Inter Press Service Examines Efforts To Assist AIDS Orphans, Vulnerable Children in Zambia
The United Nations and other international aid agencies estimate that many of the 1.5 million AIDS orphans in Zambia by 2010 will be homeless, the Inter Press Service reports. However, the government has disputed the extent of the situation, and Zambia's Central Statistical Office estimates that the number of orphans and vulnerable children in 2007 was about 85,000. The Inter Press Service reports that while the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia "cuts a wide path through the population," the number of AIDS orphans and vulnerable children will continue to increase.
In 2006, the government launched its Street Kid Rehabilitation project, which targets boys in urban areas and provides vocational training for one year. Inter Press Service reports that girls are placed in homes for orphans run by nongovernmental organizations. According to the government, the program has graduated more than 1,200 boys. However, many of the children have not found jobs and are still without homes and any further assistance from the government. Godfridah Sumaili, chair of the Children In Need Network, said that the government "did not plan well in terms of the exit strategy," adding that "there is no thinking as to where the children will go after training." He emphasized the need for urgent, large-scale interventions from the government to address the orphan population. Pamela Chisanga, executive director of the network, said that public institutions must be more responsive to the needs of orphans and that projects that will "directly contribute to developmental outcomes." Mwale Katete -- a program officer with the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development -- said that the government is not solely responsible for the situation, adding that NGOs need to support the government's efforts (Kaunda, Inter Press Service, 1/27).