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close this bookThe Reintegration of War-Affected Youth: The Experience of Mozambique (International Labour Organization, 1997, 52 p.)
close this folder3. Reintegrating war-affected youth into society in Mozambique through vocational skills training programmes
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.1. The demobilization and reintegration of former youth combatants
View the document3.2. The reintegration of child soldiers
View the document3.3. The reintegration of youth civilians
Open this folder and view contents3.4. Selected examples of mainstream vocational training courses


In reviewing the successes and failures of the reintegration of war-affected youth in Mozambique, one must take care not to confuse reintegration programmes with the reintegration process. A programme can promote a process but it cannot replace it. A wide number of factors, many of which lie far beyond the control of those involved in designing and implementing reintegration programmes, can contribute to the success or failure of certain targeted individuals to reintegrate. Identification and assessment of relevant factors affecting the process of reintegration are of course essential components in the planning stage of a reintegration programme. As will be seen below, this remains an important lesson to be drawn from the experience of Mozambique.

Moreover, although it can sometimes be unhelpful, and even perhaps misleading, to categorize children and youth as members of discrete vulnerable groups (because of the interrelatedness of problems and situations), a certain compartmentalization is almost inevitable. While stressing the grinding poverty that affects the majority of children and youths in Mozambique, a number of additional threats to survival and development characterize those with particular experiences as a result of the war. In seeking to isolate these threats, an initial distinction must be made between those children and young men and women who were active participants in the armed conflict and those who remained civilians throughout the long years of conflict. Rightly or wrongly, this distinction was fundamental to the programmes of reintegration designed and implemented by the international community in Mozambique, at least between 1993 and 1996.1 The mainstay of international effort and resources were directed, intentionally, at the soldiers demobilized from the armies of FRELIMO and RENAMO.

1 Most agencies no longer support programmes designed to benefit solely or primarily ex-combatants. This issue is discussed further below.

The following three sections outline and assess the demobilization and reintegration of youth combatants, child soldiers, and youth civilians, respectively. As will be seen, the targeting of assistance to specific groups of war-affected children and youth came to an end only very recently.

3.1. The demobilization and reintegration of former youth combatants

The General Peace Accord of October 1992, which officially brought an end to 16 years of civil war in Mozambique, provided for the establishment of the United Nations Office in Mozambique (UNOMOZ) and for the United Nations Humanitarian Assistance Coordination (UNOHAC), which included the Commission for Reintegration (CORE). Assembly Areas for demobilization were opened in late 1993 and the first soldiers arrived in early 1994. The demobilization process took anything from six weeks to four months, during which time there was some unrest by soldiers frustrated by the long period of encampment in often overcrowded conditions.2

2 C.A. Bryant, Reintegrating demobilized combatants into social and economic life in Mozambique: A case study of NGO experiences, report, Dec. 1994, p. 8.

Demobilized soldiers received six months severance pay from the Government and, following concern about the potential threat to peace and law and order posed by the demobilized soldiers,1 18 months' financial assistance was paid by the international community through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as part of a Reintegration Support Scheme.2 Forty-nine Mozambican monitors were trained and sent to the Assembly Areas to conduct education programmes, including basic literacy classes.3 In addition, each demobilized soldier received clothing, food rations and a tool kit with seeds. This was in line with a survey that suggested that most soldiers wanted to return to agriculture.4

1 Fears continue to be expressed about the dangers of disgruntled former soldiers turning to violence in order to survive, especially in view of the easy availability of cheap semi-automatic weaponry in Mozambique. This issue is discussed further below.

2 See E. Berman, Managing arms in peace processes: Mozambique, UNIDIR, Geneva, forthcoming, p. 52. Owing to the continuing devaluation of the Mozambican currency, the metical, against the US dollar, funds remained after the 18-month period of payments had ended. After discussion between the donors and the Mozambican Government it was decided to distribute an additional sum to the demobilized. Many people feel that this was a mistake (although perhaps understandable in view of the potential consequences of returning the money to the donors). A number even believe that the 18 months of international financial support to the demobilized was inappropriate. Indeed, in a survey of 150 demobilized soldiers in Manica province it was found that even the soldiers themselves could not agree on the reason for their receiving the money. Some felt it was to be used to eat and drink with their families, others thought it was compensation for time spent in the army, and a third group did not know the reason and simply spent the money on beer. In spite of this, Victor Igreja, the researcher for the Refugee Studies Programme in Oxford, United Kingdom, who conducted the survey, contrasted the situation of men coming back from six months' work at the mines in South Africa “laden” with money and gifts for the whole household, and that of the demobilized who returned with pay that was insufficient to be shared round the family.

3 Bryant, op. cit.

4 Berman, op. cit.

No one knows exactly how many men, women and children fought on all sides during the civil war in Mozambique, and equally no one is able to tell with precision how many were spontaneously or even officially demobilized at the war's end. This applies a fortiori for the number of children and youth in the armed forces, since children under 15 years of age were excluded from the official demobilization process largely as a result of political sensitivities. Estimates of the total numbers of soldiers who left the armies at the end of the conflict range from around 90,000 to 150,000.5

5 Discussion with Julio Joaquim Nimuire, President, AMODEG, 4 Dec. 1996. AMODEG, the Associa Mobicana dos Desmobilizados de Guerra (the Mozambican war veterans association), is a national NGO established in 1991 to represent the interests of the demobilized. It claims a membership of 75,000 former FRELIMO and RENAMO soldiers.

According to one report in February 1996,6 CORE provided 12,000 ex-combatants with vocational kits, employment promotion and vocational training activities, through programmes implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNDP, ILO and the German cooperation organization, Gesellschaft fhnische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ).7 The ILO, for instance, has implemented with the Ministry of Labour the Desenvolvimento de Habilidades Ocupacionais8 (DHO) Project to assist the reintegration of demobilized soldiers. According to its monthly report for October 1996, the cumulative results of the project were as follows:

- 9,239 current or past beneficiaries of vocational or business management training, of whom 5,250 have successfully completed their training and 589 did not take or failed the graduation test;

- 5,462 kits have been distributed;

- 70 per cent of the trainees have found paid jobs or have established self-employment or micro-enterprises;

- 320 trainers have been trained in vocational training, as well as 120 employment specialists;

- 614 micro-enterprises have been created generating 2,069 employment posts;

- contributions have been made to the rehabilitation of training centres and employment promotion centres in Beira (Sofala) and Inhambane.

6 Notas, 17 Feb. 1996, quoted by J. Hanlon, Peace without profit, London, Irish Mozambique Solidarity and The International African Institute, 1996, p. 126.

7 Creative Associates International, Inc., The Information and Referral Service and Provincial Fund (IRS/PF) for the Reintegration of Demobilized Soldiers in Mozambique: Transition of the Reintegration Program, final report prepared for the International Organization for Migration, Washington, DC, June 1996, p. 2.

8 In English, “vocational skills development”.

As a result of its reintegration projects, GTZ claimed to have already created 6,200 jobs on paper for demobilized soldiers in four provinces,1 of which 5,000 former soldiers were actually employed. The head of the GTZ reintegration programme in Mozambique believed that a substantial percentage of the jobs would be sustainable.

