Welcome to Zambia

Zambia is a huge country, with a rather unusual shape (like a butterfly). Though it can be hot in the lower valleys, much of the land lies across a high plateau where temperatures are more pleasant. Many Zambians rely on traditional farming. Daily life can be a struggle, particularly when crops fail or people have to cope with illnesses.

Medical Centre

Ever-increasing number of patients

See the work of the medical centre at SOS Children’s Village, Lusaka. Meet Kalombe Natasha, a family strengthening programme social worker, with a caseload of 68 desperately-in-need families in the nearby community.

Agriculture & Famine

A quarter of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished and famines can impact whole regions.

Land is available to grow more food locally, but investment is needed in  technologies such as irrigation for land to be used effectively. Farmers must also adapt to climate change if they are to feed the continent's rising population.

Women

A woman’s status varies by country and region across Africa. In many parts, women struggle against inequality in laws, education, pay and domestic responsibilities.

Women’s health is also at risk from traditional practices such as early marriage. But with better education, girls can make more informed choices, leading to the greater development of African nations.

Tourism & Communications

Famous beauty

The Zambezi River is a key attraction for visitors to Zambia, offering river-boarding and white water rafting.  However, the river’s best-known feature is Victoria Falls, located roughly midway along the Zambezi at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Poverty

Across the rest of the world, absolute poverty has halved over recent decades, but in Africa it has barely fallen.

About two-fifths of the population of sub-Saharan Africa survive week by week on what someone in the UK earns from just one hour's work on the minimum wage.

Climate

Africa is a massive continent, with a range of climates. Some regions are hot and dry, like the Sahara, Kalahari and Namib deserts. Other parts are wet or covered in tropical rainforest. Conditions also vary by altitude, from the dry salt pans of the Danakil Depression (one of the lowest points on earth) to the snowcaps (at certain times) of the highest mountains. Weather-wise, Africa has it all!

Games & Sport

Africa is home to arguably the oldest-recorded games and sports. While some are only known through archaeology, modern-day games and sports such as Mancala/Mankala and Nubian wrestling are very much alive today.

Of course, new sports have come along to claim the attention of Africans. You may have heard of one - it's called football.

History

The first humans are thought to have lived in Africa and powerful African empires formed from the medieval age onwards.

However, today's African nations were shaped by the European powers who colonised this vast continent. Having gained their independence, many African countries are still coming to terms with the legacy left by their colonisers.

Children

Around one in six children born in sub-Saharan Africa don't live to see their fifth birthday and life can be tough for those who do.

What are the common challenges facing African children and how do their lives compare with those of children in the UK?

Zambia Map

Explore Zambia

Find out about some key places in Zambia, such as Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Drumming and Dancing

The sound of the drum

Zambians love to dance. Theresa films some traditional dancing in her village, which is accompanied by drums.

Children's stories

'Our Story'

The children at the SOS Children’s Village in Lusaka soon picked up the skills needed to write, direct and edit a video, following a filming lesson with professional cameramen. Watch the film they created.

Economy & Industry

Precious materials

Zambia is one of the top ten producers of copper and its economy is reliant on copper exports. It is also a major source of precious stones, including emeralds, aquamarines, amethyst and tourmalines.

Education & Jobs

Compulsory education

Since Zambia’s independence, the country has invested heavily in schools and three-quarters of young people (aged 15–24) are literate.

Poverty & Healthcare

One of the worst-affected countries

Around one in eight Zambians lives with HIV/AIDS and the disease kills around 50,000 people each year. It has left around 700,000 children without one or both parents.

Our music teacher

Strength to face the future

The junior choir perform ‘Many hands, many voices’ for the rest of the school. Watch their performance and hear what their teacher has to say about music.

Facts & Figures

Facts & Figures

For a large country (double the size of neighbouring Zimbabwe), Zambia’s population of 13.2 million is relatively small (though not as tiny as Namibia's 2.3 million). Discover more facts and figures and compare them with those of other countries.

Food & Daily life

A traditional way of life

Daily life in many communities revolves around agriculture, livestock and fishing. While men often head for the towns and cities to find work, women carry out subsistence farming.

Health

Africa has a high number of communicable diseases, which place a huge burden on healthcare systems. The vast majority of malaria cases and HIV/AIDS-related deaths occur in Africa; these two diseases currently represent the greatest threats.

With low investment in healthcare and a severe shortage of medical staff, many countries struggle to meet the health needs of their people.

Climate & Agriculture

High up

Zambia’s tropical climate is tempered by high altitudes across many parts of the country. But in the lower valleys, the heat can be oppressive.

Geography & Wildlife

A lot of birds

Zambia is home to a huge range of birds; 750 different species are within its borders. All the classic savannah animals – lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants and buffalo – can also be found across the national parks.

History & Politics

An independent country

After independence in 1964, Zambia was ruled as a one-party state for 27 years. The first multi-party elections were held in 1991.

Foods

Africa has some of the most distinctive cuisines and flavours in the world. Food varies widely, but there are commonalities across regions. Depending on what's grown locally, dishes are also influenced by the traders, immigrants and rulers who settled across the continent. Arab, Asian and European elements blend in with traditional African cooking.

The reunion

New beginnings

Theresa meets her grandmother for the first time in at least five years. She finds out how her grandmother is surviving, looking after ten grandchildren in rural Zambia, and what her hopes are for the future.

Geography & Wildlife

With its varied geography and diverse habits, the African continent is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Though famous for its 'big game' animals, Africa has huge numbers of fish, mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and insect species, as well as many tree, plant and flower species.

People & Culture

Languages galore!

More than 72 local languages and dialects are spoken across Zambia. Bemba is the most widely-spoken language (apart from English) and is used by more than two million Zambians in Lusaka and across the Copperbelt.

School

School

Damview Basic school in Zambia had no plumbing and no electricity. Children drew water from a well. But things are getting better...

Welcome to Zambia

Hello, my name is Theresa.  Welcome to Zambia

I live in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, which lies roughly in the centre of the country. The 'Copperbelt' province is north of here – copper is Zambia's main export. To the south, you'll find one of the largest wildlife parks in Africa and also the famous Victoria Falls. Find out more about life in Zambia by clicking on the topics or videos across this page.

Sunday school

Sing and pray together

Religion is very important to Zambians. Find out what Sunday school is like at the SOS village and watch Theresa interview her Sunday school leaders.

Development

‘People are the real wealth of a nation.’ This is the belief of the United Nations, whose Millenium Development Goals provide a framework for improving the lives of millions.

It helps when nations are peaceful, stable and growing economically. But where even the poorest countries focus on health, education and creating fairer societies, more Africans have the chance of a better life.

Zambia topics Facts & Figures Poverty & Healthcare Food & Daily life Drumming and Dancing People & Culture Geography & Wildlife Climate & Agriculture Our music teacher The reunion Welcome to Zambia Sunday school Economy & Industry School Education & Jobs Children's stories History & Politics Medical Centre Zambia Map Tourism & Communications