A congressional delegation and a group of four celebrity chefs visited the Primeiras e Segundas program to see first hand how CARE’s interventions in Mozambique are helping to ensure food and nutrition security by combating global hunger, malnutrition and stunting. The visit was part of the CARE Learning Tours, which hosts high-level delegations to see the impact of U.S. investments on the ground.
Renowned chefs Cat Cora, Carla Hall, Antonia Lofaso and CARE Chef Ambassador Spike Mendelsohn were the first to arrive in the Primeiras e Segundas Protected Area, visiting a community in the estuary where they cooked with local female leaders and went fishing with a group of fishermen. At Omuive, off the coast of Angoche, the chefs learned about the negative effects of overfishing and how it is affecting the growing population, whose diets rely heavily on fish because of the limited access to farmland in the estuary. They also got to witness the positive interventions of the program, visiting the replenished mangroves and gathering sea snails with Azaliha Amisse, a 62-year-old mother of 12. Due to overfishing, women are playing a very active role in providing for their families by getting crabs, snails and other species from the mangroves. For women in Mozambique, it is much harder to get enough food for their children, so women’s empowerment is essential to ending hunger and ensuring nutrition. One of the objectives of the visit was understanding the vulnerability of women in the face of changing weather patterns and unpredictable raining cycles.
The next day, the chefs met with the congressional delegation at the Farmer Field School (FFS) of Mussuceia. The group of Senate Agriculture Committee staffers and members of the U.S. Administration had first traveled to Djibouti, where the visit was focused on food-aid distribution and the pivotal role Djibouti plays as a port for food distribution in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Chad, Somalia and Djibouti itself. In Mozambique, the visit was focused on building up food security through expanding agricultural productivity. At the FFS, the delegation toured the different plots and saw experiments as the members of the community explained what they have learned through the program. They also saw the adoption of the techniques that farmers are learning in the field of Faida Delfim, a mother of 6 who lives with her granddaughter.
It is crucial to build the resilience and capacity of smallholder farmers, especially women. As the United States continues to be a leader in fighting global hunger, this capacity building needs to be expanded in order to guarantee food security to more than 795 million people who don’t have enough food to eat and the nearly 2 billion people who are malnourished. By meeting women farmers and leaders, the chefs and the congressional delegation now have clear faces to the numbers. Effective interventions that can improve agriculture systems are key. And now, when they hear about the 795 million people that don’t have enough food to eat, they will think of Faida Delfim and Azaliha Amisse and how they struggle every day to meet the needs of their families.
Overfishing is an enormous problem in Northern Mozambique. Millions of people living in the heavily populated coastal areas in Nampula province are seeing the amount of fish dwindling and their livelihood options becoming less secure. In an effort to mitigate this growing problem, Primeiras e Segundas pioneered the establishment of no-take zones in its protected area.
Tapua and Corane in Moma district were the first two no-take zones in Mozambique. When P&S started studying the area to establish them in 2010, the local government had a difficult time understanding fishing restrictions in an area where people’s livelihoods are greatly dependent on fishing. Now, the Ministry of Fisheries is leading efforts and scientific studies in Angoche district to establish new no-take zones, and other stakeholders are using Tapua and Corane as examples.
After the huge success of these two no-take zones in terms of specie variety, abundance and benefits to the community in the estuary, the no-take zones are not only attracting hordes of fishermen to the spillover zones but also some visitors wanting to follow the footsteps of P&S.
A multi-sector team including representatives from SNV, an international non-profit organization from the Netherlands working in Mozambique, Vale, a global mineral company based in Brazil, and five community leaders from Nacala Velha, a city in northern Nampula province, visited the two no-take zones to learn about the P&S program and establish no-take zones in their area.
First stop was Tapua, where the community leaders from Nacala Velha saw several people taking advantage of the spillover zones, which form the area around the no-take zones, allowing people to catch the abundant in fish that “spill over.” Amisse Amade and his son, Ali Amade, were two of the fishermen that were interviewed by the Nacala Velha community leaders. The discussion was about the benefits of the no-take zones and if they like the abundance of fish and crab in the spillover areas.
“At home [Nacala Velha] we never get crabs from the sea, we only get the one from the land and those bite,” said Jaime Ali, one of the community leaders. They also talked to one of the Tapua monitors, Seferino Amisse, who explained to them what he does once he finds people fishing within the limits of the no-take zones.
