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Country analysis > Zambia Last update: 2020-11-27  

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HIV Aids and gender impact report

Zambia Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives

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Poverty continues to be an endemic problem in Zambia. According to the Living Conditions Monitoring Survey of 1998, 73 percent of the population are classified as living in poverty. Furthermore, poverty is more prevalent in rural areas (where it affects 83 percent of the population) than urban ones (56 percent). Poverty has existed for a long time in Zambia, but it is clear that diseases, including HIV/AIDS, have exacerbated it by contributing to decreased agricultural productivity and increased household food insecurity. In fact, HIV/AIDS is eroding households’ ability to avail themselves of opportunities to strengthen their economies. Northern Province has a predominately rural population (85 percent) for whom chronic poverty continues to undermine all aspects of development at the community and household levels. Such poverty is deepened by the impacts of HIV/AIDS.

Currently, it is estimated that 16 percent of the population of Zambia aged between 15 and 49 years is HIV-positive (CSO, 2000). The AIDS endemic had left an estimated 600 000 orphans by 2000, and it is projected that 974 000 children will be orphaned by 2014 (TNDP, 2003). HIV/AIDS affects both sexes, but is not gender neutral. Women are biologically more susceptible to contracting HIV in one sexual encounter than men are. Moreover, HIV/AIDS worsens gender-based differences in access to land and other productive resources such as labour, technology, credit and water. In Zambia, women and youth contribute 70 percent of agricultural labour, but they have little access to productive assets and are marginalized in the decisionmaking processes at both the household and community levels. These gender differences become more acute when productive resources are eroded, making female- and youth-headed households the most vulnerable of the rural poor. HIV/AIDS has no age boundaries, and the loss of adult labour has forced families to withdraw older children from school so that they can take care of younger siblings and/or help in food production.

It is against this background that Development Cooperation Ireland (DCI), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Zambia, through its Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MACO), conducted a household livelihood research in order to gain a better understanding of the dynamics affecting assets and livelihood strategies that are induced by the presence of HIV/AIDS in communities and households in Northern Province.

The household livelihood research is part of the Improving Livelihoods of HIV/AIDS-Affected Households in Northern Province (ILOHAH) project and was undertaken over a total period of eight months. The research was guided by FAO headquarters and a Project Steering Committee on HIV/AIDS and Rural Livelihoods, which comprises representatives from FAO-Zambia, DCI, the Zambian Government, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and the Northern Province HIV/AIDS Task Force. The research was implemented in two stages. First, participatory livelihood analysis was conducted in order to develop a broad understanding of the dynamics in the assets and livelihood strategies of HIV/AIDS-affected households in Northern Province and to identify appropriate livelihood interventions. Information for the various livelihood components was collected through qualitative household, focus group and key informant interviews. After completing the qualitative livelihood analysis and identifying possible livelihood interventions, quantitative household baseline data were collected for selected parameters to support the qualitative findings and to be used for future monitoring purposes.

This report summarizes the findings of the household livelihood research and comprises two sections. Section A presents the results from the participatory livelihood analysis and includes information on the macro-factors that influence livelihoods in Northern Province (Chapter 2), asset dynamics induced by HIV/AIDS (Chapter 3), household livelihood strategies and responses to HIV/AIDS (Chapter 4), and livelihood outcomes (Chapter 5). Section B describes findings from the quantitative household baseline survey and includes sections on household demographics, adult morbidity and mortality, property grabbing, education/school drop-outs, household resource bases, livelihood strategies, land and crop husbandry, and livelihood outcomes.

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