Zambia sits in south-central Africa and borders eight countries. The country is named for the Zambezi River, which flows from northern Zambia to the Indian Ocean.

  • Population: 13,089,000
  • Life Expectancy: 49 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 60%
  • School Enrollment: 92%
  • Land Mass: 290,587 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 71%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 111/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 1,070

Facts about Zambia

Economic Development

About half of Zambians are unemployed and more than 85 percent live below the poverty line.

Food & Agriculture

Food insecurity threatens the health of many children. Chronic malnutrition rates are high, with almost half of children under the age of 5 affected by stunting.


The widespread HIV and AIDS pandemic continues in Zambia. More than 1.1 million people live with this disease and the prevalence rate is more than 15 percent. At least 600,000 children have lost one or both parents to this disease.

Zambia flag


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Progress in Zambia

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.

  • Distributed livestock and vegetable seeds to families to improve their access to nutritious food.

  • Organized campaigns to expand HIV testing services, prevent mother-to-child transmission, and increase access to anti-retroviral medication.

  • Worked with community groups to care for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS.

  • Drilled borehole wells to provide clean drinking water and reduce waterborne illness.

  • Organized campaigns to increase school enrollment among girls, who are often denied an education.

  • Held refresher courses for preschool teachers to strengthen the quality of early childhood education.

  • Helped form community savings and credit associations to improve entrepreneurs’ access to funding.

  • Provided vocational and business training for women and young people.

  • Worked with health agencies to deworm and immunize children and give them vitamin A supplements.

  • Distributed treated bed nets to help control the spread of malaria.

  • Monitored children's health and helped them access medical treatment.

  • Organized Good News clubs and Bible camps to teach children about God’s love and strengthen their relationships with friends and family.

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    World Vision in Zambia Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Zambia 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 35,200 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Zambia. Highlights include:

    • Partnering with churches and communities to provide HIV counseling, care, and support.
    • Improving mother and infant health by constructing mother's shelters and maternity wings that will ensure mothers deliver under qualified medical supervision.
    • Helping communities build the ability to recover from natural disasters.
    • Helping families to diversify food and income sources.

    World Vision History in Zambia

    In 1981-1982, World Vision began its work in Zambia by hosting a Christian Council conference in Livingstone and initiating a child sponsorship program. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

    • Assisting communities suffering from drought, providing children with food and clothing, and increasing access to clinics and clean water during the 1980s.
    • Providing thousands of people affected by flooding with food, blankets, medicine, and insecticides to combat malaria in 1989.
    • Helping women in healthcare, child rearing, and education, as well as offering HIV and AIDS education during the 1990s.
    • Providing communities with access to clean water for drinking and agriculture and offering water sanitation training since the 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Zambia sits in south-central Africa and borders eight countries. The country is named for the Zambezi River, which flows from northern Zambia to the Indian Ocean.

    High plateaus, hills, mountains, grassy plains, and marshland fill the landscape. The climate is tropical, with some areas experiencing a six-month rainy season. Natural resources include cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, gems, precious metals, and hydropower.

    People of Bantu origin make up most of the population. The country’s official language is English, but Zambians use Bemba more often. Zambians also speak more than 70 other languages. Most people are involved in agriculture, growing corn, rice, peanuts, vegetables, cotton, and coffee.

    Rural Zambians usually live with their extended families in houses that are clustered together. Family members share work, assets, and the experiences of daily life. A large family means more hands to help on the farm and helps to ensure care for the parents as they age.


    Formerly the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, Zambia achieved independence in 1964. The country held its first multi-party elections in 1991 after 30 years as a one-party state.

    Elections over the next decade were democratic but controversial. In 2002, the president began an anticorruption investigation into the previous administration.

    During the threat of famine in 2002, the president refused to accept any international donations of genetically modified food. In 2003, impeachment proceedings against the president were rejected by Parliament.

    Zambia continues to hold democratic elections today.

    Prayer Requests for Zambia

    • Stability and wisdom for the Zambian president as he leads the nation.
    • Continued peace and good harvests so families will have a chance to build better lives.