Reportage | Taking care of children victims of the conflict in Mozambique

A reportage tells the story of the protagonists of the multisectoral Cuida project: protection, education, nutrition and health for the children of Cape Delgado

Countries Mozambique
Date 20.03.2024
Author Foto di Matteo Bastianelli

Six years after the start of the conflict in Mozambique, numerous Islamic terrorist attacks in Cape Delgado province have caused almost one million internally displaced persons (currently about 627,000, as many families have returned to their areas of origin), 5,000 deaths, as well as extensive damage to infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, roads and homes.

In an extremely poor socio-economic reality where the majority of people live on less than two dollars a day, Mozambique's wealth lies underground, and this is the focus of terrorist groups: energy resources such as oil and natural gas deposits are the main reasons for this continuous series of attacks aimed at creating chaos, but the main victims are the civilian population.

In this context, the CUIDA project (from the Portuguese word "cuidar," meaning to take care), funded by the European Union and the Government of Netherlands, and implemented by AVSI in partnership with UNICEF, aims to strengthen the inclusive prevention and response mechanism for children affected by the conflict in the districts of Pemba, Ibo, Quissanga, and Montepuez, in the province of Cabo Delgado. It is a multisectoral project that aims to protect children through educational activities, also focusing on improving general health and nutrition conditions in a very fragile territory, including from a climatic point of view. Particularly exposed to the effects of climate change and plagued by issues such as waste disposal and access to clean water and electricity.

In 2019, the coasts facing the Indian Ocean, as well as the islands of Matemo and Ibo, experienced the impact of cyclones that caused destruction and flooding. AVSI's presence, in addition to providing an emergency response, aims to support the most vulnerable population. Through projects aimed at scholastic recovery, literacy, psychosocial and psychological support, recreational activities, professional training programs, and initiatives for the empowerment of women and girls, AVSI and UNICEF work to improve the well-being of children and create a safe environment for the future generations of Mozambique.