Mozambique: Introduction of a Public Cell Phone and Innovative Farming Experiments

Chokwe_Epicenter.jpg

Update to the Global Board
(April 2009)

Overview

Over the last six months, The Hunger Project (THP)-Mozambique has made great progress by concentrating on the implementation of activities with tangible results for our partners. These activities included: food processing, food conservation, health care, income generation and communications.

Training in food processing has had positive impacts in our partners' lives. Villagers understand the importance of this knowledge for food security, and are able to use such skills for income-generating activities. For example, our partners in Chokwe make and sell bread in our epicenter and save money in the bank.

Partners produced about 2,000 kg of maize and approximately 400 kg of beans. More than half of the beans were sold at Chokwe Epicenter. In addition, THP-Mozambique trained 36 partners in low-cost technologies for food production in conditions of rain-fed agriculture at Chokwe Epicenter (photo above).

THP-Mozambique has also addressed environmental issues at Chokwe Epicenter, such as tree planting and improved latrines for children at the local primary school. At Manhiça Epicenter, THP-Mozambique introduced a plant nursery, which has a large impact because our partners can now grow fruit trees and learn the best practices on fruit production.

Partners at Chokwe Epicenter receive health care in one room of our epicenter because there is no equipment to have our clinic fully functional. Vaccinations for children and pregnant women were given in February and March 2009. Partners participated in voluntary HIV testing, and people with diseases like malaria, diarrhea and malnutrition were also assisted in our epicenter. The introduction of health care at Chokwe Epicenter is one of THP-Mozambique's best accomplishments of the period and has made the major difference between the prior six months and this six-month reporting period. Health is a serious issue, especially in Chokwe, as there is no health center close to our epicenter villages.

To facilitate communication in the epicenter area, THP-Mozambique introduced a public cell phone at Chokwe Epicenter (photo to the left). This has a large impact, because many epicenter villagers have relatives working in South Africa. With this public cell phone they can communicate with their families and relatives easily.

In addition, THP-Mozambique has trained 34 animators in both epicenters for collecting data and coordinating other epicenter activities.

THP-Mozambique has also started to mobilize the people in Zuza (Gaza Province) and is preparing all processes for land acquisition in order to build an epicenter.

Details on Progress

Areas of Achievement

Food production

There is more than two tons of grain stored at Chokwe Epicenter and still more maize to harvest next month (end of April/early May). The nursery at Manhiça Epicenter has more than 550 plants. Also at at Manhiça Epicenter, partners are improving their nutrition by using food processing knowledge acquired during the training organized by THP-Mozambique.

THP-Mozambique and extension workers from the agricultural sector/government trained 36 villagers (22 women; 14 men) including animators, leaders and peasants at Chokwe Epicenter.

Income-generation activities

At Chokwe Epicenter, partners continue to make and sell bread. Partners also sold beans as a result of food production at Chokwe Epicenter. In addition, some partners started their own businesses, making and selling bread, as a result of training organized by THP-Mozambique.

HIV testing and health care

At Chokwe Epicenter, 64 people were tested for HIV (46 women; 18 men) of which 12 tested positive (9 women; 3 men). 600 children and 14 pregnant women were vaccinated and 349 people suffering from various diseases were assisted at Chokwe Epicenter.

Adult literacy classes

A total number of 254 partners (233 women; 21 men) attending literacy classes in both epicenters. This figure is higher compared with the first quarter of 2008 (174 students).

Areas of Challenge

Limited clinic facilities at Chokwe Epicenter

Due to government regulations, we are in the process of restructuring the health department. As a result, the health center is not yet fully functional. We expect the local government to approve the changes we made and they have promised to provide nurses and additional drugs for the pharmacy, in as much as their budget permits.

Microfinance initiative restructuring

Some unauthorized activity was identified in the African Woman Food Farmer Initiative (AWFFI) program at one epicenter. Immediate remedial action was taken and existing control mechanisms have been reinforced.

Partnerships

THP-Mozambique is partnering with government institutions such as the Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Health and other local administrations.

The health department visited our clinic at Chokwe Epicenter approximately six months ago. In February of 2009, we began to use a room at the epicenter as a small clinic while we are waiting to have the clinic at the epicenter fully functional. The government sends medicines and drugs, and has sent a team from the district to our epicenter to provide vaccinations and HIV testing.

THP-Mozambique has been working with the government's education and agricultural sectors for more than a year. The government continues to pay literacy trainers, and the agriculture sector sends its extension worker to work with THP-Mozambique if needed.

Local administrations have visited epicenters in Chokwe and Manhiça.

Broader Awareness and Advocacy

The Administrator of the District of Chokwe visited Chokwe Epicenter during the first quarter of 2009. In Manhiça district, THP-Mozambique presented our experiences to the Administrator of the District and other members of local Government.

Recent Innovations

THP-Mozambique trained partners at Chokwe Epicenter in the use of low-cost technologies for food production in conditions of rain fed-agriculture. The villagers decided to organize an experiment in their own villages. Partners have cultivated a piece of 0.5 hectare of land and have divided it into two parts. On one half, they use traditional technologies of food production and on the other half, they put into practice what they have learned. In this way, they can compare the results and also train those who did not have a chance to attend the training.

Impact Assessment

The main objectives of THP-Mozambique for impact assessment this period were related to health care, especially in Chokwe. Although the health clinic at the epicenter is not fully functional, our partners have been receiving health care in one of our epicenter's rooms. Progress has been made and all information for our monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is provided by the women who assist our partners at Chokwe Epicenter.

For other activities, the impact assessment is based on information collected by our 34 animators and the M&E Officer.