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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.
Frequent droughts over the past several 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 46 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.
Provided women's groups with sewing machines and sewing lessons, in order to increase their income-earning opportunities and provide for their families.
Provided vulnerable children with school fees and uniforms so they could access educational opportunities.
Trained teachers on early childhood development and provided loving, safe preschools for children to attend.
Supported farmers with seeds and fertilizer, and training on how improved planting methods can lead to more successful crops.
Trained farmers on raising chickens and goats, so they could provide their families with more food and income.
Educated caregivers about TB management, disease prevention, and children's growth monitoring, in order to better serve the primary health needs of the community.
Presented educational sessions on HIV and AIDS prevention to youth in schools, so they could learn to make healthy choices.
Facilitated health sessions for mothers and children under age five, in which children received necessary vaccinations and mothers learned about basic healthcare.
Increased access to safe drinking water, and offered classes on hygiene and healthcare practices, to prevent the risk of waterborne disease in the community.
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.