1 Discussion with Rudolf Mutschler, GTZ, 6 Dec. 1996.

Non-governmental organizations were also involved in the reintegration programmes as implementing partners of vocational training courses. For example, an Italian NGO, Coordina Organiza Servicio Voluntario (COSV), provided the funds for vocational skills training for several hundred disabled ex-combatants in agriculture, carpentry, brick-making, car mechanics, electronics/radio repair, tailoring, shoe-making, small-scale trading and secretarial training. In completion of the training programme, the trainees were given tools or kits to start themselves in self-employment. At the end of the first course, however, roughly half of the 70 disabled ex-combatants had sold the kit distributed at graduation, since on return to the community they were unable to find or initiate employment and were under pressure from the household to make a financial contribution.2

2 ibid., p. 28.

ISCOS, the Instituto Sindical Italiano de Copera Ao Desenvolvimento, is a trade union-based non-governmental organization which began working in Mozambique in the early 1980s in the field of vocational training. Technical courses for 2,000 demobilized were supported at a number of different training centres in Maputo, Beira and Chimoio. For those wishing to engage in self-employment, a 15-day course in basic management was included, although it was found to be inadequate when compared with the needs. On completion of the course, graduates were given the option of a six-month work placement or the heavily subsidized purchase of a professional kit and support in self-employment. Some 1,500 demobilized soldiers received kits the average value of which was $300. A six-month monitoring period followed involving four to five home visits for each trainee. In a work placement scheme, the project paid the salary of the graduate in a company and other necessary expenses incurred for a period of six months.3 According to an ISCOS representative, 30 per cent of those trained and placed in the formal sector are still in work.4

3 Bryant, op. cit., p. 20.

4 Discussion with ISCOS, 11 Dec. 1996.

Box 1 below describes one of the centres in which ISCOS implemented its vocational training programmes for the demobilized soldiers.

Box 1

Vocational training for demobilized soldiers at the Centro de Forma Profissional Metalo-Mecca, Maputo

The Centro de Forma Profissional Metalo-Mecca (CFPM) is a vocational training centre for electricians, locksmiths, machine toolists and technical drawers that is now run by the largest trade union in Mozambique, the Organizaciondos Tralhadores de Mozambique (OTM). Until 1991 it was supported by the Instituto Sindical Italiano de Copera Ao Desenvolvimento (ISCOS), which gave the centre equipment and materials and also subsidized training costs.

In 1994, the Centre organized a three-month training course for 200 demobilized in a project supported by ISCOS. The course sought to train 120 demobilized as locksmiths and 80 as electricians and included lessons in mathematics and Portuguese and a very simple management course with basic book-keeping skills, explanation of terms such as “profit” and instruction on how to write a cheque. The staff at the centre were convinced that the training period was too short but felt that they had no choice but to accept. The trainers were pleasantly surprised by the quality and dedication of the demobilized trainees. The head of the training course ascribed this to “good military discipline”. He said that the former soldiers had difficulties in dealing with the theoretical parts of the course, but were strong on the practical aspects.

At the end of the course, all but six of the soldiers were successful and received a certificate recognized by the Ministry of Labour. Of the six who did not pass, two failed the final test and the other four did not finish the course. The trainer claimed that this was due to psychological trauma as a result of war experiences. Upon leaving, successful graduates were given the opportunity to purchase heavily subsidized tool kits but the trainer regretted the lack of resources to conduct proper follow-up with the graduates.

Nowadays, the centre advertises its programmes in the press. As a result of the worsening economic situation, in 1995 CFPM ceased to offer long-term training courses (of one to two years' duration) because they were too expensive for the students. Now the maximum duration of the training courses is six months' half-time study. All courses include general knowledge, Portuguese and mathematics in the curriculum.

The centre has to survive on a shoestring budget. The centre's equipment is getting old and money is not available for repairs or replacements. Theory and practice are taught in equal amounts because of the lack of serviceable equipment. Raw materials are in short supply: the centre does not even have enough iron for the trainee locksmiths to use. It recently had all its computers stolen.

Private companies no longer tend to send their employees to the centre as most are reducing staff numbers and prefer to hire employees that already have the technical knowledge required. As a consequence, most of those attending the training courses are private individuals and not company employees. The centre tries to get companies to accept the successful trainees as apprentices. Since it is difficult in the current market to charge the full cost of training, CFPM hires out its training rooms for meetings and has begun to offer English classes to try to pay its way. To survive in the future, the centre hopes to change its statute so that it can become a training centre for industrial associations.

In its last assessment of the reintegration of demobilized soldiers, conducted for the International Organization for Migration, Creative Associates International, Inc., a US-based consultancy company that was itself involved in the reintegration programme, found that most former soldiers seemed to be reintegrating well into society and that in most areas it was difficult to distinguish between the demobilized soldiers and the other members of the community.1 The report states that reunification with family is a vital factor in the social reintegration of demobilized soldiers and that the soldiers themselves cited reunification with family as one of the major reasons for perceiving themselves to be reintegrated. Another important factor was the possibility to obtain their own house.2 Surprisingly, although training was listed as a reintegration goal and desired reintegration outcome, those interviewed did not generally stress training as a need or indicator for successful economic reintegration.3

1 Creative Associates International, Inc., Study of demobilized soldiers facing difficulties in the reintegration process, final report prepared for the International Organization for Migration, Maputo, Sep. 1996, p. i. The Information and Referral Service (IRS), set up to provide information on benefits and opportunities to demobilized soldiers, determined that the objective of reintegration was “to cancel the differences between [demobilized soldiers] and the rest of the population”. See Creative Associates International, Inc. (June 1996), op. cit., p. 6. Not everyone agrees that this has been achieved. A study by Victor Igreja of the Refugee Studies Programme in Manica province, for example, found that the former soldiers often compared themselves with the returning refugees, many of whom had studied and learnt English. Overall, he felt that the distinction between former soldier and civilian still existed and that problems continued within families because of the acts committed by soldiers during the war. Despite attempts to reintegrate, he claimed that the demobilized continue to see themselves as a separate group, and that an informal network existed between former soldiers, in addition to the formal networks existing by virtue of organizations such as AMODEG and ADEMIMO.

2 Creative Associates International, Inc., Study of demobilized soldiers facing difficulties in the reintegration process, final report prepared for the International Organization for Migration, Maputo, Sep. 1996, p. 5.

3 ibid., p. 24. According to Victor Igreja, however, when asked whether they had learnt anything in the army, most former soldiers said that they had not. In the words of one demobilized soldier, “If you give me a gun, I'll be your teacher!”

Although positive about the reintegration process, the assessment did find that reintegration programming was perceived by the recipients as insufficient. Transparency regarding project selection, a much enhanced outreach program, and follow-up for those activities funded were mentioned as needed programming improvements.1 When asked to list factors which must still be addressed in order to ensure sustained reintegration, the former soldiers rated assistance with self-employment, machamba production and formal employment as the most important needs.2

1 ibid., p. ii.

2 ibid., p. 7.

