South Africa | ActionAid UK

South Africa

  • 100
    6.5 million people are living with HIV/AIDS – more than any other country
  • 100
    An estimated 500,000 women are raped every year
  • 100
    Over 650,000 children of primary school age do not go to school

South Africa has the second highest rate of AIDS deaths in the world. Teenage girls and young women are most at risk of HIV infection, which is due in part to the high levels of sexual violence they face.

Poverty is a huge barrier to education for many children in South Africa, particularly girls, who often need to support their families to earn a living instead of going to school. Teenage pregnancy is a significant problem for young girls - one in three girls fall pregnant before they are 20. 

What we do in South Africa

We’re tackling HIV/AIDS in South Africa by setting up information clubs
 in schools for children to learn about HIV prevention. We also work with women’s organisations across South Africa, to build support networks for those affected by the virus.

Teenage girls and young women are most at risk of infection, partly because of the high level of sexual violence that they face. Our Safe Cities for Women programme empowers women to speak out about sexual harassment and abuse, and to campaign for safer living conditions.

To improve food security in areas that suffer frequent drought, we train farmers how to conserve water and soil, to develop lasting skills within the community. We provide the most vulnerable families with seeds, fertiliser and tools so that they can grow enough food throughout the year.

We support thousands of pupils with uniforms and stationery packs. Girls who fall pregnant as teenagers often struggle to finish their eduaction, so we campaign to ensure they can stay in school. We set up girls' clubs in schools across the country where girls can support each other and discuss issues that are affect their daily lives. We also provide funding for new classrooms and toilets, and equip pre-schools with playground equipment. 

How we’re changing lives for good in South Africa

Top image: Friends and team mates from the ActionAid-supported Khubvi girls' football club in South Africa celebrate their winning goal. Zute & Demelza Lightfoot/ActionAid