Life in Swaziland

Swaziland, with its population of 1,185,000, is the world's last absolute monarchy and one that still recognises Taiwan rather than China. Life in Swaziland is dominated by the fact that some 50% of the young population has AIDS and the overall population is being eroded at the rate of 2% a year as the death toll mounts.

There is a real risk that the Swazi population will cease to exist in the forthcoming decades. Life expectancy has dropped as a result from 61yrs in 2001 to just over 49yrs in 2011. And its still falling. Yet the country is one of Africa's leading sub-Saharan oil producers.

The majority of Swazi (79%) live in rural communities with many villages comprising of a  dozen or so traditional huts made from grass, reeds and mud. Running water isn't available for the vast majority, so much of each day is spend travelling to unprotected wells or to parasite contaminated rivers, where water carriers are filled up once or twice a day, depending on need.

Daily life in Swaziland is centred around the traditional homestead with the kagogo (granny's hut) being the focus of activity and the sibaya (cattle byre) also playing an integral role. However this traditional family lifestyle is being decimated by AIDS as out of a population of just over one million, 100,000 children have been orphaned by the virus. This situation is likely to deteriorate further as infection rates for those aged between 20-30 years is reaching 50%.

These children's lives are probably blighted forever; if they manage to remain infection free themselves in adulthood, they would none the less have missed out on education (only one in five of all Swazi children attend secondary school in any event, partially down to the fees), and become homeless or forced to live with others who cannot afford to care for them, placing them at risk of violence and abuse.


Life in Swaziland

Life in Swaziland

Life in Swaziland

Life in Swaziland



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Life in Swaziland

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Human Development Index Swaziland

Human Development Index for Swaziland 1990 - Present

Swaziland Life The HDI (Human Development Index) is measured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the World Bank and is based upon the life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of a country. Swaziland is in 141st place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 and the chart below shows how levels of poverty and living standards in Swaziland are above other sub Saharan countries but significantly below medium human development.

Most people in Swaziland are poor, living on less than 60p a day and 40% of all children suffer from malnutrition. Poverty is compounded by the high unemployment rate which has remained static at around 40% of the workforce for well over a decade.

Life in SwazilandOf those who do work, government delivered services account for 50% of GDP, manufacturing (37%) and forestry and farming 13%. Just 10.25% of land in Swaziland is arable however 75% of the population is dependent upon it for subsistence farming with maize being the main crop.

The manufacturing sector is currently under threat as its main products, textiles and sugar are losing their markets with the EU phasing out Swaziland's preferential prices and many countries are now looking to eastern markets for their textile imports.

The future for children in Swaziland looks bleak. Poverty, AIDS are only two of the problems facing the country alongside overgrazing, soil depletion, drought (in one year alone more than 25% of those in Swaziland were dependent on food due to drought) and sometimes floods. Children in Swaziland need your help. Consider taking out a child sponsorship to help at least one child in desperate need.


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