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As diverse as it is immense, the continent of Africa contains 54 independent nations, including the newest state in the world, South Sudan. Each country celebrates its own unique culture – rich traditions that have evolved over thousands of years, and that transcend borders and political systems.

Why we work in Africa

Africa is a continent of intellect, ancient language, vibrant colours, wild creatures and extreme landscapes. And with 47% of the population under the age of 18, the future of the continent really is in the hands of its youth1

As with every continent on earth, Africa faces both human-made and natural hazards. In Africa, these pose a risk to millions children and include drought, conflict, exploitation and a lack of basic services.

In many countries in Africa, especially those long-affected by conflict and a lack of sustainable development, children can be more likely to become ill from preventable diseases, malnutrition and – in extreme cases – starvation.

Girls and boys can be caught up in violent clashes, denied an education or forced into unpaid labour as a means of survival. Gender inequality means girls often bear the brunt of a low-resource environment, hindering their equitable access to education and control over their own bodies.

Being a child in parts of Africa sometimes means losing out on a childhood all together, as found in Save the Children’s 2017 Stolen Childhoods report, which lists 10 African nations as the places where childhood is most threatened.

Some of these issues are historical – colonial rule exploited resources and created social, economic and political upheaval, and some nations are still recovering from this time. Although many countries are peaceful, others have endured decades of political unrest and conflict. And in some places, drought and famine are a constant threat due to the combination of a harsh environment, climate change, conflict and weak governance.

Save the Children's work in Africa

As a global network, Save the Children has been working to improve the lives of children in Africa since 1963. We focus on reducing the underlying causes of poverty and improving health, education and access to food and water. In humanitarian emergencies, we deliver life-saving support, as well as protection and healing for girls and boys caught up in a crisis.

Take a look at how Save the Children is working towards ending child marriage in Ethiopia.

We are currently also providing life-saving food and treatment for malnourished children, as well as preventing illness in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. The region is in the grip of a hunger crisis which is placing more than one million children at risk of starvation across the region.

1 United Nations DESA Population 

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