form. If one is unsure of which club to join, Rotary International’s membership page has a questionnaire to assist in this regard.

However, one does not have to become a Rotary member to support a local rotary club. There are many opportunities to volunteer services, from canned food drives and park maintenance to tax preparation and building houses. Rotary International is part of a searchable database that helps potential volunteers find projects within their respective locations.

Whether one becomes a member, volunteers locally or travels abroad for one of rotary’s many international service activities, it is important to remember that every humanitarian effort of a rotary club contributes to reducing global poverty and empowering the most disadvantaged people at every corner of the globe. Every individual can help small-town rotary clubs fight global poverty simply by involving themselves in their initiatives.

– Jenny Rice
Photo: Flickr

Reduce HIV/AIDS in Zambia
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is an infection that can transfer through sex. It attacks cells in the human body that fight diseases, thus making it a dangerous infection. With about 38 million people in the world suffering from HIV, it has become a prominent issue, especially since there is no definite cure for the infection. As a result, in many African countries like Zambia, the number of HIV cases is significant. Through the exploration of HIV in impoverished countries, research has shown that there is a correlation between poverty and a lack of education with the numbers of HIV cases. Here is some information about HIV in Zambia including efforts to reduce HIV/AIDS in Zambia.

About HIV/AIDS in Zambia

Evidence shows that Zambia is among the first 10 countries with the most cases of HIV. An estimated 1.5 million inhabitants of Zambia had HIV/AIDS as of 2020, with an adult prevalence of 11.1%. Additionally, Zambia has experienced a total of 24,000 deaths due to HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS is quite prevalent among adults from ages 15 to 59 in Zambia, with a greater prevalence among females than males. Additionally, HIV is most prevalent among older adults, with 73.5% of infected women and 73% of infected men being 45 to 59 years of age. This demonstrates that approximately 980,000 people between the ages of 45 and 59 in Zambia suffer from HIV/AIDS.

The Link Between Poverty and HIV/AIDS

Research has found a strong connection between poverty and HIV cases; those living under the poverty line are more likely to obtain a sexually transmitted infection, such as HIV. Studies have found that those who are in circumstances of poverty in Zambia are often likely to resort to illegal means of work, such as sex trafficking or prostitution. The U.S. Department of State’s annual reports state that sex traffickers often exploit women in Zambia with money or food, placing Zambia on a severe Tier 2 ranking for sex trafficking. Additionally, the loss of jobs from COVID-19 resulted in an increase in the poverty rate in Zambia, going from 11.19% in 2019 to 12.17% in 2020. This shows that vulnerable young women below the poverty rate became desperate for money, thus resorting to the sex trafficking industry, where the circumstances led to the transmission of HIV.

Children’s Risk for HIV/AIDS in Zambia

Zambia’s population of children with HIV is a prominent issue; infections among children between the ages of 0 and 15 border at approximately 6,000 a year. In 2018, 79% of the children with HIV received antiretroviral therapy (ART), which is an effective means of treating HIV/AIDS. Of the children in Zambia who did not receive ART, 50% of them died before their second birthday. Additionally, the U.N. estimates that there is a total of 1 million children in Zambia who are either orphans or vulnerable to bribery, resulting in them being frequent targets of the sex trafficking business.

Potential Solutions to Reduce HIV/AIDS in Zambia

An example of an NGO (non-government organizations) in Zambia that focuses on preventing HIV in Zambia is the Kara Counseling and Training Trust (KCTT). This organization began in 1989 with the purpose of counseling people in Zambia who suffer from HIV/AIDS. Additionally, UNICEF’s HIV program in Zambia provides preventative resources for Zambian citizens in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. It has initiated several new programs, such as the National Paediatric and Adolescent Prevention, Treatment and Care Implementation Plan of 2017. Though there is currently a prevalence of HIV cases in Zambia, NGOs like the KCTT and UNICEF can be of great aid to people in need and can provide hope for resolving this issue.

Though the issue of HIV has been prevalent in Zambia for a long time, recent developments from different organizations have provided hope for the issue to reduce. By spreading awareness of the danger of HIV/AIDS and its causes, along with the distribution of preventative resources in Zambia, there is a high chance that the rates of HIV/AIDS in Zambia will reduce over the next few years.

– Andra Fofuca
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