Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
Although Swaziland is no longer an absolute monarchy, the transition to constitutional government is far from complete. USAID works with Freedom House to encourage respect for democratic ideals and show how democracy and justice can benefit the whole society. Activities include training lawyers on human rights laws and supporting civil society organizations that work on human rights issues.
Economic Growth & Trade
The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Swaziland has contributed to high numbers of vulnerable women, orphans and children. We work with several partners to help women and children make the money they need to survive. We provide training in microenterprise and business development and increase access to vocational and technical schools. An important component of this program is ensuring access to savings opportunities and legally protecting the assets of women, who often lose property to male relatives. The Swazi organizations that help to implement this program gain skills that allow them to continue to support vulnerable women and children after the project is complete.
In an effort to relieve the poverty in which most Swazis live, we support the creation and growth of small and medium sized enterprises. We help these businesses get loans, technical assistance and training. We also support business associations and help smaller enterprises cooperate with large businesses.
We fund the Southern Africa Trade Hub, a central point of access to international markets and business resources that benefits all countries in the region, including Swaziland. In addition to the improving food security, the trade hub contributes to the development of clean energy infrastructure and encourages private sector investments in regional businesses.
In Swaziland specifically, the Southern Africa Trade Hub supports efforts to simplify customs regulations and make Swaziland more attractive for investors. We also provide support to the Swazi garment sector and promote the use of renewable energy sources.
In addition, we support a regional policy network that encourages better policies regarding food, agriculture and national resources in Southern Africa.
Combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Swaziland is a top priority. Over one-quarter of adults are infected with HIV, an estimated 40 percent of pregnant women are infected, and AIDS is the leading cause of death among children under 5 years old. In partnership with the President’s Emergency Plan for HIV /AIDS and the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland, USAID works to address HIV/AIDS in five key areas:
- Preventing sexual transmission: Working with various local and international partners, we distribute condoms and provide HIV counseling and testing. We also engage in longer-term efforts such as encouraging strong leadership for HIV prevention and encouraging everyone in the country to protect themselves.
- Increasing the prevalence of male circumcision: Because male circumcision greatly decreases the risk of HIV infection among heterosexual males, USAID is working to encourage safe circumcisions performed by health professionals.
- Improving institutions and training people: USAID works to improve the ability of organizations and government agencies to provide effective, high-quality services. We provide training to people involved in healthcare at various levels, including policy-making, management and service delivery.
- Lessening the impact of HIV/AIDS: In conjunction with HIV testing programs, we refer people who test positive to appropriate care. We also focus on expanding medical services to prevent HIV-positive mothers from passing the virus to their children during childbirth.
- Decentralizing care and treatment. USAID supports the expansion of basic health, education and psychosocial support services through the establishment of Neighborhood Care Points. This program includes assisting in planning for a stronger child protection system.
The rural poor in Swaziland are particularly vulnerable to climate change. They depend on reliable access to clean water for survival. In partnership with the Ministry of Education, NGOs, schools and communities, USAID is implementing a comprehensive water program. It focuses on improving water collection, storage, and sanitation in schools.
Last updated: January 24, 2014