Other studies have also pointed to strengths and weaknesses in the reintegration programmes. One survey based on interviews with 500 demobilized soldiers in Maputo City and province found no structural distinction between households with demobilized soldiers and those without, but recorded strong reservations from demobilized soldiers about the training programmes and subsequent follow-up.3 A number of experts, for instance, felt that the assistance should have been targeted wider. Since only one in six demobilized soldiers received vocational training, five in six did not.4 It would be useful to compare the situation of those who received formal training with those who did not so as to assess the “value added” by the vocational training programmes.

3 Discussion with Dr JoPaolo Borges Coelho, Lecturer, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, 17 Dec. 1996.

4 AMODEG, for example, asserted that the vast majority of demobilized soldiers did not benefit from any reintegration support projects, while some soldiers received support from multiple sources, due to poor coordination between implementing agencies. This situation inevitably resulted in widespread and considerable frustration and discontent on the pan of those excluded.

Thus, in a strategy paper for the demobilization and reintegration of former soldiers in Angola, it is interesting to note that the authors recommend not to set up specialized training for the demobilized but only to set quotas for the demobilized to ensure their access to vocational training. The paper further states that on the basis of ILO studies on demobilization in other countries, it is believed that only 5-15 per cent of the demobilized forces should have access to vocational training as only this number will be absorbed into the formal, informal and service economies.5

5 Austral Consultoria e Projectos, Lda., A strategy paper for the development of a demobilization and reintegration programme in Angola: Considerations for after the Lusaka Accord, final report, UNDP/UCAH Angola, May 1994, p. 25.

As far as demobilized youth are concerned, AMODEG felt that far too little was being done to assist them even though they had been the backbone of the two armies and had foregone the chance of attending school in order to fight. Vocational training programmes were not specifically targeted at the young even though the belief is widely held that the nature of vocational training is more conducive to younger people. Moreover, many young former soldiers were ineligible for pension allowances. Under Decree No. 3/88 of July 1988, FRELIMO soldiers of the armed liberation struggle and soldiers of the Mozambican Government army were entitled to veterans severance pension (Reforma).1 This was, however, limited to demobilized soldiers from the government side who were drafted at the age of 18 or older and who had completed at least ten years of military service, thereby excluding all RENAMO soldiers and those FRELIMO soldiers recruited below the age of 18. This injustice continues to cause resentment.2

1 Chapter II, section II, article 13.

2 Creative Associates International, Inc., op. cit., pp. 16-17.

According to AMODEG, although the vast majority of combatants in the Mozambican civil war were men, a number of women served in both the Government and opposition armed forces. According to the Head of the Women's Department of AMODEG, women ex-combatants continue to suffer discrimination, and various forms of assistance, such as financing for housing, are only available to men.3 She claimed that, initially at least, demobilized women were excluded from vocational training courses. Since September 1995, however, under pressure from AMODEG, a number of sewing classes have been organized, but unless cre facilities are provided, women may be prevented from attending.

3 Centro de Estudios Internacionales, Demobilized soldiers speak: Reintegration and reconciliation in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mozambique, CEI, Managua, 1996, p. 66.

ADEMIMO, an organization working on behalf of the estimated 10,000 disabled former soldiers4 felt that although the Mozambican Government was unable to fulfil its promises, many demobilized soldiers were being unrealistic in their expectations of the Government. ADEMIMO believed that most demobilized soldiers were actually doing little or nothing even if they had been trained, since the training did not provide a sufficiently high level of skill to enable the trainees to compete upon returning to their communities. Of the 600 disabled who received vocational training, ADEMIMO claimed that less than 5 per cent were successfully reintegrated into their communities. They complained that government companies did not really want to employ the disabled.

4 ADEMIMO strives: to confirm and organize disabled former soldiers in areas of residence; to help them to obtain due allowances; to join the disabled with NGOs able to help them or provide them with work; to find out the true number of disabled former soldiers; and to assess legislation relevant to the disabled. ADEMIMO hopes to set up regional businesses to employ its members, for example in small farms, and not merely to provide them with training. According to ADEMIMO's Vice-President, Daniel Bomba, the idea for the organization started “under some trees” only a few years ago and yet the organization had expanded rapidly to the extent that it already had offices in every province. He complained that IOM had promised to help the organization but had done nothing.

Some expressed disappointment as to the lack of information provided to the demobilized. The Information and Referral Service set up by IOM enjoyed “limited success” since materials were prepared in Portuguese for a “largely illiterate group of demobilized combatants”. The result was uncertainty on the part of the demobilized about their rights and duties resulting in demands for money.5

5 Teresinha da Suva, Researcher at the Centre for African Studies, Maputo, discussion with the author, 17 Dec. 1996.

IOM's International and Referral Service/Provincial Fund (IRS/PF) project for the demobilized soldiers ended in January 1997. It seems unlikely that programmes aimed specifically at the demobilized soldiers will continue.6 Indeed, a report prepared for IOM recommended that demobilized soldiers no longer be treated as a separate group as of 1997.1 The issue of targeted assistance to the demobilized has been controversial from the outset. Many NGOs, for example, were reluctant to implement reintegration programmes aimed specifically at demobilized soldiers because of:

(a) a belief that programmes should be directed at the population as a whole;

(b) a fear that targeting the demobilized will reinforce their perception that they are a special group with special rights;

(c) a view that the demobilized are not the most vulnerable or deserving group.2

6 See for example Creative Associates International, Inc., op. cit., p. 3.

1 Creative Associates International, Inc., The Information and Referral Service and Provincial Fund (IRS/PF) for the Reintegration of Demobilized Soldiers in Mozambique: Transition of the Reintegration Program, final report prepared for the International Organization for Migration, Washington DC, June 1996, p. iii.

2 See Bryant, op. cit., p. 15.

On the other hand, a number of experts felt that it was necessary, at least initially, to recognize the demobilized as a special group, since having been trained as soldiers they had the potential to be an especially volatile and violent segment of the population.

Overall, AMODEG felt that the reintegration assistance provided by IOM, GTZ and ILO was “positive”, although insufficient and inadequate to the immediate needs of the beneficiaries. According to AMODEG, one of the main reasons for this was the failure to base programmes on preliminary needs assessments. This view was repeated by a number of commentators. According to ILO in Mozambique, IOM was supposed to undertake a labour market survey of local areas for reintegration prospects, but this was apparently never done.3 In addition, and perhaps partly as a result, programmes were often poorly tailored to the areas to which the soldiers were returning. For example, some demobilized soldiers were trained to be electricians but were returning to areas without electricity; others were trained to be car mechanics and returned to areas where there were few if any cars.4 The head of GTZ's Mozambique programme claimed that this was due to the mistake of listening to what demobilized soldiers wanted.5 Others, however, felt that insufficient attention was paid to what soldiers really wanted and what the society expected.

3 Discussion with Josa Pinotes, Project Director, ILO Mozambique.

4 Discussion with Dr. JoPaolo Borges Coelho, Lecturer, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, 17 Dec. 1996.

5 Discussion with Rudolf Mutschler, GTZ, 6 Dec. 1996.

One expert referred to the need of many of the demobilized for a “proper” job (defined as salaried employment since men do not tend to consider activities in the informal sector as constituting work) in order to reintegrate.6 According to socio-anthropological realities, if Mozambican men have a regular salary coming in, they are prepared to earn less than their wives who are working in the informal sector. As in any society, status in Mozambique is an important factor. Moreover, in order successfully to reintegrate, if a Mozambican goes away for a long time the family expects him to return with something. The demobilized soldiers, however, tended to come back with almost empty hands. Far from improving the family's situation they often made it worse since the family they had to do extra work for the former soldiers because they “wanted to be helped”.7

6 Discussion with Dr. JoPaolo Borges Coelho, Lecturer, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, 17 Dec. 1996.

