Kitwe is located in the Copperbelt region of Zambia, close to the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is a growing city and an important commercial and industrial centre. About 738,000 people live in Kitwe. In the past, most people lived from mining, but as this has declined, families have had to find other ways to earn a living. This has affected the children, which is why about 100,000 children in Kitwe now live in abject poverty. Many more are at risk because they have lost or are at risk of losing the care of their families.
Since 2003, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Kitwe.
The decline of mining meant that it became more difficult for many people to find regular work and earn a stable income.
For this reason, in the Copperbelt region, where Kitwe is located, about 33% of children live in poverty. Members of families living in poverty are often self-employed or seek precarious employment in the informal sector. They often live in overcrowded settlements and have limited access to electricity, clean water or medical care.
Children living in these conditions are often at risk of dropping out of school and having to work to support their families.
About 48% of children in the Copperbelt province are not getting the nutrition they need to grow and develop healthily. Many families rely on maize meal, which does not contain all the nutrients children need.
Families with insecure jobs usually rely on what is available in nearby markets or small shops. When prices are high or there is a shortage of food, children have to go without food. As a result, the children are more likely to suffer from deficiencies and fall ill more quickly.