For every child, inclusion
Social inclusion situation in Mozambique
Mozambique ranked amongst the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world until very recently, but is now facing a severe financial crisis and still remains one of the world’s poorest and least developed countries. The past decade’s annual average economic growth rate of 7.5 per cent has failed to deliver equitable progress.
Recent discoveries of natural resources, particularly liquid gas, have, on the one hand, raised hopes for a change of course, and on the other raised concerns of the so-called ‘resource curse’, which could fail to create jobs, have a negative impact on the exchange rate and cost of living, and mostly bolster a small elite.
According to preliminary data from the latest House-hold Budget Survey (IOF, 2015), most of the growth in household consumption occurred in the wealthiest quintile, with the wealthiest fifth of Mozambicans spending 14 times as much as the poorest fifth; this is double the ratio of 7 to 1 just six years ago.
Overall consumption poverty is at 46 per cent. Disparities in access to and usage of services – and more importantly of outcomes – continue between rural and urban areas, the south and north of the country, boys and girls, and between the different wealth quintiles. In some provinces, poverty surpasses 50 per cent of households (Gaza – 51 per cent, Zambézia and Nampula – 57 per cent, and Niassa – 61 per cent), while in Maputo City the rate dropped to 11 per cent, showing that past growth has been captured only by the capital city. Most recent data show that over 50 per cent of households are food insecure, 24 per cent chronically, leaving them vulnerable to shocks – such as recurrent flooding throughout the country and drought in the south and centre – and undermining their productivity. Undernutrition remains a key determinant for child under-development, with 43.3 per cent of children stunted. After many years focusing on access to services, it is clear that quality and equity are fundamental missing links in service delivery.
Programme priorities 2017–2020
Supporting social inclusion requires looking both at those who are excluded and the agents and decision processes that maintain a system of inequity. The programme is built on a framework which promotes policy innovation based on evidence-generation, engagement with key players and assessment of results, thereby nurturing processes of finding and implementing solutions that work.
The main areas of support are:
Conducting quality research, analysis and evaluation on multiple dimensions of child poverty and deprivations to inform policies and strategies for inclusive and equitable development.
The focus is to encourage policies that are based on pro-poor development strategies.
Bolstering equitable child-focused investment through national plans, budgets and legislation.
UNICEF produces key information to influence national plans and budgets in different stages of the budget cycle, and engages with the main actors who directly and indirectly influence these policies and processes. By working with the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), Parliament and civil society, as well as with international financial institutions (IFIs) and donors, UNICEF promotes the strengthening of transparency, participation and oversight of the budget processes, in order to influence resources that promote poverty reduction and equity in outcomes for children. The work includes publication of studies (for example, costing and fiscal space analyses and criteria of territorial budget allocation), budget briefs, budget literacy brochures, technical assistance to the MEF and Parliament, capacity building and support to civil society organizations that work around public finance matters, and initiatives that bring together a variety of stakeholders of the budget process to increase policy dialogue. Over the past decade, UNICEF’s work on this area has led to the definition of an integrated strategy of generation and sharing of information on public finance that has positioned UNICEF Mozambique as a relevant actor nationally, considered a gold standard in the region.
Using data and citizen participation to inform effective sub-national government plans and budgets.
This will strengthen the decentralization process and local governance systems to improve service delivery. UNICEF supports the government’s Five-Year Plan (PQG) on local governance, advocating for participatory and inclusive governance; continuation of the transfer of powers; delegation of State functions and resources to local authorities; and the reinforcement of citizen participation in development decision-making at district and local authority level. It also contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) focus on enhancement of inclusive and sustainable urbanization. UNICEF also encourages positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning.
Gathering evidence on efficiency and effectiveness to inform the scale-up of and investment in sustainable social protection systems and policies.
Research and evidence will help ensure equity and non-discrimination in the identification of beneficiaries, and minimize inclusion and exclusion errors which render the system inefficient. It will also support advocacy for improved investment in the provision of social protection interventions; the inclusion of other sectors, such as nutrition, education and health in policy dialogue; and evidence generation on the effectiveness of social protection programmes to reduce vulnerabilities and decrease inequities. Social protection consists of a cross-sectoral set of policies and programmes, and therefore is an area in which all outcome areas of the country programme must be able to engage, under the coordination and guidance of social policy functions.
