Kindernothilfe. Working together.

The cradle of humanity challenged by poverty and a continent with the greatest potential – helping children in Africa

Africa is the cradle of humanity, but today it is unfortunately also the world's poorest continent. Colonialism, civil wars, corruption and unfair trading conditions have been particularly devastating for the sub-Saharan regions. Nearly 50 percent of the population there lives below the poverty line and has to try to make a living on less than $1.25 a day.

This dire poverty has many serious consequences, especially for children. Ten percent of girls and boys die before the age of five, and six percent don't even live to see their first birthday. Twenty-six million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV, including three million children.

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HIV and hunger, but also hope

A good education is one of the most important means of improving one's standing in life, is in short supply in Africa. Only 30 percent of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 can read and write. Only one in three children attend school. Instead, 27 percent of children have to work to help their families survive.

One particularly pressing problem in sub-Saharan Africa is the brutal tradition of genital mutilation: forty percent of women are circumcised; and this figure is even reached 97 percent in Somalia. Children suffer from many other forms of violence and exploitation, ranging from early marriage and sexual violence to being sold into slavery or the sex trade.

But there is also hope. Many of Africa's problems have been alleviated in recent decades. The mortality rate of children under the age of five, for instance, has been nearly halved since 1990. Improvements in health care and educational opportunities have been introduced.

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Our work in Africa

As in Asia and Latin America, we work hand-in-hand with local partners to combat the most severe child rights violations and their causes. We tackle complex problems with comprehensive projects for community development and with self-help programmes. We support children and their families socially, economically and politically so they can tap into their own huge potential – a potential that is shared by all people, even the poorest and supposedly weakest members of society, as proven by our many successes to date.


Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. We are mobilising people’s ability to help themselves, especially women.


Swaziland has the highest HIV rate in the world. One out of every five children is an orphan. We encourage people to combat poverty in self-help groups and give orphans a home.

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Enock Dlamini: The situation of children in Eswatini


Hunger, genital mutilation, a lack of educational opportunities – these are only some of the problems afflicting children in Ethiopia. We are committed to protecting children, fostering their education and promoting sustainable agriculture.

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More than half of the population of Kenya lives in poverty. We are committed to ensuring that girls and boys grow up without being held back by poverty.

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An HIV/AIDS education programme, educational opportunities for children and self-help groups are just some of our focal points in Malawi. You can find out more about the situation and our work in the country here.

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Malawi: When the village is involved, education works out

Malawi: Bullying at school and violence at home

Malawi: Trouble with the Child Rights Council if you don't send your child to school


Rwanda is still struggling to come to terms with the consequences of the genocide in the 1990s. In self-help groups victims and perpetrators work together to overcome poverty and the trauma of the atrocities committed.

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Project: Self-help groups


Uganda's economy is booming, but the country's poor have hardly benefited from this upswing. Our projects pave the way for children and their families to free themselves from poverty.

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South Africa

South Africa has made enormous progress in recent years. But the daily life of the black population is still marred by poverty, unemployment, HIV/AIDS and a lack of educational opportunities.

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Zambia has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world. We are working to combat poverty, child labour, malnourishment and the spread of AIDS.

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Zimbabwe has one of the highest AIDS prevalence rates in the world. 1 million children are orphans. Our work focuses on educating and supporting orphans.

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