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.
Swaziland, the second-smallest country in Africa, has a population density of 53.5 people per square kilometer. The vast majority (76 percent) live in rural areas and depend on small-scale agriculture for their economic livelihood. Around 40 percent of the population is unemployed, and 63 percent live in poverty.
Swaziland is among the world’s most HIV-affected countries. Around 26 percent of people aged 15-19 and 19 percent of the population aged 2 and older is affected by HIV. This has contributed to an increase in the number of orphaned and vulnerable children.
Violence against women is increasing. According to the Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organizations (CANGO), 78 percent of women in Swaziland are survivors of gender-based violence.
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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 2014.
We partnered with local churches to offer Bible clubs where children can learn more about God's love and grow in their faith.
Through savings groups, parents opened savings accounts and took out small loans to start businesses, enabling them to better provide for their children.
Preschool teachers were trained in early childhood development and improved teaching methods, helping young children develop the learning and social skills they need to succeed in school.
Church members and community volunteers were trained and equipped to provide home-based care for orphans and vulnerable children, and people living with HIV or AIDS.
Farmers learned improved farming methods to increase production through our agricultural training program, emphasizing the importance of planting a variety of drought-tolerant crops and protecting soil fertility.
Women and youth who didn't have the opportunity to attend school completed vocational training with our support, equipping them with skills to earn a living.
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 21,900 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 Swazi, 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.