7 Discussion with Daniel Bomba, Vice-President, ADEMIMO, 5 Dec. 1996.

In addition to, and linked with, the concerns about the planning of vocational training programmes, a number of problems arose from their implementation. AMODEG, for instance, claimed that demobilized soldiers were trained in unmarketable skills, and were sometimes given poor quality kits which they later had to sell. A number of experts thought that a careful selection process for trainees should have been instigated. A representative of ISCOS, however, claimed that any selection process would have been difficult because of a perception among the demobilized that they had a right to training simply by virtue of their being demobilized.

The length of the training courses was also subject to scrutiny. Both AMODEG and ISCOS felt that three months was too short to learn properly a new skill. Josa Pinotes of ILO claimed that the more important figure than the overall duration of the course was the actual number of hours spent training. He felt that 900 hours of instruction over a six-month period were needed for most courses. A representative of US/AID, however, said that excessive “hand-holding” was not desirable1 and the head of the GTZ's programme in Mozambique felt that the length of training was not the major problem with the reintegration programme.2

1 Discussion with Sidney Bliss, US/AID, 5 Dec. 1996.

2 Discussion with Rudolf Mutschler, GTZ, 6 Dec. 1996.

Of possibly greater concern was the failure to link the training with jobs or to promote appropriate employment. As one expert pointed out, successful self-employment in Mozambique is very rare.3 A number of commentators regretted that little effort had been made to identify potential employers.4 At least one NGO even felt that the aim of the training packages was to “keep the demobilized quiet”; and therefore job creation was very much a secondary aim.5 Rudolf Mutschler thought that in the case of Mozambique formalized training had been more of a burden than a benefit to the society as thousands of the demobilized had been thrown into a labour market where there were no vacancies. As has been pointed out: “the demobilized are more likely to feel frustrated and even betrayed if their training does not lead to employment. The referral service should endeavour to find a placement before the trainee enters the course.”6

3 Discussion with Dr. JoPaolo Borges Coelho, Lecturer, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, 17 Dec. 1996.

4 JoPaolo Borges Coelho wondered, for instance, why road building companies such as in Zambezi province had not been approached, since construction projects were planned and the companies could have been encouraged to take on demobilized soldiers.

5 Discussion with ISCOS, 11 Dec. 1996.

6 Creative Associates International, Inc., The Information and Referral Service and Provincial Fund (IRS/PF) for the Reintegration of Demobilized Soldiers in Mozambique: Transition of the Reintegration Program, final report prepared for the International Organization for Migration, Washington, DC, June 1996, p. 26.

The primary focus on the reintegration of demobilized soldiers into agriculture was also not without its critics. JoPaolo Borges Coelho claimed that the assumption that agriculture would attract demobilized soldiers was a strategic mistake. He felt that Mozambique had little history of genuine family agriculture involving men because of the tradition of migrant labour.7 Furthermore, in rural areas no real commercial market operated since prices were too low, roads and transport were vastly inadequate, and the threat posed by land mines was serious in many places. Small-scale credit was not even available for agriculture. In his words: “Everything was against it.”8

7 Discussion with Dr. JoPaolo Borges Coelho, Lecturer, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, 17 Dec. 1996.

8 A similar view of the problems, albeit with a slightly less pessimistic outlook, was given by Professor SimSevene, President of the Associa dos Jovens Agricultores de Mobique (AJAM) in discussion with the author on 18 Dec. 1996.

A representative of US/AID, on the other hand, thought that the vast majority of demobilized soldiers felt themselves to be farmers whereas many were trained as carpenters. AMODEG agreed that there was good potential in the agricultural sector but stressed the need for a high level of technical expertise in order to succeed. They also felt that in general reintegration programmes focused too strongly on urban to the detriment of rural areas.

As far as the inclusion of specific “reintegration skills” in the vocational training courses for demobilized soldiers is concerned, a number of commentators referred to the lack of provision for identifying those with acute psychological problems as a result of their experiences. Teresinha da Silva, for example, complained that the demobilization programme covered only material and not psychological issues. No formal opportunities were provided for demobilized soldiers to discuss their experiences in the conflict and there was a corresponding lack of organized dialogue in the communities upon their return, especially in the case of those who had fought for RENAMO. Reconciliation either occurred spontaneously or, for example, with the support of the church.

One expatriate thought that trauma “wasn't an issue” and that it was best to try to convince people that the war had never taken place. This view is strongly rejected by researchers with experience in the field. Victor Igreja, researcher for the Refugee Studies Programme in Oxford, for instance, thought it was quite unrealistic to expect soldiers merely to forget the past. He pointed out that in a survey of 150 demobilized soldiers, many stated that they continued to suffer nightmares and became extremely aggressive if provoked.

Follow-up support for both trainees and micro-project beneficiaries was also perceived to have been inadequate. It was alleged, for instance, that very few of those trained had obtained jobs connected with their training. Trainees claimed that they could not start self-employment because they had no raw materials and no raw equipment. They complained in particular that banks required large deposits in order to secure loans, which effectively excluded the demobilized.1

1 Discussion with Julio Joaquim Nimuire, President, AMODEG, 4 Dec. 1996.

A final issue of importance when assessing the success of the reintegration of the demobilized soldiers relates to whether they can be linked to the rising crime wave that is sweeping through Mozambique, especially in the towns and cities. A Study of demobilized soldiers facing difficulties in the reintegration process prepared for the International Organization of Migration in September 1996 found that:

In no cases did [demobilized soldiers] show disposition towards violence or social disruption. The importance of military structures has clearly waned and community structures (family, traditional authority, community organizations) seem to have replaced military structures in assisting with conflict resolution, problem solving, and social support. Community leaders drew no links between [demobilized soldiers] and crime or conflict. In some cases, community leaders stated that they even depend on certain [demobilized soldiers] to assist them in resolving community problems to avoid conflict.2

2 Creative Associates International, Inc., Study of demobilized soldiers facing difficulties in the reintegration process, final report prepared for the International Organization for Migration, Maputo, Sep. 1996, p. ii. The report was based on interviews in four provincial capitals, ten district capitals and 19 villages with a total of 176 demobilized soldiers. The report further concludes that “while unrest and potential conflict may still result from non-payment of pensions, these isolated incidents could not be generalized to the overall [demobilized soldier] population. In addition, although some incidents of crime may involve [demobilized soldiers], it cannot be said that [they] are specifically disposed to crime any more than any other citizen facing social or economic difficulties.” (p. iii).

This conclusion is contested by many Mozambicans. Even if it is not necessarily demobilized soldiers pulling the trigger, they have skill in handling a gun (which can be passed on), access to or knowledge of the location of weapons, relatives to pull the trigger for them and, when together in groups, they have a propensity for violence.3 In addition, there were reports of riots by demobilized soldiers in Zambezia in the first half of 1996, mistakenly claiming that they were entitled to a lump-sum payment of 3 million meticals (about US$270). In one town, several hundred demobilized soldiers looted shops and houses and ransacked the house of the district administrator.1 Finally, ADEMIMO pointed out that during and in spite of the brutality of the war, there was no criminality in the city.

