Dorcas Mozambique expands to new geographical area

Dorcas Mozambique is now working in Cabo Delgado province, specifically in the District of Chiure. This area is affected by a complex humanitarian crisis with military tension, climate-induced problems and high levels of poverty. The most affected districts are in the northern region of the province. Currently, there are over 750,000 internally displaced persons and approximately 1.3 million people without a secure supply of food.

Why Cabo Delgado
The Northern provinces of Mozambique have been neglected for a long time. Therefore, in 2019, Dorcas considered opening operations in the Cabo Delgado or Nampula provinces. Due to the growing insecurity and continued natural disasters in Cabo Delgado, such as cyclone Kenneth in 2019, a decision was made to focus on just Cabo Delgado. Country Director Florencio Marerua: ‘We saw the urgent need to respond to a growing complex humanitarian crisis in line with Dorcas’ mission. We also felt that by expanding our geographical area of coverage to include Cabo Delgado will also extend our networks for effective programme implementation. We felt called to address the local grievances that contributed to the current crisis in the region.’

The situation in Cabo Delgado has further deteriorated to a point where the state demonstrated an inability to manage such a snowballing security threat. So, by bringing in development and relief support, Dorcas will contribute to improving the lives of people affected in the region. The crisis is attributed to high levels of poverty and the resentment towards the state that many locals feel. Also, it is generally felt that people in the North have been marginalised for a long time. This has fuelled young people’s anger about the inequalities and exclusion. For example, students who study abroad with funding from the Islamic Council of Mozambique also feel marginalised upon returning home despite the formal education they had just received. Another assumed contributing factor is the growing tension due to the discovery of minerals in the province.

Most of the internally displaced persons arrive in transition camps with nothing and with little or no protection from COVID-19. Malnutrition and diarrhoea cases are on the rise, and there is a genuine fear that those who survived the war may die from hunger, poor sanitation and hygiene or lack of water.

Our response
Dorcas Mozambique commissioned a socioeconomic and political context analysis for the Cabo Delgado province that was conducted in late 2020 and early 2021. The report clarified the thematic and geographic areas where Dorcas could intervene in Cabo Delgado and therefore provided the input for the programme design. In November 2020, we started engaging local partners, UN Agencies, the government and other key stakeholders. We did this through a local consultant based in Cabo Delgado, Pemba city. In the following months, we managed to establish a partnership with ADEL CD, a local co-implementing partner and with the government of Chiure that is extensively supporting our work.

We used our limited local funding to start responding to the crisis in Chiure District. Given our size and the fact that we are new in the region, we decided to start with small but efficient initiatives. We also decided to work in the safe zones given the uncertainty about the security situation, which continues to deteriorate.

Our current focus is immediate emergency response. However, in Cabo Delgado, Dorcas intends to address not just immediate needs but also long-term development needs. The Humanitarian Response Plan 2021 for Mozambique targets 1 million people in need and pledges USD 253.5 million. Less than 10 percent of this pledge has been covered so far.

We are now working with a partner to implement our Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Food Security projects in the district. WASH will help to improve the hygiene and sanitation situation in the camps. Another major concern is that the camp inhabitants have nothing to do and remain idle for most of the day. We will therefore seek funds for agriculture and other activities to improve food security and keep the camp residents motivated and active.

22 July 2021