“If we find someone, we take him to the authorities and take his fishing tools,” Seferino Amisse explained to the visitors. He works as a volunteer without any monetary compensation for his work. He does this because he understands the benefits of his work for the community.
After the visit, Cremildo Armando, P&S’s Marine Natural Resources Manager, explained that sharing responsibilities is essential to the management of the no-take zones and other initiatives like mangrove replanting, which will also be an explored option for Nacala Velha.
“The community itself is already aware about the benefits of no-take zones. We can see that the monitors and the community leaders had to work hard to achieve this,” said Sajad Justino, who works as the Subsistence and Resource Restoration official for Vale.
Ensuring food security in the region is essential. In Nacala Velha, the second largest city in the province, this is of outmost importance to its more than 200,000 inhabitants. The private sector, other NGOs and the local leaders have now found an alternative to ensure specie variety and availability of fish – no-take zones. P&S paved the way for this initiative and now it is being replicated in other places in Mozambique.
During the first week of June, the CARE-WWF Alliance’s Program Primeiras and Segundas joined the local government celebrating the Environment’s Week, June 1st to the 5th when World Environment Day was celebrated worldwide. The activities were done in collaboration with the youth of Angoche, including students from four different high schools participating in an information session lead by Cremildo Armando, P&S’s Marine Natural Resources Manager. During this time, 70 students learned about the importance of mangroves, the dangers of using mosquito nets for fishing, the dangers facing sea turtles and the work done by P&S in the communities to raise environmental awareness.
After testing their understanding of the contents learned during the information session, eight students were selected to participate in a field trip with the P&S staff, two teachers and a representative from the government to visit Puga Puga Island and the community of Mitepene, where they talked to a member of the CBNRM (Community Based Natural Resource Management committee).
Before reaching the island, the students were shown the negative effects of climate change in the now uninhabited island of Buzi. When Jokwe Cyclone hit the area in 2008, the community was left unprotected from the strong winds and rains. All of the mangroves were gone and the population had to be moved to the continent. Now, only fishermen go there temporarily to find food. The island is not fit for human life anymore — after having been a thriving community.
In Puga Puga, the students were all eagerly looking for coral washed to the island and asking questions to Cremildo from P&S and to their Biology teacher, Manssur Sumalgy. As they looked through the pages of a guide of the different marine species of Southern Africa, they could also see live a lot of what they were learning. They even found the body of a dead turtle, which sparked a conversation about the importance of teaching people in the community to take care of these protected species.
“People in Angoche don’t have enough information. They don’t know the consequences of taking these protected species from the sea,” said Aminudine Momade from Angoche Secondary School.
After enjoying the seascape from one of the ten Primeiras and Segundas Islands, the next stop for the group was Mitepene. There, the students got a chance to speak their local language, Koti, with one of the members of the CBNRM. They asked him questions about how they spread the message of conservation to the rest of the community, how they replant mangroves, what’s the importance of replanting the mangroves and how the committee helps in case of disasters. Seeing the mangroves that the community planted was also a very special part of the visit, showing them that conservation is also in their own hands.
The last stop hit the students even closer to home. For some, it took them to their own neighborhood, Inguri, where Cremildo explained to them the dangers of climate change and how it could potentially affect them personally in the coming years. In this area, kilometers of houses are crammed right next to the sea with a boats parked right in front. This is a clear proof of how much the environment and the people are intertwined — and of the imminent dangers of climate change. With sea levels rising globally, the division between the land and the sea is decreasing every year. In Inguri, the population lives right at sea level, which is very dangerous for the people living there because they have no natural protection to erosion after the mangroves in the area were all taken down for wood.
At the end of the visits, the students were assigned homework. How can they use the knowledge gained today in order to help preserve the environment?
“We can’t let this generation go on without environmental conservation information,” said Cremildo Armando.
During May, over 500 Farmer Field School (FFS) members from 20 FFS and 200 other community members participated in 7 Farmer Field Days across Angoche and Moma Districts. These Field Days, organized by the CARE WWF Alliance partner AENA, provided an opportunity for people in the community who are not involved in the FFS to find out more about conservation agriculture and disaster resilience.
Farmer Field Schools serve as a place for members to experiment with different crops and techniques, comparing what they have traditionally used in their own fields, with new practices of conservation agriculture. During the field days, members of the FFS explained the results they have seen in their experiments to their neighbors.
