By Claudina de Nascimento Lourenço, Jeremias Marques and Althea Skinner
A farmer and mother of six, Angela used to worry about feeding her children. Cultural tradition in northern Mozambique indicates that men’s meals take priority. Historically, her husband was no exception. If food was short, he demanded the respect of a full meal—even if it meant that Angela, their two sons or four daughters did not get an adequate and nutritious meal.
That’s why the CARE-WWF Alliance focuses on shifting gender roles as a critical part of the solution to reducing the high incidence of malnutrition in Nampula Province, where half of the children under two years of age is stunted from developing to their full potential.
A series of dialogues—led by Alliance-trained volunteers from her community, Saua Saua—is slowly changing this situation.
“I’ve enjoyed many moments of reflection on nutrition and gender through dialogues I’ve participated in,” Angela explains. “We have identified the causes of malnutrition, the importance of women’s participation in agricultural planning… and men and women’s joint responsibility for nourishing their children.”
“I’ve been lucky that my husband and I have both participated in these debates because we have continued to reflect at home about these topics, facilitating some changes
in our family. One of the greatest changes occurred after a dialogue we took part in about food access. It helped us realize that every family member has the right to food and that children, pregnant women and women of childbearing age have special nutritional requirements that should be prioritized.
By Francelina Chadamoio, Jorge Bossumane, Jeremias Marques and Althea Skinner
“Until recently, I was always in trouble at home,” explains Albino Chame from northern Mozambique. “My wife considered me a lazy man who couldn’t earn enough money to provide for his family. Even when I earned money from farming, I always spent it on alcohol. I couldn’t seem to save.”
The father of three girls and three boys, Albino began to turn things around in 2011. That year, the CARE-WWF Alliance initiated a Farmer Field School and Village Savings and Loan Association in his community of Saua-Saua to give villagers tools for producing a greater quantity of nutritious food and for saving money. Albino and his wife joined both groups.
Using conservation agriculture practices, they produced and sold enough cassava and peanuts to buy zinc to cover their roof, a mattress for a good night’s sleep, and a table and chairs to eat their meals with dignity. Using money they saved, they purchased two cows and two goats, and started a business of distilling and selling alcohol to earn additional income.
“I no longer drink alcohol and my life has improved a lot. I am very proud that my family and I have worked our way out of poverty. Today, we don’t want for food,” Albino beams.
Over the last three years, he has taken on a series of leadership positions in the savings group.
“I encourage everyone in my community to participate in savings groups to address their critical situation. At the end of the day, earning and saving money only depends on the sound functioning of our heads and our hands.”
Leaving the management of natural resources at the hands of local communities has been proving to be a good strategy at Primeiras & Segundas. Community members monitor the no-take zones in the Moma estuary and the results have been extremely positive, increasing fish yields and specie diversity. Mangrove replanting initiatives have been successful, raising awareness of the importance of mangroves and their role in reducing the risk for disasters.
P&S has already established 25 Community Based Natural Resource Management Committees (CBNRM) in Angoche, both in the estuary and the Potone Sacred Forest. And 21 CBNRMs in the Moma estuary. Members of these CBNRMs are all playing an essential role in controlling the burning of forests, replanting trees, monitoring no-take zones and raising awareness among fishermen of the negative effects of using harmful fishing practices, such as using mosquito nets.
To facilitate the training of the community members on the approach of natural resource management across all the communities in the Moma estuary, Primeiras & Segundas trained one promoter from each of the committees to spread the message of conservation in order to improve livelihoods and reduce risk of disaster. During the training, both the marine and terrestrial natural resources were explained in depth to the participants, highlighting the importance of coastal forests, mangroves, the estuary and the no-take zones.
The training also served as an exchange of good practices from one committee to another. Dinis Cachimo, the promoter from Mingurine A, showed the other promoters how to gather mangrove seeds and replant them, while explaining the advantages of having healthy mangroves in terms of protection from strong winds and increase in fish yields.
Zeferino Amisse Phuelia, one of the community monitors of the no-take zone in Tapua, also led a visit to his community to show the other promoters how to take advantage of the plentiful fish in the spillover zones, which are located 20 meters away from the limits of the no-take zones.
“More than 80% of the population in Mozambique depends on natural resources,” said Marcos Assane, P&S’s Terrestrial Natural Resources Manager. “The main goal of sustainable management of natural resources is to guarantee the livelihoods of families.”
Celebrity chef Cat Cora talks about her recent trip to Mozambique and her meeting with Deolinda Amade. In this video, she talks about the importance of empowering women farmers to help them feed their families and ensure their children’s nutrition. Deolinda is a mother of 8 children, a farmer and the president of the Farmer Field School (FFS) in Mahile. She recognizes the importance of providing a good nutrition for her children so that they are able to concentrate at school.
The video is a call to action petitioning lawmakers in the United States to support the Global Food Security Act of 2015 (H.R. 1567 and S. 1252). Click here to show your support and sign the petition.
A mother’s daunting task is a first-hand account of Cat Cora’s visit to the Angoche estuary highlighting her life as a mother, a chef and a food security advocate. As a part of Devex’s Future Fortified series, Cat Cora writes that “motherhood is a universal concept”, describing what she experienced during her recent visit and calling to action supporting the United States’ Global Food Security Act of 2015 (S.1252 and H.R. 1567). The legislation requires a comprehensive and coordinated strategy for global food security that focuses on women and smallholder producers and leverages best natural resource management practices.
The publication coincided with the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Goal number two calls to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, which directly relates to the work done at Primeiras e Segundas through the FFS.
Cat Cora is Food Network’s Iron Chef first female winner and the founder of the non-profit organization,Chefs for Humanity. Read her account by clicking here.