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The BMZ and terre des hommes
A brighter future for young people

Just a few years ago, Mahubo was a poor village. There was no work, no school, and no water for the people to cultivate their land. Many young people left the small com­mu­ni­ty in southern Mozambique hoping for a better life in South Africa.

However, many of them fell into the hands of traffickers and were forced into labour or prostitution. Today, the future looks brighter for young people in Mahubo. A project run by the organisation terre des hommes and supported by the BMZ has helped to improve living conditions in their com­mu­ni­ty.

 

A cry for help
How it all began...

In 2000, the village elders turned to the organisation Rede CAME (Rede Contra o Abuso de Menores – network against the abuse of minors).

They wanted to stop being afraid for their children and hoped that the organisation set up to fight child trafficking in Mozambique would help.

 

Rede CAME
Raising awareness of child trafficking

Carlos Manjate from the organisation Rede CAME came to Mahubo to teach the people in the village about the danger of falling into the hands of child traffickers.

While he was there he realised that raising awareness would not be enough on its own to help the young people in Mahubo. "Something needed to be done in order to give the families opportunities to earn money and secure basic needs such as food," Manjate said.

 

Permaculture
An alternative farming method

Carlos Manjate brought permaculture to Mahubo – a resource-conserving, alternative farming method which combines plants so that they become mutually protecting and reinforcing.

This makes fertilisers and pesticides redundant. Carlos Manjate brought Ali Ibrahim Sharif (right), an expert on permaculture, into the project to train the local people.

 

Access to training
A community and training centre for Mahubo

A com­mu­ni­ty and training centre was set up in Mahubo in co­op­er­a­tion with terre des hommes and the Federal Ministry for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (BMZ).

Here small farmers can learn about the principles of permaculture. But courses on computer skills are on offer, too. And 18-year-old Lea has jumped at the opportunity. She wants to learn how to find information on the internet. Her ambition is to become a nurse one day. "Medical care here in Mahubo is not good," she says. Her grandmother and mother are happy that Lea is going to school and wants to stay. Lea's older sister went to South Africa. Then she had a son, who now lives with the family in Mahubo.

 

New knowledge
Women in a demonstration garden

The people now living in Mahubo are refugees from the civil war that ended 20 years ago. They were resettled in this small village not far from the country's capital Maputo.

A lot of ag­ri­cul­tur­al know-how was lost during the long period they spent living in camps. Now that missing knowledge is to be restored. In the demonstration garden belonging to the project, they are learning to grow food that will provide them with a healthy diet.

 

Lessons
Pupils learning in the garden

Mahubo now even has a school. Gardening is part of the curriculum.

The children are taught how to fertilise and irrigate plants and they learn a lot about healthy nutrition. They are happy to be standing in a fertile garden, where they can learn everything about growing plants and about food.

 

Job opportunities
Jorge wants to be a pilot

14-year-old Jorge wants to be a pilot. It took the highly-gifted boy only one year to master English.

"I am proud of my son," his mother says. She is glad that he can go to school in Mahubo.

 

Community kitchen
School meals

A few men are taking a break outside the community kitchen that was financed through the project.

Soon the schoolchildren will get regular meals here using produce from the demonstration garden. For, not all parents are able to provide adequate food for their children.

 

Safe drinking water
New water tanks

In Mahubo, people depend on rain water as the groundwater is too saline.

Through the project they have learned how to build water tanks. Now, the people in Mahubo have safe drinking water throughout the whole year.

 

Tilapia
Fish for the community pond

There is a pond right in the middle of Mahubo. Ali Ibrahim Sharif, the expert on permaculture, has had the pond enlarged.

It is fed by rainwater thanks to the natural slope of the land. Some 25,000 young tilapia have just been released into the pond. This is a robust freshwater fish that will soon be a source of essential protein for the people of Mahubo.

 

Irrigation
Catchment ditches catch water during heavy rainfall

The natural flow of the water is also used in the fields.

Narrow ditches between the planted beds stop the water from running away during heavy rainfall. This prevents erosion and gives the water time to sink into the soil. Using straw mulch can enhance both of these effects.

 

Dam
Water for Mahubo

Mahubo gets its water from this "natural reservoir".

The dam walls have been reinforced with clay.

 

When no rain falls
A dry season field

People in Mahubo often went hungry during the dry season.

Now they can use this field to grow crops when there is no rain.

 

Maria da Silva:
"A lot has changed for us"

For Maria da Silva, one of the village elders, the project is a real blessing.

"A lot has changed for us. We have learned new farming methods. And we have enough clean water."

 

Rural development
The government wants to take up ideas from Mahubo

Initially, start-up funding was provided for Mahubo, but now many of the activities no longer need to be supported. The people are very engaged and the project even benefits families who are not directly involved.

The Government of Mozambique wants to include ideas from Mahubo in its programme for rural de­vel­op­ment.