Child Grant programme helps mother of six provide food for her children in Nampula

“With the money I bought food and I started to eat properly well,  then my breastmilk started to flow, it was such a relief, my baby started to grow healthy”.

Eleanor Hill
Programa de subsidio para criança ajuda mãe de seis filhos a alimentar seus filhos em Nampula
UNICEF/2021/Eleanor Hill
20 January 2022

Lalaua, Nampula - Sitting in the shade of her mango tree, in Nicquosse, in Lalaua District in the Province of Nampula, Estala Ateline is tearful when remembering the difficult times after the birth of her child, “I wanted to feed my baby but I couldn’t, my breastmilk didn’t come”,  she tried and tried but was not able to produce enough milk to breastfeed her baby.

Estala’s family is poor so there was no money for formula milk, so she got support from her community. “For my baby to survive I took him to other breastfeeding mothers and asked for help, my baby was so hungry and tiny, it was so painful, he cried so much,” remembers Estala.  

Estala was 35 years old when Jaca Alexandre was born. Jaca is one of six children. Estala lives with her husband who sells small accessories at a kiosk in the local market, but he doesn’t make enough money. They cultivate beans, corn and mandioca in the family machamba (small family farm) but it is hard to have enough food for all the family.

“There is going to be a programme to help small children, to make them healthy,” heard Estala in a community meeting about the child grant programme. A few months later, Estala received money from the child grant for the first time, “with the money I bought food and I started to eat properly well,  then my breastmilk started to flow, it was such a relief, my baby started to grow healthy”. Without the child grant, she believes that her child would not be alive today.

The start-up phase of the child grant (0-2 years) programme in Mozambique is implemented by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action (MGCAS), through its operational arm, the National Institute of Social Assistance (INAS), with technical support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), financed by the governments of Sweden, Netherlands, and United Kingdom. The start-up phase was initiated in September 2018 in four districts in Nampula, one of the poorest provinces in Mozambique. The start-up phase will be finalized in December 2021, when all 15,345 children and their caregivers will have received 24 months of payments, and graduate from the programme. Based on the positive outcomes of the pilot phase of the programme, the Government of Mozambique is currently preparing for its expansion to reach more children and families.

With the money she receives from the child grant, Estala buys food such as eggs, vegetables, and sugar, she also buys clothes for Jaca. She uses the money to support her other children too, to buy clothes, school uniforms and pay school registration fees. But the biggest gain has been Jaca, Estala expressed her gratitude for the child grant programme and said she “feels so happy, my child has grown and is healthy”.