3 For instance, discussion with Dr. JoPaolo Borges Coelho, Lecturer, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, 17 Dec. 1996.

1 UNICEF, Mozambique situation update, February-April 1996, Maputo, undated.

3.2. The reintegration of child soldiers

Deliberately excluded from the demobilization process in Mozambique were an unknown number of “child soldiers” under the age of 15.2 According to recent research conducted for the United Nations, some 250,000 children under the age of 18 are currently serving in government armed forces or armed opposition groups around the world. In 1995-96, children took an active part in 33 armed conflicts.3

2 The current international minimum age for recruitment into the armed forces and participation in armed conflict is 15. A great many countries, however, including Mozambique have set 18 as the minimum legal age for recruitment and participation under national legislation, and negotiations continue under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to draft an Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which would potentially raise the international minimum to 18.

3 R. Brett and M. McCallin, Children: The invisible soldiers, Ra Barnen, Stockholm, 1996, p. 23.

No one knows precisely how many children under 18 served in the armed forces of FRELIMO or RENAMO during the 16-year civil war in Mozambique, but the number is widely believed to be in the thousands.4 Given that the longer a conflict goes on, the greater is the tendency to recruit ever younger children, it is likely that many of those Mozambican youth who were officially demobilized (i.e. those 15 or over), had originally been recruited as young children. At the end of the conflict, however, the demobilizing agency of the Mozambique Government, Accion Sociale, determined that there were only 850 children under 15 years old remaining in the RENAMO armed force, of whom 574 were identified and referred for rehabilitation.5

4 Guy Mullin, Coordinator of LINK, for instance, thought that 10,000 to 15,000 children had served in the RENAMO army alone. Discussion with the author, 12 Dec. 1996.

5 See International Labour Office, Reintegrating demobilized combatants: Experiences from four African countries, paper prepared for the Vocational Training Systems Management Branch, ILO, Geneva 1995, Country Summary Mozambique, p. 5.

According to Save the Children Federation (US), it worked with some 2,000 child soldiers before the 1992 peace agreement; 850 were found in RENAMO bases during the demobilization in 1994; and another 6,000 were reported by communities as having returned spontaneously when RENAMO let them go during the peace process. The group of 6,000 were mostly porters and domestic help, while the 850 kept in bases until the demobilization were likely to be soldiers.6

6 AIA/Sayagues, Traditional rituals heal child soldiers, press release, Maputo, 18 Nov. 1995. UNICEF, however, reported that although some had been involved in fighting and some had held military ranks, many had worked as servants for the soldiers, washing their clothes, cleaning the compound, cooking and carrying their weapons. (UNICEF, The expansion of CEDC Services/Peace Education Project, UNICEF report, Maputo, undated, p. 15.)

The 850 children who were kept in 19 RENAMO army bases were transferred to 12 transit centres (nine in RENAMO-controlled areas and three in government-controlled areas) in seven provinces in a joint SCF/UNICEF/Red Cross project prior to reunification with their families (where this was possible) and reintegration assistance. Most of the children had been kidnapped between 1988 and 1990 and had lived in the bases for several years; very few had been abducted after the peace negotiations had started.7

7 UNICEF, The expansion of CEDC Services/Peace Education Project, UNICEF report, Maputo, undated, p. 15.

The treatment of child recruits during their “service” in the army was reported to have been extremely brutal:

As soldiers in the [opposition] bases, the children were severely punished if they disobeyed the orders of their superiors. The punishments varied from simple corporal punishment, deprivation of food, amputation of fingers, nose, ears, and even execution carried out by one or the more “mature” children.1

1 Brett and McCallin, op. cit., p. 130.

In addition, the duties that children were required to perform during the conflict have had serious and long-lasting consequences for them:

The main injuries received by the children are deafness, blindness, bums, damaged limbs leading to amputation, given the frail nature of their bodies, and from the hazards of carrying heavy weights, inhaling toxic substances, land mines, and long marches, to name but a few.2

2 ibid., pp. 133-4.

As a consequence, many demobilized child soldiers complained that bullets or pieces of shrapnel had not been removed from their bodies. Their families rarely had the money to pay for the necessary operations.3

3 ibid., p. 133.

The research conducted for the United Nations Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children4 on child soldiers stressed that it was “only through an appreciation of the conditions of life which define the children's social and cultural environment upon demobilization that effective strategies can be implemented to address the consequences of their participation, and effect their social reintegration.” It was found that the linkage between education, employment opportunities, and the economic security of the children's families were factors that would not only determine successful social reintegration but also contribute to efforts to prevent further recruitment.5

4 UN doc. A/51/306 of 26 Aug. 1996.

5 Brett and McCallin, op. cit., pp. 141-2.

Vocational training is crucial to the successful reintegration of former child/young soldiers.6 Research conducted for the ILO in Liberia, Mozambique and Sierra Leone has emphasized the need not only for vocational training per se, but also the children's need for basic education and training in life skills to assist their reintegration.7 As has been the case in the UNICEF-sponsored programme, however, former child soldiers should not be treated as a distinct or separate group but should “be integrated into skills courses with other trainees. It is considered that this will ensure their assimilation and acceptance and work towards conflict resolution. As vocational training is seen as an integral component of reintegration, efforts should be made not to further marginalize the children, but rather to raise awareness that 'their needs may be different, more complex, or more acute than other children in difficult circumstances'.”8

6 M. McCallin, The reintegration of young ex-combatants into civilian life, paper prepared for the Vocational Training Systems Management Branch, ILO, Geneva, 1995, p. 22.

7 ibid., p. 23.

8 ibid.

UNICEF found it very difficult to determine accurately the age of the children although they believed that most had been kidnapped at between 8 and 12 years of age. According to UNICEF, the children were not generally showing signs of trauma.9 A pilot project of trauma counselling was nevertheless established in Maputo and Gaza provinces by AMOSAPU (Associa Mobicana de Saa), an NGO grouping several practitioners of mental health. The project employed qualified Mozambicans to provide psychological support and counselling to 75 youths, some of them previous child soldiers. UNICEF felt that the limited number of children assisted and the use of highly educated staff made the project unsustainable over the long term and incapable of replication around the country.1

9 UNICEF, The expansion of CEDC Services/Peace Education Project, UNICEF report, Maputo, undated, p. 15.

1 Discussion with Jean-Claude Legrand, Chief of CEDC and Emergency Sections, UNICEF Maputo, 13 Dec. 1996. Nevertheless, the experience gained during the project will be summarized in the form of a manual on trauma counselling for social workers and health workers.

Indeed, approaches to the psychosocial care of former child soldiers and other war-affected children vary widely. Some favour a more clinical approach, which seeks to adapt Western expertise in child psychology and psychiatry to the local context, seeking to encourage children diagnosed as “traumatized” to talk about their experiences. Others reject this as fundamentally inappropriate to the situation in Mozambique, since in the local culture silence does not necessarily mean repression.2 Mozambican communities have their own healing mechanisms: religious rites and traditional cleansing rituals. Communities believe that evil is put into the body of a child soldier which must be cleansed.3 As many of the rites include a component of rejection of so-called “modern” or Western values, which are perceived as alien and an enemy of traditional culture, local people are generally unwilling to talk about the past with foreigners.

