Sightsavers in Zambia

We work with the government and partners in Zambia and countries across Africa to deliver vital charity work and make sure everyone can claim their rights.

Zambia is a large, land-locked country in south-central Africa that shares its border with eight nations.

The country has one of the largest and youngest urban populations in sub-Saharan Africa, with the majority of workers employed in agriculture or copper mining, which are Zambia’s main economic drivers.

While government-run health care services are free or heavily subsidised, people on lower incomes can struggle to afford medical care and those in rural areas face additional travel costs to reach their nearest doctor or hospital.

Despite the strains on the health care system, Zambia is making good progress in moving towards eliminating the infectious disease trachoma after several successful treatment campaigns.

In 2012, The Persons with Disabilities Act was passed to strengthen the remit of the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities and champion the rights of people with disabilities in all areas of life in Zambia.

Facts about Zambia

  • Population: 20 million
  • Capital: Lusaka
  • Official language: English
  • Human development index (HDI) ranking: 154 (medium)

In 2015, Zambia had just 30 ophthalmologists

10.9% of adults are thought to have a disability

People in rural areas are more likely to be disabled

Sources: IAPB, Zambia National Disability Survey

Some homes in Kalizya Village in Eastern Zambia.

What are the challenges in Zambia, and how can these be addressed?

Some homes in Kalizya Village in Eastern Zambia.

Eye care

Many people in rural areas of Zambia struggle to access basic eye care.

While many Zambians live below the poverty line, those in rural areas experience higher levels of inequality, particularly when it comes to health care. Our charity work in the country focuses on building inclusive eye care services so everyone can get the help they need.

Dr Ndalela examines a boy's eyes and applies ointment to ease the symptoms of trachoma.

Our eye care work in Zambia

Free eye screening

Regular screening can check people for eye conditions and refer them for treatment where needed, helping to reduce cases of avoidable blindness.
Learn about eye conditions we treat

Inclusive eye care

Our programmes target people living in rural areas where eye care services are scarce, with a focus on reaching women and people with disabilities.
Our inclusive eye health work


Collecting data about the causes and prevalence of visual impairment and blindness helps us learn where our support is needed.
About our in-house research team

Inclusion and equality

Not all Zambians can access opportunities equally.

People with disabilities and women and girls generally have lower levels of education, are less likely to be employed and have poorer health outcomes. Our charity work on disability rights in Zambia focuses on improving everyone’s access to health care, education and employment.

A young girl holding a football stands next to her aunt, who is crouching next to her.

Our inclusion work in Zambia

Inclusive education

Sightsavers works with local governments, schools and parents to make schools more inclusive and accessible for everyone.
Inclusive education in Zambia

Employment and training

We work with local businesses and organisations to provide training for people with disabilities so they have the skills they need to start their careers.
About inclusive employment

Working in partnership

We work with the government and partners like Zambia Federation of Disability Organisations (ZAFOD) to pool our expertise and ensure inclusion.

Five-year-old Langford and his mother Evelyn smile outside their home in Zambia.

“Sightsavers was able to provide transport and take Langford to have his cataract operation, so I’m very thankful.”

Five-year-old Langford and his mother Evelyn smile outside their home in Zambia.
Evelyn with her five-year-old son Langford, who was successfully treated for cataracts

How you can help

Our work in Zambia is helping to improve rural eye care services, but there’s still more we need to do.

With your support, we want to reach even more people in remote areas of the country and ensure everyone has the chance to go to school and get a job. To do this, we need your help.

Charity donations, legacies, corporate partnerships and gifts from charitable foundations are a vital source of funding for our programmes in Zambia. We also welcome opportunities to work in partnership with governments, institutions and development organisations.

Contact us: If you have any questions about our work in Zambia, would like more information about our programmes or wish to discuss ways you can donate or support us, email [email protected]

Latest stories from Zambia

Dr Ndalela examines a boy's eyes and applies ointment to ease the symptoms of trachoma.

Sightsavers awarded grant to help eliminate trachoma in Zambia

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded Sightsavers a grant of US$2.19 million to help fight the disease.

January 2024
A mother holds and looks at her young son as they stand in front of a brick wall.
Sightsavers from the field

Treating cataracts in Zambia: “I know their future is going to be bright”

Cataracts are the world’s leading cause of blindness. On World Sight Day, learn what Sightsavers is doing to protect the sight of children with cataracts in Zambia.

September 2023
John Chiti smiles while wearing sunglasses.

Sightsavers campaign ambassador inspires Netflix film about albinism

The film ‘Can You See Us?’ is based on the life of John Chiti, who is a Zambian albinism rights campaigner and Sightsavers’ ambassador for the African Disability Protocol campaign.

September 2023
Sightsavers from the field

How one project touched 34 million lives

As the 17-year-long Seeing is Believing project comes to an end, Imran Khan goes behind the scenes to reveal why it has made such an impact.

December 2020
A man sitting in a chair, holding a white cane.
Sightsavers blog

The white cane: from my adversary to my ally

"Had my white cane given me COVID-19? I began resenting it, but it was not possible to do away with it. The more ill I became, the more I needed it."

Sightsavers, October 2020
A group of students in blue uniforms, wearing paper masks on their heads.
Sightsavers from the field

How soap and superheroes are changing lives

Geordie Woods explains how the Super School of Five trachoma prevention programme is protecting school children from this devastating disease.

October 2019

Discover where Sightsavers works in Africa and Asia

Where we work