Eswatini is a landlocked country situated in Southern Africa. The majority of the country's population live in rural settings and follow traditional ways of life. Due to unfavourable climate conditions and low agricultural productivity many people live in poverty.
Unemployment is high and infrastructure, such as housing and sanitation facilities, tends to be poor. Food shortages are widespread, particularly in rural areas, and a large number of school-aged children do not receive an education.
Furthermore, Eswatini Is heavily marked by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Eswatini since 1987.
Since so many people in Eswatini make a living off agriculture, they are very vulnerable to climate change. Recurring droughts and floods often lead to crop failure and threaten people’s livelihoods.
Many live in poverty and tens of thousands lack access to clean water, decent housing and sanitation facilities. Furthermore, malnutrition is a serious challenge for many people in the country.
Children are particularly vulnerable and their development is affected.
Owing to HIV/AIDS and high levels of poverty, the phenomenon of children raising children is quite common in Eswatini. This explains why many young Swazis miss out on a decent education.
While education has become more accessible with the introduction of the government’s free primary education policy, many children drop out of school. About 7 in 10 children do not compete primary school. This rate is even higher in secondary school because families can’t afford fees or due to early pregnancies among young girls.
Eswatini is heavily marked by HIV/AIDS. And the extent to which the disease affects the population is beyond comparison. While Eswatini has been quite successful regarding the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, many children are still indirectly affected by the virus.
Tens of thousands of children have lost, or are at risk of losing, their parents to the disease. These children then have to fend for themselves and sometimes even take care of younger siblings.