Zambia has experienced recent economic growth, yet remains among the countries with the highest rates of inequality in the world. Three-quarters of Zambians living in poverty are rural subsistence farmers.*
Zambia has been a multi-party democracy since the 1990s, and is considered a stable nation with democratic elections every five years. It is ranked as a lower middle-income country based on its GDP, but struggles with extreme rural poverty, high birth rates and a relatively high HIV/AIDS burden. Additionally, growing government debt has become an issue as the price of copper, Zambia’s main export, have fallen and the lack of its economic diversity has left it vulnerable to economic shocks.
Our work in Zambia
In Africa, The Hunger Project works to build sustainable community-based programs using the Epicenter Strategy, an integrated approach to rural development. The epicenter is a dynamic center of community mobilization and action, as well as an actual facility built by community members. Through the Epicenter Strategy, 15,000-25,000 people are brought together as a cluster of rural villages, giving villages more clout with local government than a single village is likely to have while also increasing a community’s ability to collectively utilize resources. The epicenter building serves as a focal point where the motivation, energies and leadership of the people converge with the resources of local government and non-governmental organizations. Over an eight-year period, an epicenter addresses hunger and poverty and moves along a path toward sustainable self-reliance, at which point it is able to fund its own activities and no longer requires financial investment from The Hunger Project.
The Hunger Project has been working in Zambia since 2018 and is in the process of launching its first epicenter in the country as part of its Southern Africa Region. Mlawe Epicenter will serve an area with five villages and a total population of approximately 16,000 people. Through the Epicenter Strategy, The Hunger Project is working with community partners to successfully access the basic services needed to lead lives of self-reliance and achieve internationally agreed upon markers of success, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.