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Start Strong: Zambia

Key Club International is proud to support UNICEF USA on Start Strong: Zambia. Members around the world are raising money to help young children in Zambia, a southeastern African nation, have the best start at life possible.

Through early childhood, the brain grows at an amazing rate, with 90% of its development completed by age 5. But in Zambia, three out of four first-grade students aren’t ready for school because they haven’t received proper nutrition, health care and learning opportunities.

You’ll be proud to know Key Club is making a difference by supporting UNICEF efforts to:

  • Build innovative community centers called Insakas with spaces for children to learn and play, a community kitchen, playground, water and sanitation facilities and a vegetable garden.
  • Train community-based volunteers, health care providers and teachers to work with parents to create nurturing and stimulating environments for young children.
  • Provide age-appropriate toys such as blocks, stringing beads and books to encourage development and strengthen bonds between parents and children.

Key Club is excited to welcome Builders Club as partners in raising money and awareness for this cause!

Thanks to you, children in Zambia will grow up happier, healthier and better educated. And you won’t just be helping these children — you’ll be creating long-term change in an entire country.

UNICEF Champions

This year, Key Club has identified a special cohort of members to serve as UNICEF Champions. Each district has a champion who will be responsible for leading and educating members on the Start Strong: Zambia project and fundraising opportunities to raise critical resources so that children in Zambia have the best start in life.

Learn more

UNICEF Champions will serve as resources for their peers and school communities regarding UNICEF program knowledge and fundraising planning. Reach out to your district governor for the name of your champion.


  • Inspire, develop and empower key influencers/leaders within the Key Club community to own the Start Strong: Zambia project.
  • Educate peers about the program.
  • Encourage fundraising.


Every year, each district will choose one champion. The Key Club International Board will coordinate and direct the district champions.


  • Act as the knowledge hub and leader to the UNICEF project.
  • Promote and educate members on the project using newsletters, social media, and presentations at meetings/events.
  • Encourage fundraising by coordinating fundraisers and events, friendly competitions within districts, and sharing good ideas and lessons learned.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will Start Strong: Zambia do?

Most children in Zambia face a tough start in life. One in three children’s growth is stunted due to a lack of proper nutrition and health care. And while many of you attended preschool, seven out of 10 children in Zambia have no early learning experience when they start school.

Your efforts will help pioneer innovative, community-based solutions that will improve children’s lives and lift entire communities.

UNICEF has partnered with the Zambian government to build Insaka centers in Zambia. (Insaka means a place to gather and exchange ideas.) The Insaka hubs will be constructed using local and environmentally sustainable materials. Each hub will include a public hall, spaces for children to learn and play, a community kitchen, a playground, sanitation facilities and a vegetable garden.

In addition to building the insakas, your fundraising will help support home visits from trained volunteers who can offer ideas on nurturing caregiving and provide regular health care.

Because of you, new opportunities are being created that cover the full scope of a child’s life and help tackle the most critical issues facing young children across Zambia.

Why this project?

After The Eliminate Project concluded, the Key Club International Board of Trustees reviewed ideas for our next partnership with UNICEF USA. Key Club district governors had the opportunity to learn about several potential projects before voting on the project that Key Club International will support. This project stood out because it closely relates to Key Club’s Core Values and Objectives and supports the Kiwanis family work in the areas of health and nutrition, education and literacy and youth leadership development.

What can you tell me about Zambia?

More than half of Zambia’s population of 19.5 million is younger than 18, making it one of the world’s most youthful countries. About 54% of its population lives below the nation’s poverty line and four out of 10 children lack access to proper nutrition, education, health care, housing and sanitation. Zambia also has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations, with the United Nations projecting its population will triple by 2050.

Zambia consists of more than 70 ethnic groups, although most speak Bantu. Known as Northern Rhodesia from 1911 to 1964, it was renamed Zambia upon receiving independence from British rule. Unlike many neighbors, it has reputation for political stability.

Located in southeastern Africa, Zambia is a landlocked country with rugged terrain and diverse wildlife. On its border with Zimbabwe is the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls — indigenously called Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “Smoke That Thunders.” At 350 feet, it is 45 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty and twice as high as Niagara Falls.

Zambia’s natural wonders and wildlife make tourism a major and growing industry. Zambia is home to lions, leopards, elephants, African buffalo, hippos, crocodiles and hyenas, although most are only found in protected national parks.

What is UNICEF?

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF and Key Club have been partners for decades. Together, our organizations have collaborated on efforts to protect mothers and babies from maternal and neonatal tetanus, as well as our expansive efforts in the ’90s that raised more than US$1.2 million to fight iodine deficiency disorders. In the early 2000s, we raised $1.3 million to fight HIV/AIDs in Swaziland. Through these projects, we’ve made an impact on millions of lives across the globe.


UNICEF USA advances the global mission of UNICEF by rallying the American public to support the world’s most vulnerable children. UNICEF USA’s mission is to relentlessly pursue an equitable world for every child.

What is Key Club’s relationship with UNICEF?

UNICEF and Key Club have been partners for decades. Together, our organizations have collaborated on efforts to protect mothers and babies from maternal and neonatal tetanus, as well as our expansive efforts in the ’90s to fight iodine deficiency disorders. Through these projects, we’ve made an impact on millions of lives across the globe.


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