Mozambique is a country on Africa’s Southeast coast. Although its economy is growing strongly, the country remains one of the poorest in the world. Caritas Australia is working to improve farming methods and support rural communities.
Why do we work in Mozambique?
Mozambique’s economy has grown strongly after a fifteen-year civil war ended in 1992. Yet Mozambique remains one of the poorest countries in the world measured by GDP per capita. Mozambique’s development indicators paint a picture of persistent poverty:
- Compared with other countries, life expectancy is low, maternal and infant mortality rates are high.
- Less than half of Mozambicans have access to safe drinking water, so infection rates from food and water-borne diseases are high.
- Mozambique has one of the highest HIV/AIDs infection rates in the world.
- Access to medical facilities is poor in rural areas.
- Just half of Mozambican adults can read and write.
There are signs that some development indicators are improving. Infant mortality has declined from pre-2000 levels. Maternal mortality rates dropped between 2008 and 2010. According to the World Bank, 3 million people were lifted out of poverty between 1996 and 2008.
Despite these improvements, Mozambique’s rural areas remain vulnerable. The majority of Mozambicans work in agriculture. But, with limited irrigation infrastructure, farming relies heavily on rainfall. This makes Mozambique’s farmers susceptible to the region’s fluctuating weather: drought, cyclones and flooding have devastated crops and farmers’ livelihoods.
For this reason, much of Caritas Australia’s work centres on helping rural communities.
Our work in Mozambique
Through In 2011/12 Caritas Australia implemented 4 programs through 4 local partners in Mozambique. We worked on a range of issues such as access to clean water, sanitation, food security, HIV/AIDS, orphans and vulnerable children, and local advocacy.
Examples of our recent work
- In the Namaacha and Radio Tecnica regions of Mozambique, our integrated community development program improves food security and access to safe drinking water for the most vulnerable people, including people forced from their homes, orphans and vulnerable children, and those affected by HIV/AIDS. The program also provides training in agriculture, home-based care, sewing and embroidery, and HIV/AIDS and other health issues. Under the program, vulnerable children receive psycho-social and emotional support, nutritional support, after-school tuition and skills development. The project has proved effective in protecting children from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence.
- In the Chokwe district our integrated rural development program has dramatically improved access to clean water and safe sanitary facilities for more than 2,000 people. In 2011/12, ten water points were rehabilitated, 25 latrines constructed and 6,500 families taught about safe hygiene practices.
- Caritas Australia is helping Muslim and Christian Faith Based Organisations advocate effectively with local authorities over local planning and budgeting decisions. The aim is to make planning and resource allocation more responsive to the needs of the poorest; planning that respects human rights, treats vulnerable people with dignity, and gives the poor a say in decisions that affect their lives.