Health and wellbeing is still a focus of our Towards Abundant Life program in Mozambique.
Anglican Overseas Aid has been working with the Anglican Church in Nampula and Cabo Del Gado provinces in Mozambique since 2011. The work has been focused on community health, with an emphasis on awareness raising and prevention of HIV/AIDS.
This work continues with the Towards Abundant Life project, increasing basic health knowledge on topics such as malaria, prevention of diarrheal diseases, and agricultural activities promoting orange-flesh sweet potato to improve nutrition. The project has added pilot savings groups to its activities, and it aims to reduce the impact of early marriage and to increase girls’ education levels.
All of this is done through a model that draws on a football analogy to gather together an innovative network of health advocates and educators. ‘Adepto’ is a Portuguese term that means ‘fan’, and their role is to ‘cheer on’ the life-changing work that is happening in the communities. Adeptos support communities to host ‘Equipas de Vida’ or ‘Life Teams’. These are groups of women and men who volunteer in the communities where they live, together identifying priorities for better well-being.
As part of our program of continuous improvement, we recently commissioned an independent evaluation of Towards Abundant Life. The evaluation was undertaken at the end of a three-year project cycle funded through the Australian Government’s Australian NGO Co-operation Program (ANCP).
The evaluation found that the project is having a positive impact in improving knowledge about communicable and preventable diseases, the benefits of family planning and leaving enough time between pregnancies, as well as improving child development through better nutrition. A community member spoke about some of these impacts:
“We learned how to make porridge in the following way: mixing the ingredients, flour, vegetables, peanuts, ripe bananas and started giving (it) to our children. In the past we used to make porridge only with water and salt and if possible, with sugar. With the old method, our children were malnourished and grew poorly. But with the teachings of the members of Equipas de Vida and the new way of making porridge, our children are growing up well and quickly.”
During the time when data for the evaluation was to be collected in late March* , the reality of the global COVID-19 pandemic reached Mozambique. The government introduced significant restrictions on movement and the data collection was placed under threat. However, as a testament to the high regard in which the Diocese of Nampula is held by the government, it agreed to allow the community visits to continue so the Adeptos in the evaluation team could raise awareness of COVID-19 amongst the Equipas de Vida. This enabled them to bring early and critical prevention measures to these communities.
The evaluation report made several recommendations, including increasing the formation, training and development of health committees. Closer ties with government agricultural extension workers were also recommended so that the reproduction rates of sweet potato could be improved. Another recommendation was the expansion of savings groups as those that had already been established are bringing considerable benefits. One community member added, “There are significant changes in our community due to savings groups. Members have grown financially, socially and spiritually.”
Anglican Overseas Aid, the Diocese of Nampula and the Equipas de Vida are very much looking forward to using the evaluation results to shape and guide the program into the next few years.
*Anglican Overseas Aid was unable to travel to Mozambique in March 2020 due to the Australian Government’s COVID-19 world-wide travel ban.
Our ‘Towards Abundant Life’ program in Mozambique is funded in part by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and in part by your donations. We are proud to partner with the Australian Government in delivering this program.
To support this program select ’10. Mozambique – Health and Wellbeing’ from the drop-down menu on our donate page.