Since 1998, VSO has been supporting the country's development of education, health and livelihoods by placing committed and skilled volunteers in the field to identify problems, innovate and find sustainable solutions.
We promote active citizenship and support youth and adolescents to improve service delivery, infrastructure and knowledge sharing. We work with communities to build engagement, improve skills and increase accountability.
In 2017-18, training to improve knowledge of gender and social inclusion reached 11 provinces and 134 districts.
Over 6,000 people have benefited from access to electricity provided by VSO-supported energy projects.
526 local volunteers representing 11 provinces and 139 districts participated disaster preparedness training.
Our response to Cyclone Idai
Cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique on 14 March 2019, affecting communities we work with in Manica Province, where over 260,000 people have been impacted.
We immediately joined emergency relief efforts, working alongside other organisations to identify and meet communities’ urgent needs. As well as distributing food aid across Manica Province, our in-country staff and community volunteers - 750 of whom are trained in disaster-readiness - have come together to support the packing of emergency supplies for Beira City, where an estimated 11,000 homes were destroyed.
To date, we have reached over 2,000 families and 13,600 people.
Empowering Adolescent Girls to Learn and Earn
With VSO partner, Handicap International, we're working to increase access to education, improve literacy and numeracy and enhance economic empowerment for out-of-school girls and young women ages 15-19.
This project targets marginalised girls that have had no previous schooling, dropped out of school, or failed to achieve basic numeracy and literacy skills in primary school in Manica and Sofala provinces.
This project supports girls:
- Access accelerated literacy and numeracy classes that are age, gender and disability appropriate.
- Attain basic reading and writing skills to support the development of business and life skills for income-generating opportunities.
- Gain community support for their education and economic empowerment.
The programme primarily focusses on girls and young women that are married with children, living with disabilities and/or affected by HIV and AIDS.
Skills development programmes will be implemented by trained teachers in the areas of literacy, numeracy, business and on sexual health and rights.
This initiative works with local education organizations to establish “mobile” learning centers and train teachers as well as protection committees and local government coordination groups to support girls with their service and resource needs to successfully partake in school.
Girls' education challenge
Generations of Mozambican girls have suffered from a system that prioritises the education of boys. Girls are less likely to complete primary school, and far fewer women are able to read and write than their male counterparts.
Since 2001, VSO has been supporting the government and local partners to improve the quality of education in Mozambique amid significant challenges: high drop-out rates, rampant teacher absenteeism and lack of resources including facilities and teaching and learning materials.
With our aim of serving the most marginalised people in society, VSO is focusing on girls in its education programme in Mozambique. The Girls' Education Challenge creates an enabling, gender-sensitive school and community environment.
As part of the project, community radio, operated by 'lead girls' engages communities on the topic of girls' education across seven districts of Manica province.
The programmes are hosted by the 'lead girls' and disseminate information on barriers to girls' education, such as household chores, early marriages, community perception, violence in schools and in the community. The information is delivered through a variety of mediums, including debates, dramas, and news features.
One fifteen-year-old girl was brought back to school after our intervention. The messages spread during community radio debates contributed to the identification of the girl who had dropped out of school, and eventually the radio team and community leadership helped her return to school.
Chipungabira Community Radio coordinator
- 234 teachers and 663 school council members trained in gender responsive training curriculums
- Reached 6,855 marginalised school-age girls, 975 parents and out-of-school girls, and 50,000 community members across 39 schools and 71 girls' clubs
- Our Girls Education Challenge reached 5418 girls at risk of dropping out of school in lower primary school, including 297 with disabilities, 1080 orphaned, 2725 from poor families and 1388 living in remote isolated areas that are very far from the nearest school.
- Over 85% of the targeted girls receiving peer support from lead girls now believe that it is important to complete their education
Phoning Out of Poverty and AIDS
At least 30,000 Mozambicans work in the mines of South Africa. The work is dangerous. Men who work as miners are vulnerable to injuries and fatal accidents. More than one in five (22%) are infected by HIV.
All of this has a big impact on their families. Many women are widowed and young women are forced by circumstance to become breadwinners in spite of having few marketable skills.
