We Effect in Mozambique
In Mozambique, We Effect is running two programmes focusing on civil society, natural resources and land rights. An increasing number of large-scale investments is having an impact on access to land and other natural resources. The ability of small-scale farmers to defend their interests and rights is therefore an urgent matter. Our support is used for many activities, one of which is to provide people living in poverty with knowledge of their rights and spaces for local participation to enable them to improve their ability to influence decision-makers. Our partner organisations ensure that small-scale farmers, with a specific focus on households headed by women, get access to the rights and benefits in the public agricultural policies. Increased capacity in our partner organizations also improves their opportunities to negotiate with private investors. Study circles give farmers access to new knowledge, which enables them to develop their farming.
Regional initiatives in Mozambique
The rural development programme aims to enable small-scale farmers to address their needs and rights through the empowerment of their farmer’s organisations. The focus area of the programme is to promote rural development focusing on sustainable agriculture, food security and local business development.
The existing inequalities between women and men in Southern Africa results in significant differences in livelihood opportunities and outcomes. An equal society, in which women and men have an equal say, is fundamental to all our areas of work. Through our gender programme, We Effect works with gender equality through all our partners.
Our regional study circle centre, based in Lusaka, provides farmers with access to new knowledge, which enables them to boost their harvests, learn organic farming techniques, find new markets and develop new sources of income.
The spread of HIV is partly an effect of poverty. At the same time it aggravates poverty – both for the ones that are affected and the society as a whole. It is for this reason that sensitization initiatives to prevent the spread of HIV and reduce the stigma attached to the disease are part of everything we do.
Our country office in Mozambique is located in Maputo. We also have an office in Lichinga.
Commitment that changes lives in Mozambique
”Women can come to our association for support and advice. We can use the radio to reach those women who cannot leave home,” says Catarina.
Catarina Mateus lives in the town of Macanhelas in Niassa, the poorest and most remote province in Mozambique. She lost her husband two years ago. Through her involvement as coordinator of the women’s association Apromm she has both inspired the other women in the village and changed her own life. ”Since joining Apromm I now feel able to trust my own instincts and my capacity.” Getting the children ready for school, farming, cooking and finding time for her work with the association means long days for Catarina. She dreams of one day becoming a doctor, which is why she has begun studying in the evenings to pass her secondary school exams. ”I know through my involvement in Apromm that it is possible to change your life.”
Fact about Mozambique
Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world; large groups of the population live in conditions of extreme poverty. After almost 500 years as a Portuguese colony, Mozambique gained independence in 1975 at the end of a two-year war. Independence was followed by a civil war lasting 15 years, which cost the lives of nearly one million people.
The majority of the population live off the land. The previously state-owned agricultural land has been divided up into smaller units and is now privately owned. Land grabbing is a major problem in the country, with many farmers being evicted from their land by big companies. The lack of infrastructure makes life difficult for the country’s farmers; bad roads make it hard to reach markets. Over the past few years the country has also been severely affected by periods of drought and heavy flooding. Despite this, agriculture now accounts for a third of GDP. Fishing is a significant export industry. The country is also rich in minerals and metals.
Women are well represented in the formal political system; almost 40 percent of MPs are women. The civil war, which led to the deaths of many men, coupled with the fact that many men have travelled to South Africa as foreign workers, means that it is often women who have sole responsibility for farming and the home. Women’s right to be heard is extremely limited in the informal sector. Violence against women is commonplace.