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Journalists investigate climate change adaptation, look to the CARE-WWF Alliance program in Angoche district

July 23, 2013
Sinhanhe

Newly constructed borehole in the community of Sinhanhe with members of Water, Hygeine and Sanitation (WASH) Committee and members of Farmer Field School (FFS) . Photo by Hayley Freedman.

By Lily Jamison-Cash, MEC Intern, P&S Program with P&S partners Dercio Dauto and Jeremias Marques

The Primeiras & Segundas Program hosted two journalists this month as they explored how local people living in the Primeiras e Segundas Environmental Protected Area respond and adapt to climate change. Journalist Susanne Sayers and photographer Søren Rud heard stories from people across Mozambique, including from the village of Sinhanhe and the island community of Quelelene.

Sayers, based in Denmark, said she had a longstanding interest in reporting on climate change; when CARE Mozambique recently visited Denmark, she saw an opportunity. “The Danish media is not interested in everything, but we think [climate change] is the most important thing in the world,” Sayers said.

Sinhanhe is a village of 2,708 people, located about 54 km west of Angoche. It is one of the sites in Angoche district where the CARE-WWF Alliance’s Adaptation Learning Program (ALP) works to improve the resilience of vulnerable households to climate change. ALP promotes resilient livelihood strategies such as the adoption of conservation agriculture techniques for improved food security.

Residents who have been learning techniques through the Farmer Field School (FFS) since 2011 gave Rud and Sayers a tour of the village, looking at some of the main practices being tested in the field: improved varieties of cassava, inter-cropping, mulching, and others. They also visited newly constructed boreholes built by the Gender Initiatives for Disaster Risk Reduction project (BMZ).

Sinhanhe 2

FFS participant and Sinhanhe resident Muacheia Julião explains the use of mulching and other adopted conservation agriculture techniques which have helped the community adapt to shorter and less predictable raining seasons. Photo by Hayley Freedman.

The journalists spoke to residents about the ways in which they felt the effects of climate change and ways in which they are adapting. Some mentioned that the rains have become unpredictable and shorter, making it difficult to produce the same quantity and quality of food. FFS participant and mother Muacheia Julião explained that with more irregular weather patterns, it was necessary to learn new ways of farming:

“The way we farm now is different. We used to cut and burn our fields. Now, we have stopped burning and use the grass to cover. We plant in rows and plant a mixture of crops. We now have greater production.”

The following day, Sayers and Rud took a boat to Quelelene, the most populous island in the reserve with more than 4,000 inhabitants. The island’s Secretario (leader) led them on a tour of the island. They spoke to the fishermen about the dwindling fish population and the effects of Cyclone Jokwe in 2008, learning about the island’s disaster-relief shelters which were constructed in 2012 with P&S Program support under phase two of the program’s Food Insecurity and Disaster Risk Reduction Project. (Read about FREDRIC, the program’s current phase three project financed by the European Commission’s Department of Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection with support from Austrian Development Cooperation).

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From left to right: Journalists Søren Rud and Susanne Sayers discuss fishing on Quelelene Island with P&S Program M&E and Communications Officer Hayley Freedman and Island Secretary (in green). Photo by Lily Jamison-Cash.

Sayers and Rud also visited the Alliance’s partner government institutions to learn how they are responding to the effects of climate change, especially regarding food security and nutrition. They heard from Massunda Júnior, Director of SDAE (District Services of Economic Activities), that SDAE technicians who work with the Alliance’s FFS are beginning to implement these techniques in areas outside the Alliance’s reach.

After hearing from Sinhanhe residents about the difficulties faced by inland fishing communities, the journalists asked Luís Gigante, the Delegate Substitute for IDPPE (National Institute of Small Scale Fishing), about the government’s response to the shortage of fish. Gigante said that IDPPE is working with community aquaculture programs to help communities regulate their fishing practices.

The journalists also spoke to the substitute Director of SDPI (District Services of Planning and Infrastructure) about challenges related to water access and availability for Angoche district communities, who said that they face issues regarding funding, which comes from the national level.

Sayers said that the country already has some infrastructure in place in moving towards a more sustainable future and is “not starting from scratch.” Looking towards a successful network of responses and adaptations to climate change, Sayers said that “Mozambique is on the brink.”

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