Life in Zambia

Zambia one of the poorest countries in the world with more than half its population living in poverty on less than 60p a day however it is a country with a strong sense of community with those living in rural areas living within extended family clusters of mud huts.

Family is paramount and dominates life in Zambia with Zambian families having as many children as possible, not just because children are so highly valued but as an 'insurance policy' for the parent's old age, and, of course, extra hands to work on the family farm.

The average family in Zambia has six children.

The majority of the population of some 13.8 million live in urban areas, with the remaining 40% living in rural areas.

Whilst the economic outlook for the population is improving, today life in Zambia is still harsh for the majority.

Around half of all children under the age of 5yrs are malnourished. Vitamin deficiency and anaemia are also widespread.

The health care system is under developed especially in rural areas and this is compounded by the rural population having limited access to improved drinking water at just 36%.

The spread of AIDS/HIV has also affected life in Zambia with one in five children in the country having lost one or both parents to the disease. Alarmingly 30,000 children are born HIV-positive each year due to mother-to-child transmission and an estimated 16% of the adult population is infected.

AIDs has no regard for who it kills and in an already impoverished country it has ravaged thousands of professionals from teachers to engineers affecting the country's ability to develop effectively.

Overall life expectancy in Zambia is just over 52 years.


Life in Zambia

Life in Zambia

Life in Zambia

Life in Zambia


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Life in Zambia

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Life in Zambia

Life in Zambia

Life in rural Zambia is very traditional. Where there are rivers men will go fishing in their dug-out canoes, children herd cattle and women pound home grown maize (with their children wrapped in chitenge on their backs) to make Nshima, a traditional Zambian dish usually served with fish or meat and vegetables or sour milk and beans depending on the location.

Life in ZambiaPoorer families will eat the Nshima on its own if they can't afford meat or fish. 'Cottage' industries include making wooden carvings, baskets, stools, mats and metal craft.

Education is considered important, with high rates of literacy, and, unlike so many other countries, there is little gender gap. Unfortunately there is an ongoing issue with a shortage of teachers so many children end their education without a firm grasp of key skills, although the situation has improved following the abolition of tuition fees.

Education itself is divided into two parts basic education (years 1 to 9), and upper secondary (years 10 to 12) however a great many children drop out after year 7 as the free tuition then stops.

Human Development Index Zambia

Human Development Index for Zambia 1980 - Present

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. Zambia is in 163rdth place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 and the chart above shows how levels of poverty and living standards in Zambia remain below other sub Saharan countries and also below low human development.



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