Sadly, the plight of the people of northern Mozambique, in the province of Cabo Delgado continues. Civil and military conflict which commenced in 2017, has continued throughout 2021, resulting in the devastating loss of over 3,000 lives, as well as mass displacement.
It is estimated that almost 800,000 people have been displaced since 2017 due to the insecurity and violence representing almost half of the province’s population.
Of the estimated 800,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), close to 50 percent are children and 30 percent women. In addition to COVID-19, the people have had to battle malaria, febrile syndrome, cholera and diarrhea in the second half of 2021.
“Repeated displacement and the consequent destruction of people’s livelihoods are exhausting families’ already scarce resources and causing food insecurity and malnutrition to rise.”
Many of those displaced have been left without any belongings and continue to require shelter and non-food items to survive. Security, protection and support services are still needed, and especially for survivors of gender-based violence, as well as unaccompanied and separated children and people with disabilities.
Anglican Overseas Aid’s local partner, the Anglican Diocese of Nampula, has worked across 90 communities through the Towards Abundant Life project and continues to respond as best it can in the crisis-affected communities.
To tackle both the physical and psychosocial needs, local emergency committees have been established in each of the 28 communities. The committees work to ensure IDPs are accepted into the community and provide access for each family’s needs.
Local Adeptos (project staff) are providing hygiene training, including the correct treatment of drinking water to reduce water-borne diseases. The importance of using mosquito nets for children and pregnant women is also being communicated where families can access nets. Each month 14,400 households are visited and provided with information on preventing COVID-19 and other health updates. Additionally, vulnerable families are being supported to build tippy-taps in each of the 90 communities to assist with water and sanitation.
A focus has been on the 28 communities in Cabo Delgado hosting big numbers of IDPs. Training has been conducted on agriculture practices to 20 family members from each of the 28 communities. Horticultural seeds were then distributed to the families for planting. The establishment of agricultural skills training is designed to not only help local and internally displaced people in the short term but support, encourage and inspire lasting agricultural change that will assist with reliable access to food.
Luciano is the champion farmer in Chimoio community. He trains 19 other followers on conservation agriculture, using his own farm as a community demonstration farm. “I help people to learn more about conservation agriculture; I really feel bad when I see empty fields around the riverbanks, so it was really a blessing for the Church to come in our community of Chimoio and provide us with the training and assistance especially with the addition of IDPs in our community”, he said.
The Towards Abundant Life program in Mozambique is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).