Information by Country

Angola: Background

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Few countries have endured like Angola. Forty years of almost continuous war devastated basic health and education services, attributed to one of the world’s worst child mortality rates, crippled capacity and productivity, and destroyed the social and economic fabric of society. Almost half of Angola’s children are out of school, 45 per cent suffer chronic malnutrition and a quarter of children die before their fifth birthday.

And so, following the signing of peace accords on 4 April 2002, agencies such as UNICEF have become an important plank in the platform of peace. For despite the enormity of the peacetime challenges now facing the government, UNICEF and the international community, Angola has the potential to enter a new phase of hope and renewal. The challenges are clear: create suitable conditions of resettlement for Angolans, reduce child mortality, advance child rights and restore systems of health and education across the country.

Two generations of Angolan children were lost as the country suffered decade after decade of civil war. But peace has brought great hope to Angolans. The challenge is to make it a peace worth living. UNICEF is supporting the national effort to rebuild systems across the country and 2003 saw the country’s biggest-ever health and education campaigns. The National Measles Campaign immunized 7.1 million Angolan children, while the Back to School campaign benefited 500,000 children.

However, the situation of children in Angola remains dire. There are as many landmines as children. A rising HIV/AIDS rate threatens all Angola’s recovery efforts, 40 per cent of the Angolan population do not have access to safe water, basic health services are devastated, and more than 1 million children remain out of school.

Expectations are high among the Angolan people. Sixty per cent of the population are children, keen for change and a better future. That future is now being written.


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