- Focus areas of our work
- How we work
- Countries we work in
- Examples and results
- The organisation
Our work in Mozambique
MS ActionAid Denmark supports building local democracy in Mozambique by empowering poor people. We also support the fight against corruption and teaching democracy in schools.
Support for democracy and poverty reduction
After nearly 500 years as a Portuguese colony, Mozambique became an independent state in 1975. During three months the 300.000 Portuguese who literally had been responsible for the operation of Mozambique fled the country. This situation combined with a low educational level, droughts, a failed socialist economy and a bloody civil war from 1975-1992 are some of the factors that have prevented the country from developing. Mozambique is one of the world's poorest countries and ranks today as number 168 out of 177 countries in the UN Development Index. Mozambique also ranks low in terms of equality.
After completion of the civil war and the country's first democratic elections in 1994, economic reforms, foreign investment and international assistance – and a belief in a lasting peace – led to an annual growth of 8 per cent. But the benefits are unevenly distributed. While a small, rich elite lives in a whirl of pleasures, the vast majority of the population is fighting to survive. So although absolute poverty has been reduced from 70 to 54 per cent, poverty remains a serious and widespread problem. It is worst in the rural areas – especially among women and adolescents who live under extremely poor conditions, without access to basic public services and without opportunities for income generating activities.
In an attempt to combat poverty, the Mozambican government has been offering basic services and job opportunities at the top of her long term strategy. If this policy for poverty reduction is going to be implemented, it is not enough to strengthen local government capacity to act. It is also necessary to strengthen civil society so that it can exploit opportunities within a new law on decentralization, just as the civil society will have to be able to influence the country's leaders to do more to meet the needs of vulnerable groups
MS in Mozambique
MS has been working in Mozambique since 1981 with both government and civil society organisations in most provinces in the northern and central part of the country. Danish and Brazilian development workers have worked as advisers in both government institutions and private organisations that sprouted up after the civil war termination in 1992. In 2007, MS phased out most activities in the northern part of the country, and MS is now fully engaged in developing its program with a focus on democracy in the South.
This has taken place as a participatory process that began with the identification of possible partners in this part of the country. With MS's focus on local democracy, there is great potential in the Mozambican government has embarked on a new decentralization program. It offers unique opportunities to make a difference to institutionalise and operationalise legislation.
MS Mozambique is currently working with 14 partner organisations. MS is working on provincial, district and village level in the three southernmost provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane – and at the national level, based in the capital Maputo. Work now focuses on three themes: building local democracy, anti-corruption and democracy in primary schools.
Building local democracy
Building local democracy is MS Mozambique's approach towards improving living conditions for poor and marginalized. This is done through strengthening civil society capacity to participate actively in democracy, so they can monitor and influence the local authorities at district level. MS is working to support civil society organisations with the necessary knowledge and tools so they can translate information into action. MS has partnerships with organisations that can enhance individuals' influence and that are able to reach the poor groups in remote areas.
MS is working to improve the dialogue between local organisations and local authorities, to strengthen civil society’s ability to monitor local authorities' initiatives to combat poverty and to monitor the districts' financial statements, and to the needs of the poor and included in local budgets.
The overall indicators of the work are:
- education and health improvements for poor and marginalized.
- that government policies, plans and budgets reflect the needs of poor and marginalized
- to involve the government and make it listen to civil society organisations and practicing transparency.
MS motivates its partner organisations to form networks and participate in capacity building to ensure that civil society organisations can engage and participate in local councils and other forums.
Corruption affects the poor because it undermines public services in areas such as education and health. MS supports organisations and networks to combat corruption and is thereby helping to speed up poverty reduction. It happens by working for transparency and access to information, by monitoring the budgets for example education and health, and with campaigns to inform people about relevant government policies and legislation.
The overall indicators of work are:
- improved and corruption-free access to health and education for women and youth.
- that Mozambique improves its status in terms of good governance and anti-corruption.
Democracy in the primary school
For MS, democracy is a way of life that starts at home and in schools. MS is therefore working to put democracy on the agenda in primary schools so that future generations can grow up with an understanding of democracy and active participation in society. It is a prerequisite for democracy to flourish in the longer term.
Promoting democracy in primary schools includes developing educational materials on civil rights, democracy as a way of life and local governance and participation. It includes teacher training in these disciplines, and girls constitute a particular audience. MS is also working to ensure that youth is heard, that its needs are reflected in the school agenda and that young people are represented and active in local councils.
The overall indicators of work are:
- the proportion of young people in local councils increased
- that young people can get their wishes reflected in schools, fostering the development of local community
- that fewer girls leave school prematurely
- that students, teachers and parents are represented in school councils and is helping to introduce democratic principles in the planning and management of schools.
The merger between MS Mozambique and ActionAid Mozambique
The merger between MS Mozambique and ActionAid Mozambique is progressing as planned. A Change Management Committee (CMC) with three members from AA and MS, respectively, was formed in December. Since then the CMC has held meetings regularly. One of the outcomes is a change management plan that describes the merger in detail and at all levels – from the production of new business cards to the coordination of the two organisation’s programmes – just as is points out which department or person within the organisation that is responsible for the various tasks.
The CMC has also decided that MS Mozambique, being the smaller organisation of the two organisations, will move its office to Action Aid’s premises in the Mozambican capital, Maputo.
Further, a communication strategy about how to inform about the progress of the merger has been elaborated, just as a brochure – “Fusion without Frills” – has been made.
Read more about the fusion in Mozambique: www.aamsmerger.org (username: aams, password: change)