Explore Zambia

Find out some interesting facts, as well as about our history and programming in Zambia.

Introduction to Zambia

Zambia, officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in south-central Africa, surrounded by eight other countries. Approximately 17.1 million people live in an area around the same size as New South Wales.   

On its border with Zimbabwe, Zambia is home to the famous Victoria Falls. The world’s greatest waterfall is known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya – “the smoke that thunders”.    

Zambia’s official language is English. The two main local languages are Nyanja and Bemba, but there are 73 different languages in total.   

World Vision has been working in Zambia since 1981. Today, we work to improve the wellbeing of around two million people across 10 provinces.  

Interesting facts

Forget rainbows, what about moonbows?   

Our local staff tell us that a moonbow, or lunar rainbow, can occur at night at Victoria Falls. But it’s so rare they’ve seldom seen it.   

A moonbow happens when the moon’s light is reflected and refracted off water droplets in the air. Victoria Falls is one of few places on Earth where you can see one.   

The moon has to be low in the sky – no more than 42 degrees from the horizon. It must be full or near full, and the sky very dark. Finally, the water droplets in the air must be in the opposite direction of the moon.  

Check it out here – make sure you watch to the end!  

Tragedy and triumph for Zambia’s football team  

Football (soccer) is Zambia’s national sport. The men’s team is nicknamed the Chipolopolo (copper bullets).   

On 27 April 1993, during a promising run to qualify for the FIFA World Cup, their plane crashed in Gabon. All 30 passengers were killed, making it one of the worst tragedies in football history.    

Almost two decades later, Gabon was again the scene for another – much happier – chapter in Zambian football. As underdogs, the Chipolopolo won the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, defeating three-time finalists Ivory Coast in a penalty shootout to earn their first continental title.   

Fittingly, they dedicated their stunning win to the members of the 1993 team.    

Three Zambian children chase a football.

Children in Moyo, Zambia use a volleyball to play football.


The chitenge: an essential fashion item 

The chitenge is a traditional garment similar to a sarong. It’s used in many parts of Africa and is known as the kitenge in some countries.  

While it’s popular for everyday dress and formal occasions, it has many other uses. For example, mothers may use it as a sling to hold their baby or as a baby blanket. Several chitenge can be tied together as tablecloths or picnic blankets. They can also be hung on a wall as artwork or curtains.  

Zambian woman standing outside her shop wearing a chitenge.

Ruth, wearing a chitenge, outside her shop in Zambia’s Southern Province. She draws 800 litres of water from a nearby borehole every day, for home use and to make a non-alcoholic drink called chibwantu to sell at her shop. World Vision rehabilitated the borehole with support from UNICEF.

Try this at home

Here’s a recipe for nshima, a cornmeal porridge often dipped in relishes of meat, beans and vegetables.   

Nshima recipe

Nshima, a cornmeal porridge

World Vision in Zambia

With the help of our donors and supporters, we partner with communities in Zambia to address the causes and effects of poverty. We work to: 

  • improve the health, nutrition and hygiene of mothers and children; 
  • increase access to clean water and toilets; 
  • ensure all children gain a good education; 
  • help families grow their incomes; and 
  • protect children from harm.  

We have a special focus on the most vulnerable children, including those at risk of violence and those without a birth certificate. We also respond to emergencies, such as droughts and floods. 


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