Key findings from Mozambique NCAP Project

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani 25th March 2011 19:17

The majority of people involved in this study are chronically vulnerable to a range of stresses including climate risk. 70% of households are employed in the informal market and therefore have tenuous job/income security . Only 15% of household members identified themselves as farmers though the vast majority of people interviewed either owned or had access to at least a small garden farm. Houses that are built with local materials are fragile and frequently damaged, and sometimes destroyed by heavy rains and tropical storms. This is especially the case for the rectangular houses that are less stable than round buildings. When it rains, thatched roofs leak. This is obviously very uncomfortable and prevents people from getting sufficient sleep. Such 'low key' stress is clearly not a priority for intervention when food security issues prevail and need to be addressed, but nevertheless form a cumulative burden on vulnerable households. Houses built from local materials are less common in Albazine than in Guijá, Tenga and Marracuene.

Though the majority of households stated that a man was the head of the household, it was not specified whether this also includes families who are supported by migrant remittances. Gender divisions of labor within agriculture were not acknowledged by households in the study areas and initial observations did not contradict this perception. Children are expected to help with agricultural work when they are not at school, for example in the afternoons and/or weekends, though a minority of children do not attend primary school at all. Women and children were largely responsible for water collection. Women also hold almost sole responsibility for childcare, cooking, and health care within the family. Only one participant directly identified gender as an issue, because she did not know of any seasonal fluctuations in commodity prices since her husband controlled all of their money.

Malaria and gastro-intestinal diseases were the most common illnesses identified in all of the study areas.

There is dynamism as well as diversity in household composition in the study areas that may extend to include grandparents and other relatives at different points over the years. A third of households in all the study areas did not have personal possessions such as a radio, television, or bicycle. There was not a strong NGO presence perceived by the community in any of the study areas, though there is a food for work program in Tenga to build a road to Witbank (in South Africa). The majority of people in all the study areas identified the local church as the major community support institution, for example, in Mumemo and in Marracuene, the rehousing scheme is implemented by the local church. While there were public schools in each of the study areas, the vast majority of these catered only to grade 7 (primary level). In order to complete secondary education, families are obliged to send their children to travel great distances (from 16 to 40 km).

Where banks or formal micro credit facilities exist in the study areas (there are none in Tenga), they are not used by the majority of people who either cannot open an account or cannot afford interest charges (even if they would be eligible for credit). Money may be borrowed from neighbors, friends, or family in exceptional cases such as illness or death of a family member. The only other circumstance in which someone would consider borrowing money would be to start up a small business. Xitique (estique in Portuguese) exists to a varying degree in all of the study areas. Xitique is the name given to a collective savings scheme between households. The xitique system requires that everyone in the scheme contributes a small amount of money each month and the sum of all these contributions goes to one member each month on a revolving basis. However, while most people agreed that it was present, the majority of people said they did not use xitique.

Common strategies employed to minimize climate risk were limited in all three study areas and included setting up small businesses to sell charcoal or other natural resource products (for example bamboo, thatch, wild fruits). This indicates that there are severely restricted opportunities to diversify income opportunities, particularly because these common strategies are employed simultaneously within the communities during periods of hardship (thus lowering the value of the products). Many older people in the study areas are able to interpret short-term weather patterns from cloud formations, and most people have access to the National Meteorological Institute radio broadcasts either directly or through neighbors. There was the perception, particularly from older people in Marracuene and Tenga that the predictability of the seasons is decreasing.

 

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Mozambique NCAP Project

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Lessons learned from Mozambique NCAP Project