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"Girls in Angola"

Angola, 17 July 2008
Toddler girls mix dirt and water for a make-believe meal in the Kikolo neighbourhood in Luanda Province, about 15 kilometres from Luanda, the capital.
photo: UNICEF/ HQ07-1773/Christine Nesbitt

In 2007 in Angola, strong economic growth has led to greater government investment in social sectors, including an estimated US $1.75 million for education. However, nearly 30 years of armed conflict (which ended in 2002) destroyed basic infrastructure and severely limited social services for large parts of the population – more than half of whom are children. Child and maternal mortality are high, chronic malnutrition affects more than one-third of all children, and easily preventable diseases are responsible for a large number of child deaths. An estimated 8.5 million people lack access to safe water and 10.5 million are without sanitation.

In education, while gross enrolment rates have increased steadily since 2000, drop-out and repetition rates remain high and completion rates in 2003 were only 36 per cent. Girls’ enrolment and retention pose major challenges. Despite these constraints, a joint Ministry of Health, UNICEF, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and World Health Organization (WHO) plan for integrated accelerated child survival and development interventions is proceeding. A decree providing free birth registration for children up to age five and free identity cards for children 8 to 11 years old was also adopted this year. Angola is one of six countries participating in the Schools for Africa campaign to accelerate basic education access, with a special focus on girls, orphans and other vulnerable children.

Working with the Government, other UN organizations and partners, UNICEF supports health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS and water and sanitation initiatives, as well as education and child protection programmes. Education assistance includes teacher-training on child-centred methods; catch-up curriculum development; non-formal education projects for vulnerable children; and emergency-response interventions.

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