2 For a detailed discussion of the different conceptions of “trauma” in Mozambique and the West, see S. Gibbs, “Post-war social reconstruction in Mozambique: Re-framing children's experience of trauma and healing”, in Disasters, Vol. 18, No. 3 (1994), pp. 268-276.

3 Discussion with Eunice Sarita Mucache, Director of Programmes, Mozambican Red Cross, 12 Dec. 1996.

In addition, the Western emphasis on healing through play is criticized by some. Enrique Querol, for example, an Argentine psychologist and director of the Red Cross training centre in Chimoio (Manica), states:

It's one thing to take your child twice a week to a psychologist and have the child play in a room full of toys, then to go to a one-room hut where the whole family lives, children have no toys except those they make themselves, and they are expected to work.4

4 AIA/Sayagues, Traditional rituals heal child solders, press release, Maputo, 18 Nov. 1995.

Querol favours an approach where the community activist gains access to the family through other means, and only gradually introduces play as therapy, using the toys made out of bamboo, wood and scrap metal by children. The use of social workers for this role, however, has not been without its problems. Social workers have not traditionally been perceived either by the community or indeed by themselves as interlocutors but as providers. Both parties found the new role a difficult concept to accept.5

5 Discussion with Jean-Claude Legrand, Chief of CEDC and Emergency Sections, UNICEF Maputo, 13 Dec. 1996.

Based on its own experiences, UNICEF felt that it was no longer right to target specific programmes at child soldiers. They also stressed that individual therapy was generally inappropriate. Effort and resources should be put into vocational training with psychological support, including group consultations. Individual counselling should only be used in extreme cases. UNICEF plans to hire a consultant in 1997 to evaluate the success of its vocational training projects.

3.3. The reintegration of youth civilians

The armed conflict in Mozambique dislocated and displaced an estimated 6 million Mozambicans, 4.3 million internally and 1.7 million as refugees across into neighbouring Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. UNHCR facilitated the repatriation of some 375,000 refugees, providing them with transport and reception facilities. In UNHCR's largest ever post-repatriation assistance programme (costing $100 million to implement), reintegration and rehabilitation activities were undertaken throughout almost the entire country.1

1 UNHCR, Rebuilding a war-torn society: A review of the UNHCR Reintegration Programme for Mozambican Returnees, July 1996, p. 1.

Referring to the situation of the returning refugees, UNHCR reported that:

While there is a lack of empirical data on the subject, returnees seem to have a standard of living and health status which is comparable with - and in some instances perhaps better than - that of other members of the population.2

2 ibid., p. 3.

They reported that although some of the younger returnees, often prompted by their parents, returned to their former countries of asylum in order to look for work, there were no large-scale refugee backflows.3

The vast majority of returnees ... are peasant farmers. The key to successful reintegration is their ability to grow enough food. While returnees (like others in Mozambique) have a wide variety of survival strategies and coping mechanisms, they all start with having a successful small farm. If returnees can, within one or two seasons, be growing “enough” food, their reintegration will be successful. If they don't, no number of schools, health posts or water points will make much difference.4

3 ibid.

4 ibid., p. 8.

UNHCR's assessment of its Mozambique programme, as laudable for the transparency of its unrestricted distribution as for the quality of the analysis, found that:

With its logistical system, field presence and implementing partners in place, the organization evidently had the potential to extend its activities beyond the mid-1996 phase-out date designated in the reintegration strategy. To have done so, however, would have taken UNHCR beyond the immediate task of reintegrating and stabilizing displaced populations and into a semi-developmental realm which many donors consider to lie outside of the organization's mandate ... [Yet] while UNHCR was wise to retain its original phase-out date, it is evident that the reintegration strategy should have been formulated at a much earlier stage of the peace process and integrated with the planning of the repatriation movement. In fact, the organization had a tendency to treat repatriation and reintegration as two distinct and consecutive tasks, with the latter being considered in a systematic manner only when the former was well on the way to completion.5

5 ibid., p. 18.

The failure to plan adequately is strikingly resonant of some of the concerns about the reintegration programmes for the demobilized soldiers. Of course, as one UNHCR staff member commented: “It is only human to become totally immersed in the hectic repatriation and food distribution routine, and only marginally attend to the reintegration work.”

The report recommends inter alia that a follow-up evaluation be undertaken for mid- to late 1997, in order to assess the effectiveness of the UNHCR reintegration programme in a longer-term perspective. Discussion of UNHCR's future role in reintegration continues with some arguing the need for longer term-commitments, in part as a result of the experience in Mozambique.

The situation of returnees internally displaced is less well known and less well documented. Hundreds of thousands of families were displaced or drawn into the cities by the long years of war, and in particular as a result of the destruction of food stocks and crops. A research team of the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) found in 1995 that internally displaced children were disadvantaged when compared with refugee children, either because resources had not been made available to the internally displaced or because the ongoing conflict had prevented resources reaching the displaced.1

1 W. Njuguna et al., Children and armed conflicts in Africa: An assessment of the state of women and children who have been displaced by war in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia, ANPPCAN Regional Office, May 1995, p. 5.

Internal displacement continues to be an issue in post-conflict Mozambique. Displaced families remain in, especially, peri-urban areas unwilling to return home to the countryside as they fear that little or no infrastructure awaits them. An indirect consequence is the thousands of children and youngsters who drift along or into the streets of Maputo, Beira, Chimoio and Quelimane. As stated by Ana Marai Loforte, “the phenomenon of street children is common in many cities around the world and is frequently related to rapid urbanization and industrialization or profound socio-economic crises.”2 In the case of Mozambique, however, she believes that the majority of children found in the street are the consequence of war and the accompanying political, military, economic and social destabilization.

2 A.M. Loforte, “Street children in Mozambique”, in International Journal of Children's Rights, Vol. 2 (1994), p. 149.

The war, which destroyed the vast majority of Mozambique's economic and social infrastructure, has forced numerous families (some of which are already separated or fragmented) to abandon their villages and seek refuge in the cities in search of safety and better living conditions. They leave their areas of cultivation which, under normal circumstances, guarantee a degree of nutritional security, and travel to urban centers where the socio-economic situation is constantly changing and where the network of services (health, education, and food supply) is long since saturated and cannot support any more users. One consequence is numerous children in the streets, some of whom are sent out by their parents looking for means to sustain themselves or means to make money to contribute to the meagre family budget.3

3 ibid.

The study conducted by Ms. Loforte distinguished two types of street children: children of the street (i.e. those who are orphaned or abandoned and actually living in the streets); and children on the streets (those who live with their families by night, but who work during the day to help support their families). The most common work activities include: transporting bundles of fish, boxes of fruit, vegetables and crates of beer; washing or guarding cars; begging; transporting fishing nets, or fishing; carrying out tasks such as delivering messages, shopping and looking after the children of certain families.4 No one knows how many children there are in each category although the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport estimates that there are 11,000 to 12,000 children in the streets of Maputo and some 30,000 in all the cities of Mozambique.5

4 ibid, p. 157.

