Zambia is a peaceful country with vast agricultural lands. However, Zambia continues to suffer the devastating impacts of a mature AIDS epidemic, chronic food insecurity and widespread poverty. An estimated 80 percent of the rural population lives on less than $1 per day. In the 2013 UNDP Human Development Report, Zambia ranked 163 out of 186 countries, placing it as the poorest peaceful country on the planet. Fourteen percent of the adult population has HIV, and 1.3 million children have been orphaned or made vulnerable due to HIV and other causes. Many rural families rely on subsistence farming, with limited access to farming inputs, credit or savings. During the "hungry season," when food is scarce, many families eat only one meal a day. As a result of chronic malnutrition, nearly half of Zambian children under five are stunted.
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|Population:||14,222,233 (2013 est.)|
|Size:||290,587 sq mi; slightly larger than Texas|
In 2000, Catholic Relief Services began operations in Zambia as a small, privately-funded program working with four dioceses. However, a variety of shocks over the past two decades—including floods, severe droughts and a devastating AIDS epidemic—have led to a dramatic increase in the scale and scope of CRS' operations. Throughout these challenges, CRS has worked together with the local Church and development partners to deliver programs aimed at strengthening communities' capacity to withstand shocks and respond to the underlying causes of chronic hunger, poverty and ill health.