Through VSO's ‘Phoning Out of Poverty and AIDS’ project in Mozambique,
- 297 women have been supported to improve their income,
- 207 women have been trained as HIV and AIDS caregivers
- 4650 people are more aware of how to stop the spread of HIV
Find out more about the Phoning Out of Poverty and AIDS project
Adapting to a changing climate
Mozambique ranks third among African countries most exposed to multiple weather-related hazards and suffers from periodic cyclones, droughts, floods, and related epidemics.
National priorities for the government of Mozambique now includes disaster risk management and improvement of climate resilience.
In 2017-18, consideration of national priorities, training on disaster preparedness was conducted in three major cities, and 526 volunteers participated in the training with aim to cascaded the training further in their respective communities and association.
Further initiatives include the training of adaptive farming methods as well as alternative income sources to enable poor communities to ensure a secure source of food and income in the face of adverse climate conditions.
Access to electricity
For the past 5 years VSO Mozambique through the Chitunga Micro-hydro Project in Manica province has connected a rural Mozambican community to a reliable source of energy.
This has contributed to the improvement of social economic conditions among the locals and reduced dependence on environmentally damaging fuel sources. In its second phase alone the project delivered hydroelectricity to 100 households, 37 small businesses, including a primary school, a clinic, an energy centre, and a local cell phone tower.
In 2016 an energy centre facilitating the charging of batteries was constructed and over 6000 inhabitants begun to benefit from the power plant.
There is now street lighting, which improves safety and less time spent by locals collecting fire wood.
The availability of electricity also meant ability to extend the life of fresh produce and meats through refrigeration. Light in the local school and homes allows children to do homework in the evenings - The Chitunga primary school was able to begin evening classes in 2017 bringing on board 1050 more students.
We could not have increased our tea Room business to satisfy our clients and the group of 10 association members if we didn’t have electricity
Sra. Maria Henriques Nesbet – President of a Women’s Association.
Better sexual and reproductive health
Mozambicans' access to basic social services remains low, with an impact on public health. HIV prevalence remains high at 11.5%, with youth aged 15-19 accounting more than half of the total. In certain regions of the country, rates are as high as 17%.
Young people are especially vulnerable. Stigma and discrimination often prevent them from accessing a range of essential SRH services and rights. In places like Manica, where VSO currently works, 58% of girls are married and 45.9% are pregnant before the age of 18.
In Mozambique, VSO's programme tackles HIV prevention and SRH; economic empowerment if women and girls; and evidence-based advocacy to promote a policy environment conducive to women and girls.
Working in six districts, our Gender Empowerment and Development to Enhance Rights (GENDER) project has so far:
- Equipped 389 women, 540 girls and 973 additional community members with HIV prevention and sexual & reproductive health knowledge, contributing to increased uptake of HIV and AIDS prevention and relevant services.
- Referred 361 young people to youth friendly services at the health centre
- Provided coaching and mentoring to four local partners, now supported to continue community interventions and advocacy efforts as the project implementation period concludes
Volunteering for Development programme
The Volunteering for Development programme, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) works to improve quality and access to health and education services as well as livelihood opportunities for the most poor and vulnerable.
The grant recognises VSO's extensive experience of putting volunteers in the right places to tackle poverty and inequality. Find out more
What makes VSO unique in Mozambique?
We believe that it is only possible to achieve meaningful and lasting change when the right people with the right skills are brought together at the right time. VSO facilitates this knowledge and skills sharing, harnessing hard and soft skills through partnerships and the spirit of volunteerism. We work within a variety of contexts, and within a given context, at all levels of society fostering and strengthening interplay between key stakeholders – from government Ministries to small community based organisations to private sector and entrepreneurs, sex workers, mineworkers, health workers, teachers, parents and young people.
VSO's valued funding partners include:
- Bentley Foundation
- BIG Lottery Fund
- Global Affairs Canada
- International Organisation for Migration
- MEDICOR Foundation
- Guernsey Overseas Aid
Interested in finding out more about our work in Mozambique? We’d love to hear from you.
Address: VSO Mozambique, Av. Julius Nyerere, No. 1593, Maputo, Mozambique, P.O. Box 902
Tel: +258 21 497 651
Interested in volunteering?
Find out more about volunteering in Mozambique