AVSI began its history in Mozambique in 1999 through the Distance Support Program (DSP), particularly in collaboration with the local non-profit organization Khandlelo (Association for Youth Development) for social and educational activities. Over the years, AVSI’s work has expanded to include projects in education, youth employment, urban upgrading, environment, agriculture and rural development.
Currently, AVSI has an office in Maputo and relationships with the Mozambique Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of Environment, the Maputo City Council, and an agreement regarding urban upgrading courses and consultancies with the Department of Architecture of the State University in Maputo. Partnerships have included donors such as the European Union, World Bank, Cities Alliance, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and others.
The beginning of AVSI’s presence was to support Khandlelo’s programs, which build relationships with children and families in the disadvantaged neighborhoods in the southern part of the capital city. Khandlelo either manages or supports a network of 10 educational centers, in which AVSI’s DSP currently reaches around 1,300 children youth.
Demonstrative of the type of work being done is the Maria Grazia Rizzo community center in the Xipamanine neighborhood, built by Khandlelo and inaugurated in 2011. Like the other schools and centers, Maria Grazia Rizzo houses after-school recreational and tutoring activities, with educators and social workers who receive ongoing professional training, and vocational training for adolescents and young adults. The center provides a stability that makes it possible for these young people to start new businesses or find work, building on their growth on a human and professional level.
Thanks to a project funded by the European Union, these youth employment initiatives are being replicated and expanded in new centers in the Chamanculo C neighborhood. The program includes elements such as a job market analysis to ensure the relevance of training courses, but the real innovation is the integration of classes geared toward personal growth, to help young people become mature protagonists capable of facing the challenges of a quickly changing context.
In 2006, the Municipality of Maputo began the planning stages of an urban upgrading program which would begin with pilot projects and with the goal of forming a national strategy. During an informal visit to see Brazilian projects in various cities as models, the mayor and urban planning director of Maputo learned about AVSI’s experience in the sector. From that meeting and from the decision of the governments of Brazil and Italy to participate, a new initiative was born to replicate the model of urban upgrading that was successful in Bahia State, Brazil, in Maputo, Mozambique, with coordination from Cities Alliance and financing from the World Bank. The Maputo City Council asked AVSI to develop a national strategy for the integration of informal settlements, linked with the implementation of two projects alongside the Ministry of Infrastructure: one in a slum of the capital city and one in the rural province of Manica.
With attention to the environment in the rapidly developing city, AVSI is working with the Ministry of Environment to prepare the first UNFCCC credited project to reduce CO2 emissions in Mozambique: the project foresees a pilot intervention in slums in Maputo through the substitution of traditional charcoal cooking stoves with high efficiency cooking stoves, reducing emissions by 80%; charcoal use by 50%; and improving safety in the home.
In northern Mozambique, AVSI supports agricultural projects in Pemba in the northern Cabo Delgado Province with local partner Companhia do Agro-Turismo UTOPIA, with the formation of a new agro-business and farmer training school to help small producers move pass the sustenance level. Initial surveys are being done in the sector of energy efficiency and environment.
Distance Support Project
Location: Maputo City and Province, Gaza Province
Description: Long-term holistic support to over 1,250children and adolescents in informal areas or difficult contexts. Promoting access to primary and secondary education, improving the conditions for psychosocial and academic progress, fulfillment of requirements for school (uniforms, books, fees, etc.) and basic health and hygiene, and organization of after school activities including vocational training and job insertion assistance. Strengthening of the local organizations in the educational centers involved, including 3 managed directly and 9 others in Maputo and in Gaza province.
Centers involved:Jeorge Dimitrov, Laulane, Maria Grazia Rizzo, Sao Joaquim, Centro Dia Maes de Mavalane, Centro Joao Batista de Scalabrini, Centro Nutricional Sao Miguel, Jardin Infantil Madre Maria Clara de Marracuene, Lar Nova Esperanca da Matola,Centro Menino Jesus da Manica, Escolinha Sao Josè de Chibuto
Donor Partners: AVSI private donors
Implementing Partners: Khandlelo Association
Location: Chamanculo C slum of Maputo
Description: Bringing knowledge from AVSI’s urban upgrading experience to assist in the situation diagnosis, to help formulate guidelines and integrated development plans for community, environmental, and socio-economic aspects.Emphasis on fostering local development and social networks through the strengthening of society associations and improvement of household socio-economic level. Institutional strengthening through the establishment and capacity building of a municipal multidisciplinary technical team.
Donor Partners: Cities Alliance (World Bank & UN Habitat), Italian Cooperation,
Implementing Partners: Maputo City Council, Cities Alliance, Brazil cooperation
Entering the job market: new challenges for unemployed youth in the shantytowns of Maputo (Video)
Location: Chamanculo C slum of Maputo
Description: Path of study for 3,000 youth ages 15-24, integrating acquisition of technical and professional skills along with holistic accompaniment for personal growthand human formation. Selection of beneficiaries based on willingness and motivation. Components include: 1) job market analysis in Maputo to identify skills most in demand, 2) development of training courses adapted to market demands, 3) professional development for instructors, 4) literacy courses, 5) awareness raising on Corporate Social Responsibility and business partnerships for apprenticeships and job insertion, 6) and establishment of permanent vocational training facility.
Donor Partners: European Union (EU)
Implementing Partners: Salesian Missionaries, Khandlelo Association, Asscodecha (Association for the Community Development of Chamanculo C), Maputo City Council – Education and Economic Activities Sectors, CESAL (Spanish NGO)
Establishment of an Agro-business and Technical School in northern Mozambique
Location: Pemba-Metuge District, Cabo Delgado Province
Description: Empowering small farmers to move from a subsistence level to income-generating agricultural production, including diversification of crops and nutrition awareness. Founding of an agro-business employing 40 small producers for a total of 200 beneficiaries. Construction and operation of an agriculture training school for 160 small farmers to benefit 640 residents. Cultivation of 120 acres of land with permission for use from Cabo Delgado Province. Construction of a store to sell goods, with connected cafeteria to provide food and nutrition education for malnourished children and their parents.
Implementing Partners: Companhia do Agro-Turismo UTOPIA
Technical support for reorganization of neighborhoods affected by the construction of the Nhacangara dam and drainage systems in Maputo
Location:Nhacangara River (Manica Province) and
Description: Providing consultation and support for the planning and integration of community participation in relocation initiatives in the residential areas affected by the construction of a dam on Nhacangara River and improvements to drainage systems.
Donor Partners: Mozambique Ministry of Public Works and Housing
Support in the development of the national strategy for urban integration of informal settlements
Location: Maputo City
Description: Provision of technical support, especially in the integration of elements for a community participatory approach, in drafting and revising the national strategy for integrating informal settlements in Mozambican cities, based on results of pilot projects.
Donor Partners: City of Maputo; World Bank
Implementing Partners: Consortium with Khandlelo, Synergia
April 10, 2011 Inauguration of New Center in Mozambique
November 28, 2011 Tri-lateral urban upgrading project opened in Maputo, Mozambique