Increasing Food and Nutrition Security for Women in the District of Chemba in Sofala Province, Mozambique
Women empowerment enables improved nutritional diversity and reduces stunting among children under the age of five in the district of Chemba in Sofala Province.
Despite an average GDP annual growth rate of 7.9% for much of the post-war recovery period (1996-2015), economic expansion has only had a moderate impact on poverty reduction in Mozambique, and malnutrition continues to affect a large part of the population. The Cost of Hunger in Africa analysis for Mozambique found that about 800 million Euros are lost every year because of stunting (chronic malnutrition).
ADA contributes to the World Food Programme (WFP) country strategic plan for Mozambique 2017 - 2021. For ADA’s contribution, the following results are defined:
- 5.000 women in Chemba can reduce possible harvest loss and have an improved (nutritious and diverse) diet for themselves and their families and
- 5.000 women and girls are aware of their sexual and reproductive rights
10.000 pregnant and lactating women and young girls in Chemba are the target group. 32.500 people living in 6.500 households will finally benefit from the ADA contribution.
ADA earmarks its contribution for the district of Chemba in Sofala Province. The population of Chemba is about 87,925 (41,077 and 46,848). Following the Integrated Phase Classification Chemba is classified as crisis level 3. This means that even with any humanitarian assistance at least one in five households has food consumption gaps with high or above usual acute malnutrition or is only able to meet minimum food needs with accelerated efforts.
To implement this country strategic plan the World Food Programme works together with the Government of Mozambique, namely the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health and non-state actors.
WFP applies an holistic approach combining increased agricultural productivity, short-term food assistance and awareness raising aiming at changing patriarchal structures that often hinder the food security of women. The following measures will be taken:
Increase of agricultural productivity: A key element is to train farmers in climate resilient agricultural methods (minimum soil disturbance, crop diversification) and to diversify seeds (adapted to the local climate context, drought resilient). Another vital aspect is introducing improved harvesting and food processing methods to reduce post-harvest loss (efficient drying techniques, conservation/storage methods. Families will also be supported in planting vegetable- and fruit gardens with sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables and fruit trees that produce fruits rapidly to ensure food security in the immediate area of households.
Food assistance: The beneficiaries receive e-vouchers which are redeemable with local retailers for a food basket (fortified maize meal, beans, fortified oil, iodized salt and eggs). The food assistance will be for 6 months in the first year, 4 months in the second year and 2 months in the third year to ensure that the beneficiaries gradually increase their food coverage through their own agricultural production.
Awareness raising: e.g. about sexual and reproductive rights and the link between malnutrition and stunting of children. Community radio will be engaged to transmit targeted messages to communities. Health activists will support pregnant and lactating women (health status, transfer to health facilities).
In Mozambique one out of two children under-five is stunted, 26% of all child mortality is associated with undernutrition. In Sofala the stunting and wasting rates for children under-five are 41.2% and 7% respectively.
Mozambique is ranked 138th out of 189 countries on the gender equality index. Mozambique has the tenth highest number of child marriages globally and 40% giving birth to their first child before the age of 18. Young age at first birth also contributes to the high fertility rate of 6.6 in rural areas and a high maternal mortality rate of 489/100,000 live births, one of the highest in the world.
These challenges are a result of restrictive gender norms and impact malnutrition of women and girls, which transfer malnutrition to children during pregnancy.
In order to reduce stunting, WFP will support the Government of Mozambique and their partners to implement a gender- and nutrition sensitive approach that addresses basic, underlying and immediate causes of malnutrition.