The situation of children in Africa

Over 400 million children are currently living on the African continent - and the number is rising. Africa's child population will reach 1 billion by 2055, making it the largest child population among all continents.

In some African countries, such as Uganda, Angola, Mali, Niger, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, half of all inhabitants are still under 15 years old.

Growing up without a mother and father - that's the sad reality for 15 million children in sub-Saharan Africa. The disease HIV / AIDS has taken one or even both parents. They live with relatives or on the street, without a home.

More than 30 percent of children in Africa suffer from the consequences of chronic malnutrition: physical and mental development disorders affect their daily lives. They are often too small for their age, suffer from heart disease, kidney damage, and have a very weak immune system that is very difficult to ward off diarrhea or pneumonia.

Hunger, poverty, violence, and armed conflicts mean that millions of African children are fleeing - alone or with their families. War is raging in many countries of the African continent: millions of children are living in constant terror and violence.

Many children in Africa are excluded from school and contribute to the livelihood of their families instead. Experts estimate that a total of 30 million children in sub-Saharan Africa do not attend school. 54 percent of them are girls.

Africa has the largest number of child laborers; 72.1 million African children are estimated to be in child labor and 31.5 million in hazardous work.

Africa Without Orphans works to:

  • Collaborate with the church and other relevant stakeholders to ensure non-duplication in services, sustainability, and the most significant reach and positive impact on children.
  • Education and training: equipping the church and community with family strengthening, trauma, child abuse, and non-violent/positive parenting skills.
  • Advocacy & Lobbying: influencing mindsets, social norms, and attitudes about the importance of children living in the family rather than childcare facilities. Lobbying for the reintegration of children with biological families where it is safe to do so. Promotion of fair legal adoption processes and the implementation and enforcement of laws that prevent child abuse.
  • Empowerment: Churches and communities are engaged in an approach that enables them to take ownership of the children and families in their communities, to see the role they can play in identifying solutions to the plight of their members who are threatened with family separation.
  • Prevention: Creating SAFE families, streets, communities, churches, schools, families, digital and other environments where children can thrive. Encourage organizations impacting children to have safe child policies in place to ensure children are protected from harm. 
  • Emotional and Spiritual Wellbeing: Creating healing and refreshing environments whereby members can live refreshed, avoid burn-out and serve people from a place of abundance.

"Source: UNICEF, SOS Children's Villages International".

Countries with National Initiatives

Botswana Without Orphans

Approximately 35% of children are orphans or vulnerable (including almost 3% who are both orphaned and vulnerable), while 65% of children are non-OVC. These estimates do not include children living in an abusive environment, HIV-positive, or living outside family care. Many of the most vulnerable children do not live in family settings.

Burundi Without Orphans

Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an estimated 1.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Over half the population in Burundi is in a situation of chronic food insecurity and 56% of children under five years old are chronically malnourished – one of the highest rates in the world. Poverty, family conflicts, and child abuse have also pushed thousands of children to the street.

Ethiopia Without Orphans

Ethiopia is a country of 110 million people located in eastern Africa. It is the most populous landlocked country in the world. With a high prevalence of HIV and over 44% of the population under 14, orphanhood is an important issue in Ethiopia. There are about 4.5 million orphans in the nation, with 85,000 HIV orphans. Orphans are primarily cared for by government-run orphanages; however, the government has started closing orphanages due to enacting the new government policy. Kinship care is a program that encourages reunification with families and domestic care by sponsoring the child with extended families.

Ghana Without Orphans

The hardships and difficulties faced by children in Ghana include slavery and forced labor, poverty, physical and moral violence, sexual abuse, poor quality education as well as certain ancestral rites. Children living on the streets are frequent in Ghana. According to a survey about 80% of these children are between 5 and 14 years old. As young as they are, street children must find work to meet their needs.

Kenya Without Orphans

Kenya is a country of approximately 47 million people located in the African Great Lakes Region of east Africa. Over 40% of the population in Kenya are under the age of 14.¹ There is a high prevelance rate of HIV with 1/3 of the population being orphaned due to the disease. It is estimated that there are about 1.7 - 3 million orphans in Kenya with 700 children being orphaned everyday.

Malawi Without Orphans

Malawi is a country where HIV/AIDS runs rampant and is one of the worst nations affected by HIV/AIDS. The estimated prevalence rate for adults (15 years and older) is 14.1 compared to 6.1 for Sub-Saharan Africa. That means that the number of persons with HIV in Malawi is approximately one million. This challenge has increased the number of orphan children in Malawi below 18 years due to the high death rates of parents leaving their children behind.

Rwanda Without Orphans

Children represent a large percentage of the Rwandan population, with 40% of the population between ages 0 and 14 and a median age of 18.8. The main causes of children leaving their family homes include parents' poverty, and the death of one or both parents. Over half of children and young people experience physical, sexual, or emotional violence before age 18.

South Africa Without Orphans

South Africa is a country where HIV/AIDS runs rampant. This, coupled with violence against women and children, makes the orphan crisis a pressing matter. It is estimated that there are 150,000 children in South Africa living in homes managed by children themselves. The government has now implemented guidelines for foster care and prevention/response to child exploitation which is a step to bring these children out of institutional care and into families.

Uganda Without Orphans

Uganda is a landlocked country in the heart of East Africa, bordered by Kenya, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a population of over 33 million. Since its independence from Britain, there have been periods of conflict and a lengthy civil war that has left tens of thousands dead and displaced more than a million people. Just the HIV/AIDS epidemic alone has left 1.2 million children orphaned, with a total of 2.7 million orphans. Orphans live with extended relatives, in orphanages, and on the street.

Zambia Without Orphans

Zambian children are faced with challenges such as violence, malnutrition, imprisonment, lack of education, child marriage, and hard labor.

Zimbabwe Without Orphans

Zimbabwe is one of the poorest countries in the world. There are 15 million people, 48% are children. More than one-quarter of children below the age of 18 are not living with either parent. Among these children, the majority have been abandoned by their parents or orphaned.

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