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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.
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 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, 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 tuberculosis 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 5, 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 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.