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Sao Tome

Located off Africa’s western shore, Sao Tome and Principe is home to about 200,000 people. According to the World Bank, almost 62 percent are living in poverty. With a moderate-to-weak economy, humanitarian aid to Sao Tome and Principe is essential to improve social and health-related issues.

The Economy of Sao Tome and Principe

The economy of Sao Tome and Principe consists mostly of cocoa exports and tourism to showcase its diverse wildlife and tropical forests.

The Portuguese-speaking islands currently struggle to provide educational, as well as economic, opportunities to its children. Approximately 44 percent of the population is made up by children under 14. While about 97 percent of children attend primary school, the rate of secondary school attendance falls drastically to 38 percent.

Programs Providing Humanitarian Aid to Sao Tome and Principe

The International Development Association (IDA) aimed to improve education attendance rates by providing more than $4 million in educational assistance. The program, Quality Education for All, strengthens the educational system by improving teachers’ training and enriching student’s curriculum. By improving primary education, the IDA is building a foundation for secondary education down the road.

Another program contributing to humanitarian aid to Sao Tome and Principe is the Entrepreneurship Curriculum Programme for the Youth of Sao Tome and Principe. Funded by the Trust Fund for Youth Employment, $34,333 was devoted to teaching entrepreneurial skills in secondary education in hopes of better preparing students for the workforce. The program’s goal is to impact at least 1,500 students with entrepreneurial training.

Combatting Diseases in Sao Tome and Principe

Other issues that plague Sao Tome and Principe are personal health and protection from diseases such as malaria and HIV. In 2009, malaria was reported in a total of 33.8 percent out of 1,000 people. However, thanks to relief efforts, this number had drastically declined to 9.7 percent per 1,000 people by 2014.

Along with the decline of reported malaria cases, Sao Tome and Principe reported a total of zero malaria-related deaths in 2014. To further prevent the threat of malaria, the UNDP has worked with the Global Fund. Together, these organizations have provided a $6 million grant that finances the purchase of mosquito repellants along with bed nets. The grant’s goal is to eliminate all threats of malaria and other illnesses by 2030.

Sao Tome and Principe continues improving with help from organizations like the Global Fund and the UNDP, as well as others. By addressing core issues like citizen’s health and education, humanitarian aid to Sao Tome and Principe is providing opportunities for continued growth.

– Austin Stoltzfus

Photo: Flickr