Our ‘Towards Abundant Life’ program in Mozambique aims to build community resourcefulness to reach their health and wellbeing goals. ANCP Program Manager, Vanessa Little, recently witnessed how the project was positively changing the way couples approach family planning.
Family planning is not usually a primary focus in our projects, however the Towards Abundant Life program, funded through the Australian Government’s ANCP matching grant program, gives the community the freedom to tackle health issues that they feel are important.
Speaking to the women in the region of Nampula about the work, Vanessa could clearly see that the positive impact of family planning education extends beyond just the lives of women; it also strengthens their families and the community as a whole.
Hearing the stories of these women from areas in the mid-north of the country demonstrated the benefit that having access to contraceptives has on them. “It has allowed them to have greater control within their families and has resulted in reduced family pressures as well as healthier and better nourished children,” Vanessa said.
Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest countries, and this is reflected in the health statistics of children under the age of five – with 42.9% being malnourished, and the mortality rate being 71.3 per 1,000 live births.
These are the realities of life for our partner, the Missionary Diocese of Nampula, and the communities they support. The Towards Abundant Life program works to build local knowledge of not just family planning, but also important health issues such as malaria, HIV, and child nutrition. It is all aimed at building stronger and healthier communities.
The Diocese of Nampula trains community volunteers, known as Animators and Equipa de Vida (Teams of Life), in basic health messages. These volunteers then share this knowledge within their local communities, creating greater awareness of how to prevent and treat health concerns.
Vanessa was amazed when she saw the creativity of the volunteers. She described one local community who developed a theatre performance using key information about family planning to show how it improves family life and child health.
“It was quite a show! Their four-act performance explained in detail what family planning is, the benefits and how people can access contraceptives. It was realistic and addressed the challenges and myths relating to the issue, and demonstrated useful strategies in discussing the topic with your partner”, Vanessa exclaimed.
She went on to say that, “It’s not often you are treated to such entertainment in learning the intricacies of an issue such as family planning. It was a humourous, special and informative time about a topic that is helping to increase a sense of dignity amongst the women of Nampula.”