5 Joseves Maluleca, National Director for Youth Associations, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, discussion with the author, 11 Dec. 1996.

The vast majority of the street children are boys. One expert ascribed this to African culture which determined that boys could take care of themselves and could earn money whereas girls should be at home.6 It is believed, however, that the number of girl prostitutes, many as young as 12 or 13, continues to increase. According to UNICEF, for example:

... there has been a dramatic upsurge in the number of street children in recent years and the phenomenon is becoming a major social problem. In the past, street children were often those whose families had been split up by war. Bereft of support they were driven to life on the street in order to survive. Times, however, have changed and now the majority of children on the streets have families.7

6 ibid.

7 UNICEF, The situation of women and children in Mozambique, Maputo, 1996, p. 7.

Nor is the problem confined to Mozambique. According to a report in the Mozambican newspaper Notas, hundreds of Mozambican children of both sexes continue to wander through the streets of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare.1 During the day the children, most between 12 and 17 from the nearby provinces of Manica, Sofala and Tete, do light work, and then at night become prostitutes or rent boys or use drugs. When questioned, most of the children claim that they were among the 240,000 refugees in Mozambique, but that after returning there was “nothing to do in Mozambique” - no money for studies and no chance of work. They could make 100,000 meticals (approximately US$8) a day in Harare.2

1 JordMuvale (AIM), “Crian mobicanas vagueiam nas ruas de Harare”, in Notas, 16 Dec. 1996, p. 7.

2 ibid.

The problems faced by street children include unemployment, lack of access to education and health care, and a shortage of food and clothing. They are at obvious and substantial risk of physical and sexual abuse, and are likely to engage in petty theft in order to survive. The children are also an extremely vulnerable workforce. As they are working illegally, they have no legal recourse and are easy to exploit. Street children are frequently arrested by police in “cleaning” operations.3 The children themselves, while realizing that some activities are not appropriate for their age, prefer to work than to wander through the streets doing nothing.4

3 Discussion with Jean-Claude Legrand, Chief CEDC and Emergency Sections, UNICEF Maputo, 13 Dec. 1996.

4 Laforte, op. cit., p. 158.

A number of programmes, governmental and non-governmental, exist to assist street children and youth. UNICEF, for example, working through a network of NGOs, aims to provide shelter, health care, basic education and skills training to 1,100 children, mainly in Maputo, Beira and Quelimane. The programme promotes family and community reunification, the provision of vocational training and open services in order to reintegrate and maintain as many children as possible in their original social environment. Thus, in 1996, UNICEF decided to cancel an agreement with one NGO that was not willing to follow established government policy to promote contacts between the children and their community of origin.5

5 UNICEF, The expansion of CEDC Services/Peace Education Project, UNICEF report, Maputo, undated, p. 14.

Although most of the street children are boys, girls too continue to face a number of real and substantial threats to their survival and development, largely as a result of the war. For example, a World Vision International report on the effects of armed conflict on girls conducted for the United Nations Study on the impact of armed conflict on children found that the experience in Mozambique suggested that the disintegration or disruption of community life caused by the war posed a threat even to the “informal” education received by girls, since they were often denied the skills traditionally taught to them as a consequence of the entire community having to concentrate on mere survival.6

6 World Vision International, The effects of armed conflict on girls, a discussion paper prepared by World Vision for the UN Study on the impact of armed conflict on children, Monrovia and Geneva, May 1996, p. 17.

Culture also plays a significant role. As a report by ANPPCAN on Mozambican refugees has pointed out, gender equity is scarcely ingrained in the cultural psyche of Mozambican men. Women in general and girls in particular were to be “seen and not heard.”7 Despite the cultural obstacles to equality, as Teresinha da Silva pointed out, “culture is not static, it can change.” She felt that parents did want their children to go to school, to learn and claimed that the numbers of male and female school enrolments were similar, but the number of girls dropping out was much higher than the number of boys. She ascribed this to the fact that there were few women teachers, and therefore no models for the girls and their parents, especially in rural villages and communities. In addition, male teachers frequently made the girl pupils pregnant - scarcely an incentive to ensure better attendance. She also felt that the curriculum was inappropriate, not giving girls the practical skills they needed. It was therefore necessary to revise the training of teachers and the school curriculum.

7 W. Njuguna et al., op. cit., p. vi.

Box 2

Santa Maria College of Sisters, Macheva (Maputo province)

In 1991, the Santa Maria College of Sisters began receiving children affected by the war. The Government was bringing in children from the countryside, many of whom became street children. The numbers of children grew so rapidly that the Sisters decided to build a centre to help them. The College now has between 180 and 200 children and youth aged between 7 and 22. Its work is supported by a Spanish NGO, the European Union, NORAD, Terre des Hommes Lausanne, and the Government of France.

Although many children come to the centre for food, the sisters believe that it is important to provide education to the children and not just food. The curriculum follows that of the Ministry of Education, but with the addition of moral and civic education to teach the children “respect for other people and nature”. General studies are taught so as to make the children aware of national and international events. The children are also provided with psychological and medical assistance when it is needed. The Sisters have been specially trained for this.

The Sisters believe it important to keep the children busy with activities, so opportunities are provided for dance, music, physical education, manual work, basket making, shoemaking, sewing and bookbinding. There are five Mozambican teachers at the school and five “masters” for vocational training. An agricultural project has begun, involving also the raising of chickens. The College is attempting to become self-sufficient in food.

In 1995, 17 children were reunited with their families. Most come from extremely poor backgrounds. Now the oldest of the children still at the college are 22 and government permission has been granted for houses to be built for them. The children themselves will participate in the construction work, which is being supported by an NGO.

A number of experts have stressed the need to strengthen vocational training programmes for girls.1 To support girl's education, UNICEF has persuaded the Government to agree to a project specifically for girls. In addition, UNICEF has supported a project to train trainers (primary-school teachers) and to produce a basic training manual on gender issues.2 Ms. da Silva, however, thought it preferable to support the entire family and not to create special programmes for girls.

1 The Head of the Women's Department of the RENAMO Party, for instance, emphasized the importance of more training - and not just in sewing - but pointed out that the training should be directly linked to employment or income-generating activities. Discussion with Domencos Mengina Assuza, Head of the Department of Youth, Culture and Sport, RENAMO Party, 13 Dec. 1996.

2 UNICEF, Mozambique situation update: November 1995-January 1996, p. 11.

As a direct and indirect result of the conflict in Mozambique, many youths have been physically or mentally disabled. According to one research team, for example:

War, combined with poverty and recurrent drought, has increased the incidence of impairment, leading to disability in children in Mozambique. Prevalence, however, is unlikely to have increased, because disabled children, as one of society's most vulnerable groups, have had little chance of survival in the harsh conditions arising from the war. Lack of treatment, starvation and simply not being able to flee in the face of an attack are some of the reasons for disabled children not surviving. Scarce resources and negligible specialist facilities mean that the majority of disabled children have no access to adequate health care or educational facilities.3

3 S. Miles and E. Medi, “Disabled children in post-war Mozambique: Developing community-based support”, in Disasters, Vol. 18, No. 3 (1994), p. 284.

