Chipata is the capital of Zambia's Eastern Province and lies close to the border with Malawi. The city has over 450,000 inhabitants. Most people here live from subsistence farming and produce their own food. Poverty levels in Chipata remain high. More than 50% of the population live in extreme poverty and are unable to meet their basic needs. Many people in Chipata do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation. However, a lack of poor sanitation facilities puts children at risk of childhood diseases and malnutrition, which can affect their overall development, their ability to learn and, later in life, their economic opportunities.
Since 2011, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Chipata.
The population of Zambia is very young: 53% of the population is under 18 years old. This is due to high population growth, as a woman in Zambia has an average of 4.7 children.
Due to the lack of infrastructure, economic development and education, many young people do not have secure jobs. Whether young people are in school, training or working has important implications for future economic growth, development and stability. If overlooked, youth unemployment has a potential to have significant and serious social repercussions. Youth unemployment can lead to social exclusion and unrest.
Children who are not registered at birth do not have access to basic rights and services such as education and health care. Overall, less than 15% of births to children under the age of 5 are registered in Zambia, despite the requirement to do so.
In addition, child marriage poses another challenge to child protection efforts in Zambia. The number of child marriages has increased significantly in recent years. In families with limited resources, child marriage is often seen as a way to provide for the daughter's future.