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

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Zambia Baseline Survey - September 2003

Executive Summary

C-SAFE is a jointly planned and implemented response by World Vision, CARE and CRS to the current food security problems plaguing the three southern Africa countries of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, with World Vision serving as the lead. The C-SAFE Consortium represents the most significant collaborative initiative to date (both in scale and profile) embarked upon by these three largest American PVOs. The program itself is unique, in that it is neither exclusively emergency nor development oriented. Instead, C-SAFE works along the entire relief to development continuum, addressing the immediate nutritional needs of targeted vulnerable groups; as well as building productive assets and working with communities to increase their resilience to future food security shocks.

The development of the baseline survey began in March 2003. The baseline survey collected data on all outcome indicators listed in the M&E plan, as well as others, anticipating the need to measure the outcomes from future activities planned for Years 2 and 3. The main objectives of the baseline survey were 1) to establish baseline values of logical framework indicators against which future measurements of goal-related changes (e.g., practices and/or systemic changes) can be made and 2) to increase understanding of livelihood security factors impacting the lives of rural households. Other secondary objectives were 1) to identify groups and geographic areas where food and livelihood security may be low and 2) to gather and analyze information that will assist project staff in designing or modifying appropriate interventions or generate information for further refining the project logical framework.

Four survey zones were delineated based on a modification of food economy zones in Zambia. Each zone represented areas where C-SAFE is currently operational and will be operational in years two and three.

The Zambia survey includes a final sample on a total of 1663 households. Over 45% of the rural population sampled is 14 years of age or under. The average age of the head of household is 44.7 years, with the youngest reported as 10 years old and the oldest as 99 years old. Overall, 78.5 % of households are headed by a male member of the family and 21.5% are headed by a female member.

The major findings of the study include:

  1. Household sizes in Zambia tend to be quite large and in this survey averaged 6.6 individuals per household with a range from 1 to 40 individuals. Male-headed households average 7.0 individuals, significantly larger than the average of 5.4 individuals in female-headed households. Household size was lowest in Zones 3 and 4 as (6.2 and 5.8, respectively) and significantly higher in Zones 1 and 2 (7.6 and 7.0 respectively).

  2. Rural households have very few assets. In this survey, about 80% of households were classified as asset poor or very poor. Households with limited assets are vulnerable, not only because of their relative poverty, but also because they have few items to divest should they be forced to spend money on food or emergencies.

  3. The percentage of vulnerable households in the C-SAFE project areas is very high. One-third of rural households are hosting at least one orphan, and almost 11.0% of households are hosting double orphans. Female-headed households bear much of the burden in caring for orphans, with just over half of their households hosting at least one orphan child. Just over one-quarter of male households are doing the same. All survey zones have at least 25% of households hosting an orphan. In all, 7.8% of all children below 18 years of age included in the study are orphans with one parent deceased and the other living in the household. Another 6.4% are orphans with one parent deceased and the other living outside of the household.

  4. Chronically ill individuals were present in 30% of households surveyed, and only a small but significant difference exists between the percentage of chronically ill found in male versus female-headed households. Almost 21% of households include at least one chronically ill individual, while 11% include at least one disabled person. Chronic illness is having a severe impact on household food security. Although they have, on average, access to more land they have the largest gap between what they have access to and what they cultivate. This signals a labor shortage in these households, and more land is left fallow.

  5. Over 40% of asset rich households have a chronically ill member, the same percentage that host at least one orphan. Deaths rates in chronically ill households are higher, and the data reconfirms the notion that chronic illnesses are not diseases of the "poor." Only small and statistically non-significant differences are found among the four asset categories.

  6. The C-SAFE dependency ratio is 173, about 12% higher than the classical dependency ratio, reflecting the large number of dependents with respect to working members in rural Zambian households. The highest dependency ratio is for households hosting orphans at 211, followed by asset rich households at 211. Male-headed households and Zone 4 have the lowest dependency ratio, at 1659 and 134, respectively.

  7. Households with chronically ill members and those hosting orphans are equally likely to be found in any of the three dependency categories. This means that chronically ill and orphans are almost equally distributed among dependency category, and it is not possible to generalize that chronically ill are found, for example, in high dependency households.

  8. Out of 4,471 children aged 6 to 18 years old in the survey 21% have never been to school. Encouragingly, the attendance rate for male and female school-aged children does not significantly vary, and, the attendance rates for orphans, both males and females, are higher than in the general population.

  9. Asset values for both genders are heavily skewed towards low asset values, reflecting the impoverished conditions found in rural Zambia. However, even though the range of asset values is similar, the lower asset values for male-headed households are considerably higher than for female-headed households, which is why a higher percentage of female-headed households are found in the asset very poor category.

  10. The majority of households are engaged in agricultural activities. Only 6 households did not have access to land for the 2002-2003 cropping season. The average number of hectares accessible to households was 6.2, while the average number of hectares actually cultivated was less than half of what was accessible, or 2.5 hectares per household.

  11. HHs with high dependency ratios cultivate significantly less land than households with medium or low dependency. High dependency households often have more available labor for routine agricultural activities (e.g. - even if children are attending school they can supply labor at key points in the cropping cycle), but it the high dependency ratios are a result of high chronic illness, as is the case in Zambia, then the household has not only lost labor, but it has probably lost some one of its productive members.

  12. Male-headed households dominate non-cereal production, and average almost four times the number of kgs as female-headed households. Zonal differences were significant, with Zone 4 producing far less than any other Zone, averaging a mere 170 kgs per household. In contrast, Zone 2 households averaged more than ten times this amount, or 1,768 kgs per household. Zone 1 had the next highest average production, at just over 1,000 kgs per household.

  13. Households in rural Zambia are very food insecure. Households in general expect that the current harvest will be about one-half of what they normally obtain through cropping activities. This trend is similar for every household type analyzed, and demonstrates that food security problems in Zambia are widespread and impact on many livelihoods.

  14. Almost 40% of asset poor households spend 75% or more of their household income on food. This is significantly more than asset intermediate households and asset rich households.

  15. Food aid is an important source of calories for many rural Zambian households. Almost 90% of households have benefited from food aid, mostly through general feeding. Less than 2% of households reported benefiting from pregnant/lactating women feeding programs, malnutrition feeding, or feeding for chronically ill. Food-for-work programs resulted in food for 11.3% of the survey households. Food aid was received by about the same percentage of households irrespective of their vulnerability category. The average number of months food aid has been received was fairly uniform at about 3.6 months per household.

  16. During the previous year, 18% of households experienced at least one death. The average age of death was 25.5 years old. In just over half of all deaths, the individual was ill for more than three months. All vulnerable household categories had at least one death at a significantly higher rate than the general survey population, averaging about one in four to one in five, or 20- 25%, for most vulnerable groups.

  17. Households with chronically ill members have a significantly higher coping strategy index (85.0) than other vulnerable household types and non-vulnerable households. Male and female-headed households have no significant difference in their CSI score. Asset very poor and asset poor households have significantly higher CSIs than other asset categories.
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