VSO’s work in Mozambique focuses on education, HIV and AIDS, secure livelihoods and national volunteering.
While there has been an increase in the number of children enrolling in school, many do not complete their first stage of education; in fact, just 10 per cent of girls reach the final year of primary education. There are many reasons for this, including large class sizes, lack of female role models for girls, long distances to travel to school, limited teaching resources and outdated curricula and teaching methods.
VSO volunteers are implementing strategies and activities to encourage retention of female teacher trainees in teacher training institutions. They are also focusing on advocacy work. The recommendations from ‘Listening to Teachers’ – a VSO report looking at teachers’ morale and motivations – will be used to create an advocacy strategy to improve teachers’ motivation in Mozambique. VSO volunteers are also supporting the Ministry of Education to implement its national program of HIV and AIDS awareness training for teachers and school children.
HIV and AIDS
Fifteen per cent of the adult population is living with HIV and AIDS. It is estimated that by 2010 life expectancy in Mozambique will be just 36 years. Volunteers working in this area focus on a number of key areas, including:
improving the structure and management of agencies, so they can provide better services to people living with HIV and AIDS
improving awareness of prevention, care and treatment opportunities
advocating for the right of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
In secure livelihoods (rural households and food security), volunteers work in the area of agriculture and rural development. The aim is to address the problems of food shortages and rural poverty by improving the skills of individuals and groups to increase income from agricultural production. In Mozambique, poverty is greatest in rural areas, where 95 per cent of the population are dependent on agriculture. Yet farming techniques mean that people do not earn a good income, there are malnutrition problems resulting from poor range of food stuffs and land ownership issues mean 75 per cent of arable land is not currently in use.
Volunteers who are agricultural experts are working with community-based organizations to improve methods, while business volunteers are developing the skills of local colleagues in areas such as business management and marketing.
VSO Mozambique’s new national volunteering strategy has seen it working with national and international agencies to support the creation of a National Volunteer Council, as well as playing an important role in the preparation of a volunteer legislation. This has been approved by the government of Mozambique and waits to be debated and passed by parliament. In the meantime, VSO has identified key partners to whom it will provide support in volunteer management and program implementation.
Get in touch with VSO Mozambique at:
Caixa Postal 902, Maputo, Mozambique