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Frequent droughts over the past years have weakened Swaziland's economy and many people struggle to make enough money to buy food.
About 40 percent of Swazis are unemployed and almost 70 percent live below the poverty line.
The rapid spread of HIV and AIDS is the country's greatest health concern as the disease shrinks the adult population. Swaziland has the highest prevalence rate among adults in the world at more than 26 percent. More than 190,000 Swazis are HIV-positive, and at least 56,000 children have lost one or both parents to this disease.
Swaziland's life expectancy of 48 years is among the lowest life expectancies in the world.
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Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.
Supplied seeds to farmers and taught them how to grow drought-resistant crops for an improved harvest.
Distributed chickens, goats, and vegetable seeds to improve families’ diets and provide them with a source of income.
Trained teachers and peer educators in age-appropriate HIV-prevention curriculum for young people.
Held community events to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS and reduce stigma.
Involved church leaders in Channels of Hope, a program that equips community organizations to respond to the AIDS crisis.
Assisted orphans and vulnerable children with scholarships, medical expenses, and food packages.
Formed community groups to care for orphans and vulnerable children, and people living with HIV and AIDS.
Worked with communities to extend pipelines and drill wells, increasing access to clean water and reducing the incidence of waterborne illness.
Provided families with materials to build latrines, improving environmental sanitation.
Trained local water committees on public health and water management, building communities' capacity to manage and improve their own water sources.
Furnished schools with desks and chairs to help improve the learning environment.
Supported early childhood education by training preschool teachers and providing learning materials.
Helped orphans and vulnerable children attend school by providing scholarships.
Helped communities create disaster plans, enabling them to respond to emergencies and mitigate risk.
Facilitated village savings and credit associations, which help families save for food and basic household needs.
Encouraged local entrepreneurs to start small businesses by training them in business planning.
Trained community leaders in child rights and gender equity, equipping them to make decisions that uphold the rights of women and children.
Held school discussions on child trafficking, raising awareness among children and helping them protect themselves.
Children participated in games and received gifts such as toothbrushes and sports equipment.
Monitored children's health and development and helped them access medical care.
Helped local health workers immunize more children by providing them with transportation.
Provided food for malnourished children and taught their caregivers how to prepare nutritious meals.
Trained home health volunteers in breastfeeding, nutrition, and treatment of diarrhea.
Organized Bible clubs and provided children with Bibles to help them learn more about God's Word.
World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Swaziland to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 19,000 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Swaziland. Highlights include:
World Vision began a child sponsorship program in Swaziland in 1975; the Swaziland program office opened in 1986. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:
Geography and people
One of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies, Swaziland sits on the southern edge of Africa. This small country is almost completely surrounded by South Africa except for a 65-mile stretch of border with Mozambique.
Mountains, hills, and sloping plains fill the landscape. The climate varies from tropical to near temperate. Natural resources include asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, talc, hydropower, and forests.
Almost all the people are Swazi and only about 3 percent are European. Swaziland’s official language is SiSwati, but people in the corporate and government areas often speak English.
Swaziland’s economy depends significantly on South Africa, from which it receives nearly all of its imports and markets most of its exports. Most Swazis work in agriculture, growing crops like sugarcane, cotton, maize, rice, and pineapples.
After years under South African and British control, Swaziland gained independence on September 6, 1968. A monarchy established rule after independence, with King Sobhuza II ruling until his death. His son, King Mswati III, came into power in 1986.
The monarchy bans political parties and appoints some members of parliament, as well as the prime minister. The king can also veto any law passed by the legislature and frequently rules by decree.
In 2002, hundreds of thousands of Swazis faced starvation. Two years of drought as well as poor planning and agricultural practices were blamed for the crisis.
Although the king signed a new constitution in 2006, the majority of political power remains with the monarchy.