Aga Khan Development Network

Mozambique home

Social Development




Economic Development

Other Countries


Social Development

AKDN activities in Mozambique include the Habitat Initiative, which works to improve the built environment and thereby  improve the  overall quality of life.AKDN activities, which are concentrated in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado, include the Habitat Initiative, which works to improve the built environment in poor areas. For more information, click on the image above.AKDN activities are concentrated in Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, where the rural population depends mostly on farming and fishing for survival. In most areas of the province families produce enough to survive and little more. Rural villages are not only isolated from markets, but also from education and health services. One in four children born in Cabo Delgado does not survive past the age of five and at least half of the province’s children are malnourished. Life expectancy is under 40 years.

To address these challenges, the Coastal Rural Support Programme (CRSP(M)) was initiated in 2001 as an integrated programme of activities in economic development (including agriculture), civil society, education, health and habitat. It is currently working in five districts of Cabo Delgado province (Quissanga, lbo, Meluco, Pemba Metuge, and Macomia) with the aim of increasing food security and income generation opportunities, as well as health and education, for rural households, particularly women. By the end of 2013, CRSP(M)’s goal is to enable sustainable improvements in the quality of life for 200,000 people.

While several AKDN agencies are working in the province, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is leading the coordinated area development project. AKF implements its activities through three programmes, the Coastal Rural Support Programme (CRSP(M)), the Entrepreneur Development Initiative (EDI), and the Bridges to the Future (B2F) programme.

Miniature elephants have been carved out of ebony at a local craftsmanship centre supported by CRSP(M).Miniature elephants have been carved out of ebony at a local craftsmanship centre supported by the Aga Khan Foundation's Coastal Rural Support Programme.Coastal Rural Support Programme (CRSP(M))
In response to the extreme poverty and isolation facing rural communities of northern Mozambique, AKF created the Coastal Rural Support Programme (CRSP(M)) in the province of Cabo Delgado in 2001. CRSP(M) tackles rural poverty with a coordinated approach that focuses on economic development (including agriculture), education, health and habitat, and includes key cross-cutting themes including civil society strengthening, gender, the environment, and HIV/AIDS. The programme also actively encourages the participation and leadership of women’s organisations.

As in programmes of the Aga Khan Foundation in Asia and East Africa, the essential building blocks for sustainable development remain the village organisation. Over 60 Village Development Organisations (VDOs), formed with assistance from AKF, are currently active in the programme area.  The VDOs mobilise community resources, identify priorities and resolve problems.

One of the first priorities identified by many VDOs was finding markets for surplus production. Without markets for their goods, farmers were reluctant to produce surpluses - a reluctance that resulted in the stifling of economic exchange.

To resolve this problem, the Foundation has integrated marketing into its rural development programme. It has fostered the establishment of farmers’ cooperatives by linking maize, sesame and rice farmers with agri-businesses in Pemba and Nampula. On Ibo Island, it has linked fruit and vegetable farmers with restaurants and hotels on the mainland. It has also worked to solve a major impediment to trade - transport - by arranging for alternative methods (in some cases, buyers provide the transport) of bringing goods to market.

Agricultural and Marine Productivity Gains
Marketing efforts have gone hand in hand with projects designed to increase agricultural output and quality, which have helped to boost individuals agricultural earnings from US$30,000 in 2005 to US$600,000 in 2006. The efforts encompass:

With the focus on improving the quality of life of communities, the Habitat Initiative - a programme within CRSP(M) - is facilitating communities’ ability to undertake significant improvements to their built environment. 

Housing in the project area is largely of poor quality, lacking sufficient light, ventilation and vulnerable to environmental elements. Typically, houses here have an average lifespan of only five years, often deteriorating rapidly because of failing roofs.

By working with rural community organisations to build 15 ecologically- constructed learning centres, the initiative is drawing on traditional techniques and developing innovative skills that improve the use and encourage the sustainability of naturally available materials.  For example, communities are being taught how to create improved bamboo framing systems by treating the bamboo with cashew oil to avoid pest attacks, and forming the bamboo into strong beams in order to create larger, more durable structures. 

In order to enhance community knowledge and skills, community groups are involved closely in the planning, design and construction of the learning centres.  The initiative is also supporting the creation of local ecological building construction associations as well as  entrepreneurs in order to meet future demand, thereby enhancing economic opportunities as well as promoting improved structures in the region. 

Entrepreneur Development Initiative (EDI)
Established in 2007, the Entrepreneur Development Initiative takes a market development approach to facilitate the development of micro and small enterprises. EDI acts as a knowledge broker and a capacity builder, employing a small team of market development specialists to build on the potential of producers, entrepreneurs, and private sector support systems in northern Mozambique.

EDI focuses on research and learning, and conducting value chain analysis in strategic sub-sectors and invests in local capacity to provide market support services and capitalise on emerging opportunities by training both its own staff and promising partners in the private sector, other NGOs and government. EDI works in various sectors and sub-sectors to engage in and facilitate the provision of services at key points along the value chains of these sectors. It provides both direct services as well as facilitating linkages to ensure access to appropriate inputs as well as buyers.

Bridges to the Future (B2F)
Bridges to the Future (B2F) is a coordinated programme that combines scholarships and mentoring for promising students, training opportunities for local professionals and capacity building for strategic institutions. Through these complementary initiatives, B2F aims to create greater social and economic opportunity for the people of northern Mozambique while also fostering a more pluralistic society.

Return to top