Where the money goes
National Budget distribution: Social Spending within the overall budget, 2017
Allocated Budget: Mozambique State Budget vs UNICEF budget in USD
The majority of investments in social services for children and their families are funded by the national government. Therefore leveraging the government’s own resources, which are infinitely larger than UNICEF’s own, has the largest potential for making a difference for children. How a government raises revenue and decides to spend its resources is both a technical and political decision that has tremendous consequences for children. The ultimate goal of UNICEF’s work in this area is to ensure that the rights of all children in Mozambique are realized through national plans and budgets that are both effective and equity-enhancing for the social sectors that serve children’s well-being.
Addressing multidimensional poverty and inequalities
The love Sarah, 12, has for her frail, elderly grandmother shines through her eyes and charming smile as she watches her grandmother decide whether to take her headscarf off for a photo.
“I want to be a doctor when I leave school,” Sarah says, with the determination of someone who believes she can make it. “I admire doctors when I see them make people better. I want to do the same.”
Yet that dream was almost crushed 10 months ago when her uncle tore up her school books. Without any books, Sarah just gave up going to school, losing three months of school until Raul Paqueleque, a member of the health committee and secretary of the school council, visited her home. “Sarah told me that she wanted to go to school but she had no books,” says Paqueleque. He reassured her that she could return and contacted the local school council who arranged new text books for Sarah, using the money they put aside at the school for vulnerable children.
Sarah is among the most vulnerable in her sparsely-populated rural homestead in Mucocola, Muecate district, about two hours’ drive from the provincial capital of the northern province of Nampula, one of the most populous provinces with some of the worst social indicators, particularly for girls. Her home is set in a remote area about 10 kilometres along a dirt road.
Sara was sent recently to the locality by her mother to care for her grandmother; her other three brothers and sisters still live with their mother seven kilometres away.
Carlos Armando, a member of the child protection committee at district level, points out that Sarah’s grandmother only has a small plot of peanuts, maize, cassava and beans, which Sarah farms, and her grandmother’s pension, the household’s only income, is less than US$50 a month.
Approximately 1,000,000 was the increase, in the number of poor people in Mozambique, between 2008/09 and 2014/15, despite the observed poverty reduction in percentage terms.
Sarah accepts her reality and is delighted to be back at school; she is now in Grade 7 of primary school. Sarah describes the daily chores that she carries out alone before and after school, without any trace of resentment. Smiling, she says, “I get up before the sun rises to work.” Her work includes cleaning, farming, preparing food, fetching water and looking after her elderly grandmother.
She concedes, “Collecting firewood is difficult for me as I get scared when I have to go into the bush alone.” They have no electricity, no running water and no toilet.
UNICEF Senior Social Policy Specialist in Mozambique, Andrea Rossi, points out that children experiencing poverty like Sarah are deprived in key multiple aspects of their lives, such as education, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, shelter and protection.
For many, these deprivations may overlap. For this reason, in 2016, UNICEF supported research not only on monetary poverty, but also on multidimensional poverty like that experienced by Sarah, and led in-depth analyses of government public finance allocations and expenditures on social sectors. “If we cannot reduce poverty in the short term, we should at least reduce the deprivation of basic services in health, education, water, sanitation and protection. Even under severe economic restrictions, we need to work together to make sure that government mobilizes their available resources to the maximum extent, and maximizes the impact for children, especially for those who are the most marginalized and deprived, mainly living in rural and remote areas.”
The rich got richer: in 2008 a person in the richest quintile consumed 7 times more than a person in the poorest one. In 2015 that difference was 14 times.
Monthly consumption per capity by weatlh quintile (Meticais, current prices)
Source: IOF data , 2008/09 vs 2014/15
Social inclusion in Mozambique at a glance
|Average economic growth||7,5%|
|Child population||12 million|
|Children living in absolute poverty||48%|
|Food insecure households||Over 50%|
Source: UNICEF, Child Poverty and Disparities