ActionAid began work in Mozambique in 1987, initially providing emergency relief to people fleeing the civil war which lasted for 16 years and left millions dead or displaced. Today our key areas of work include ending hunger, education and women’s rights.

Our approach

Through supporting farming associations, ActionAid helps thousands of women to access and control the land they work on, and increase the amount of food they produce. We train women in sustainable farming methods, enabling them to plant diverse and resilient crops that will grow throughout the year and boost their income. We also support families who have been affected by floods by providing emergency food supplies, shelter, and seeds to replant crops.

ActionAid works with women’s groups, police officers, teachers and students to raise awareness of the dangers of harmful traditional practices, and to reinforce the protection of women and girls in their everyday lives – at home, in school, at work on public transport and in market places. We support thousands of women and girls, offering workshops on how to identify and report incidences of violence and to follow-up with local courts and tribunals.

To improve education opportunities for women, we support groups where they can learn to read and write. The groups also play a fundamental role in raising adults’ awareness of the barriers to children getting an education, and come up with ways in which children – particularly girls - could be encouraged to return to school. We also train and support school councils which bring together children, parents, teachers and the wider community to tackle issues like drop-out rates and making schools safe for girls.

On this page

Why we work in Mozambique

Despite being one of the world’s fastest emerging economies, more than half of Mozambique’s population live below the poverty line. Although the country’s rich natural resources have attracted recent foreign investment, the benefits have failed to reach the majority of people.

Flooding, drought and erratic rainfall in Mozambique make farming a challenge for families already living below the poverty line. In 2013 flooding was so severe that 118,000 people were forced to leave their homes and farms. On top of this, most women do not own the land they farm, despite the fact that 90% of farmers here are women.

  • 48
    48% of girls are married by their 18th birthday.1
  • 33
    1/3 of the population does not have access to sufficient food.2
  • 49
    49% of adults can’t read and write.3

Women are not treated equally in Mozambique. Nearly half of all women are forced to marry before their 18th birthday. It is also common for women to face traditional practices such as “Kutxinga” or widow purification - where they are forced to marry their late husband’s younger brothers.

Although Mozambique has achieved over 90% enrolment in primary education, (compared to just 56% in 1995), drop-out rates are still high, and it is mostly girls who are missing out on a full education. Nearly half of women are illiterate, and many are unaware of their rights to basic services such as healthcare.

How we’re changing lives for good in Mozambique

Changing attitudes to women

Felizardo lives in the north of Mozambique, and has three wives. He took part in training with ActionAid’s partner organisation NANA, and spent three days learning about violence against women. He is now a leader of one of many community groups set up by NANA, where local men and women come together to discuss community problems, and injustice for women. 

Felizardo admitted that before the training he did not respect women’s rights and didn’t listen to his wife. Now he says: "The community is changing. The practice of hitting women is decreasing. Parents allow their girls to go to school."

Esmeralda, one of his wives, is also an active participant of a women’s group in the region. She has seen the change in Felizardo: "He learnt that women have many rights. Now, when I talk, he listens."

Learn more about our work on violence against women

Improving education through school councils

In Manhica district, school councils are making a big difference to education. With support from ActionAid, parents and teachers, the Primary School council has managed to build a kitchen where school means are cooked, helping more girls go to school. 

10-year-old Gemila, (not pictured) from Pfungereni Primary School said: “I’m very happy to be a member of the school council because it means I can bring up issues that have been affecting our education.” She says the school council not only listens to their complaints but acts on them and makes their requests a reality.

Donate to support our work on education

Photos: Fabio Erdos/ActionAid, Ernanio Mandlate/KISAI/ActionAid