|USAID supports herd health for increased economic growth. (Photo: C. Mahoney USAID/Zambia)|
A stable, democratic, healthy and prosperous Zambia is important for the United States and the region. Though Zambia has experienced 12 straight years of impressive economic growth and its average per-person income of $1,460 makes it a lower-middle-income country, that growth has not benefitted the two-thirds of Zambians who live in poverty. Reflecting considerable U.S. government investment over time in one of the countries most affected by HIV/AIDS, some social indicators have improved, with life expectancy at birth now at 52 years (up from 39) and maternal mortality at 591 per 100,000 live births (down from 729). Zambia’s challenge is to promote broad-based, pro-poor economic growth, create employment and develop its human capital.
Accordingly, USAID/Zambia’s assistance concentrates on increasing agriculture-led economic growth to reduce rural poverty and food insecurity; improving the health of Zambians; reducing the incidence and impact of HIV/AIDS; raising the quality of basic education; and enhancing democratic governance.
|USAID-supported National Child Health Weeks provide vitamin A supplementation to bolster the development of children’s immune
systems. (Photo: USAID/Zambia)
Zambia’s dependence on mining, construction and urban commerce leaves the agriculture-dependent rural poor behind. USAID supports country-driven strategies and invests in strengthening both public and private institutions that underpin growth in the agricultural sector. The U.S. government’s Feed the Future Initiative works with the Zambian government to address policy issues, stabilize and open markets, and assist smallholder farmers to diversify and improve production. Economic growth programs leverage U.S. government investments in nutrition to reduce rural poverty, child malnutrition and dependence on aid. The incipient Global Climate Change program works with rural communities to reduce emissions through sustainable forest management.
High levels of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, a large number of orphans and vulnerable children, unacceptable infant and maternal mortality, and fertility of 5.9 births per woman undermine the health and productivity of Zambian families. USAID programs help reduce HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and vaccine-preventable diseases and promote family health. USAID is an integral part of the U.S. Global Health Initiative that consolidates U.S. government global health programs under a single banner.
|An interactive lesson at a community school. (Photo: C. Mahoney USAID/Zambia)|
Through the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative, USAID supports the scale up of one of the largest indoor residual spraying programs, the distribution of insecticide-treated nets for children and pregnant women, and the provision of rapid diagnostic test kits and life-saving medicines. With an HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 14.3 percent, Zambia benefits from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), to scale up integrated prevention, care, and treatment programs and target the cross-cutting impact of HIV/AIDS. As a result of U.S. government support, more than 400,000 people now regularly receive antiretroviral treatment and the percentage of infected infants born to HIV-positive women dropped from 39 percent in 2005 to under 5 percent in 2010. USAID manages dynamic programs to address gender-based violence, a serious issue in Zambia, and has supported over 500,000 orphans and vulnerable children.
Despite impressive gains in access to education, Zambia is plagued by poor education quality. Improving student performance is a core challenge. USAID partners directly with the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education in reforms to improve student performance in early grade reading and mathematics. While programs target school and student performance as the barometers of success, academic improvements in the classroom require a systemic, reform-driven review of management practices. USAID helps ensure that school-level interventions stem from strong higher-level policy, management and information systems. USAID also champions programs to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on the education system and improve equity through water and sanitation actions that promote learning achievement and girls’ education.
|Popular musicians perform at a USAID-supported HIV prevention concert. (Photo: C. Mahoney USAID/Zambia)|
Corruption, lack of transparency and poor service delivery are major constraints to Zambia’s development. USAID supports the Government of Zambia’s goal of governance that fosters conditions for markets to function, encourages efficient and effective delivery of basic services, ensures civil society participation in decision-making, and maximizes the welfare of all Zambians. USAID’s program addresses key strongholds of administrative corruption, which impairs government service delivery, through improved business process reengineering. The program works with the Department of National Registration, Passport, and Citizenship on transparent and efficient service delivery. USAID supported the expansion of voter registration, including mobile registration, to enable greater participation in the electoral process. Current assistance also enhances more effective participation of civil society and Parliament in the constitutional reform underway in 2012.