They also demonstrated the benefits of conservation agriculture through practical experiments. One was an erosion test done using two different plates, one with mulching and the other one without, to show the benefits of mulching retaining nutrients in the soil and helping maintain the ground .
“Based on all that I learned today, I want to open my own FFS in my area,” Jose Alfredo from Canhaua in Angoche District said.
He also added that he was very impressed by a brigade of FFS members from Canhaua who went to the area where he lives to explain some of the techniques.
All of the invitees also agreed on two major things. The first is that they are concerned with how the climate is changing, and how this is affecting their yields. The second is that conservation agriculture is easy to do, and the benefits are clear – and that these benefits help them adapt to climate change.
Many of the people invited to the field days agreed that they know that the low food production from their fields is in part their own fault because they are burning potentially valuable organic matter in their fields and depleting their natural resources, especially by cutting down forest to establish new fields or get timber. They also agreed that they would now apply the lessons learned from the field days, such as using minimum tillage and increasing the amount of organic matter on the soil instead of burning it, to prevent this problem from getting .
“We didn’t know that burning my field had a negative effect in food production,” the community members invited to the Colocoto field day said.
They added that now they know better.
After the benefits of conservation agriculture were explained and to the people invited to the event, the members of the FFS shared food with the community. These were meals prepared by a large group of people using some of the products from their fields such as peanuts, cassava leaves and different types of beans.
After two years in the making, 63 members of 21 communities in the Moma estuary got together to create a single council aimed at creating a strong link between the local communities represented by the council and the government.
The establishment of the Moma Estuary Natural Resource Management Council is a big step for the P&S team because it represents important geographical expansion of a process that is already working well. There are two other councils that have already been established in Angoche District, one involving 12 communities around the Potone Sacred Forest, and a second one with 29 communities in the Koti Islands in the Angoche estuary. With the establishment of the Moma council, the P&S program is supporting community-based natural resource management through 3 councils in 2 districts, covering 62 communities. All these communities rely on sustainable use of important biodiversity, including coastal forest, mangroves and estuarine fisheries.
The council will not only help with the management of marine natural resources, but it will also include a component of terrestrial natural resource management such as improving sustainable soil use, coastal forest and mangrove protection. The goal of the management of both terrestrial and marine resources is to ensure that the interconnectivity between these helps improve livelihoods in the communities.
During the final meeting of this process on May 28, 2015, Cheamade Alide, Moma District Permanent Secretary, other local government leaders and representatives from various local organizations all joined the community members to elect the council’s leadership team and discuss some of the problems facing the communities in terms of conservation.
“We need to work in the communities to prevent people from continuing the use of harmful fishing practices,” said Jamal Paulo from Mucuto, the newly elected Vice-President of the council.
Arsenio E. Meneses from Minguirine, the newly elected Secretary of the Council, agreed with what Paulo said. He added that the biggest tasks for the council are raising awareness of the importance of mangrove replanting, not using mosquito nets for fishing, respecting the existing two marine no-take zones that were established in 2014, and establishment of additional no-take zones.
The newly elected president of the council, Mario Ibraimo from Tapua, has been a community ranger at one of the two marine no-take zones established in the Moma estuary. Ibraimo does this without any compensation and knows of the vital importance of the no-take zone to his community. He has been working to protect it since its establishment and has helped inform the community about the importance of respecting such no-take zones.
Members from 8 of the 21 communities are now part of the leadership team for the Moma Estuary Natural Resource Management Council. This goes out to show the great level of representation in the council and how interconnected every community is to the other.
The P&S team had been motivating the communities to create community based natural resource management committees, CBNRM, where people sharing common natural resources within the same geographical area make plans to protect their surroundings and educate other members of the community about the importance of conservation. After the establishment of these committees, the proposal to join forces within the greater estuary area was proposed to the communities. The idea was welcomed in all of the 21 communities in the Moma estuary and so the council was created.
“We have many groups that work independently,” Marcos Assane, terrestrial natural resource manager for P&S, said. “Our initiative in P&S is to join these groups to have more strength.”
In addition to the power of collective action, Moma Estuary Natural Resource Management Council will be able to count on the technical support of a task force through a working group created by the government through the CARE WWF Alliance and other NGOs.
Mr. Alide, the Permanent Secretary of Moma District, also highlighted the importance of creating a district-level forum that would bring together communities from across multiple areas in Moma. This would promote a healthier environment in ways that promote the well-being of the people.