Children and youth may be physically and mentally disabled as a direct result of the fighting (e.g. bullet wounds, shrapnel from bombs or artillery shells, or injuries from land mines or unexploded ordnance, leading to temporary or permanent disability) or torture and abuse committed by warring parties, or as an indirect result of the lack of available health care caused by the destruction or theft of medical facilities and supplies, or they may be born with physical or mental disabilities, perhaps exacerbated by the social dislocation engendered by armed conflict.

Miles and Medi challenge the oft-held assumption that children with disabilities are often neglected or not fed, especially in conflict situations or with parents with no access to appropriate advice about how to care for children with severe disabilities. Although such abandonment or neglect may occur, oral testimony collected from disabled Mozambican refugees while in refugee camps in Swaziland revealed that they had been carried to safety over extremely long distances by relatives.1

1 ibid., pp. 285-6.

UNICEF is working with ADEMO (Associa des Deficientes Mobicanos), Handicap International, the Ministry of Social Welfare (Accion Sociale), the Provincial Department of Social Welfare in Zambezia and Sofala provinces and, more recently, the international NGO, POWER (Prosthetic & Orthotic Worldwide Education and Relief). ADEMO, for instance, has organized country-wide sports activities for children with disabilities as a means of integrating these children into the regular school system. This activity culminated in provincial sports festivals where children with disabilities demonstrated their capacity to challenge these handicaps.2

2 UNICEF, The expansion of CEDC Services/Peace Education Project, UNICEF report, Maputo, undated, p. 14.

In Quelimane (Zambezia), the Sangariveira Social Centre was rehabilitated in 1993 and 1994 and vocational training began in 1995. Activities included skills training courses in tailoring, carpentry and bakery for 60 street children and children with disabilities. Twenty-five of the children are deaf and the staff of the centre are being gradually trained in sign language. In 1996, the curriculum was strengthened, with the addition of literacy courses.3 Physical rehabilitation of land-mine victims is provided through POWER, which has taken over the management of the limb-fitting centres in Maputo and Beira and the provincial hospitals in Quelimane and Nampula formerly run by the International Committee of the Red Cross. ADEMO is helping to identify those in need of rehabilitation, and UNICEF is funding the cost of providing artificial limbs to 450 children and women.

3 ibid.

In addition to specific categories of war-affected youth, there are inevitably a great many children and young persons who have been deprived of basic education for many years as an indirect consequence of the conflict. There remains an acute shortage of schools and trained teachers in Mozambique. For most children, school ends at the fifth grade. Thousands of youth are now too old to integrate into primary education and thus remain marginalized and unemployed.4 Children who have not started education by the age of 11 are too old to do so, according to rules laid down by the Ministry of Education.5 This increases the need for vocational training with a strong educational component.

4 ibid., p. 17.

5 Discussion with Jean-Claude Legrand, Chief of CEDC and Emergency Sections, UNICEF Maputo, 13 Dec. 1996.

In line with a recommendation that more emphasis be put on vocational training after primary education, UNICEF is currently supporting training and literacy courses for 3,100 youths, including 1,800 girls.6 Despite the relatively high cost of good vocational training, Jean-Claude Legrand, the head of UNICEF's CEDC section did not see any contradiction between quality and quantity. He felt that orphanages should not develop their own weak projects but should combine with specialists and he commended the Salesian boarding school at San Jose as one providing excellent vocational training.

6 ibid.

Box 3

Salesian boarding school at San Jose (Maputo province)

The Salesian school at San Jose is a boarding school for 80 boys aged 11-14 offering high-quality education and professional training in electrical engineering, carpentry and metalworking and including an excellent theatre for child and youth productions. The courses are running for three years and include also civic education. In 1996, the school selected the 50 poorest of 150 applicants. The children are not street children but are victims of the war. They are “orphans” living with other relatives or those who their parents cannot look after. The boys visit their families every two weeks. The Brothers believe that they are helping to solve future problems rather than present ones. They are already making contacts with companies in Maputo City in order to place the children when they have completed their training.


In addition to the many programmes specifically in favour of war-affected populations, there are a number of development projects in Mozambique which, amongst others, cater for youth in general without consideration to whether or not the intended beneficiaries are war-affected. Three examples of such projects follow.

3.4.1. GPE/GTZ Micro-Enterprise Promotion Project in Mozambique

The GPE/GTZ Micro-enterprise Promotion Project in Mozambique started with an experimental phase in January 1992, which was transformed into a long-term phase in July 1993. It is contained within the Gabinete de Promo de Emprego (GPE), the Employment Promotion Office of the Mozambican Ministry of Labour. The project aims to create jobs and generate income through the promotion of micro-enterprises by awarding micro-credits (volume between US$200 and US$800) and conducting training courses on basic management issues. It operates primarily in the three major cities in Mozambique: Maputo, Beira and Nampula.1

1 GTZ, The “Micro-enterprise Promotion Project in Mozambique GPE/GTZ” presented in a few words, July 1993-July 1996, information note, Maputo, undated.

Since the beginning of credit operations in January 1994, more than 2,200 credits to the value of US$1 million have been disbursed (in Maputo and Beira only) and a reimbursement rate of more than 90 per cent has been achieved.2 In so far as training is concerned, a methodology known as Competency-based Economies through Formation of Enterprise (CEFE) has been used. It is a participatory and action-oriented training programme using games and simulations consisting of a set of different training modules. The course takes 22 hours half-time study over one week and includes instruction on business behaviour, basic book-keeping, price and cost control3 and sales promotion.

2 ibid.

3 The Project Coordinator felt that more time might usefully be devoted to this issue. Discussion with Rolf Speit, 5 Dec. 1996.

A number of important lessons have been learnt during the four years the project has been running. For instance, the success of the project has been increased by opting for low-value individual credits and by concentrating on people with existing business experience. Eighty-five per cent of the course attendees1 are from commercial enterprises, and thus only a few are involved in production or service activities. Production companies could be developed but production is inherently risky and needs a much higher input of capital and technical expertise. Current profit margins in the commercial sector are a reasonable 20 per cent, but are likely to fall within the next 3-4 years.

1 Half are women and half are men, though not apparently by design.

The project coordinator pointed out that there were potential risks in promoting self-employment for youths without family responsibilities. Unless there was sufficient monitoring, credits might be more prone to abuse.

3.4.2. Agricultural Training Centre (Centro da Formação Agrario)

The Centro da Forma Agrario falls under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and provides high-quality training courses linked to rural agricultural development. The Maputo centre (there is a centre in every province) has had no programmes of self-employment, save for a trial project in 1995 for the demobilized soldiers. Separate training courses are offered on project development, monitoring and evaluation, leadership, gender, extension farming systems and community participation. A standard training course is for three weeks. Ninety-two per cent of the participants in the special gender courses are women; women make up an average 20 per cent of the participants of all the courses. The issue of gender is included in all the training courses provided.

The training courses are held in a participatory style and the content is relevant to daily life. Most of the participants are working for NGOs. The average age of the participants is 35 and the youngest 18. The head of the training section stressed the need for rural development to win back youth but pointed out that the young tended to be attracted by the prospect of earning large sums of money not available in the agricultural sector. In addition, agriculture was hardly a career with high social status.

The difficulty of finding, and securing, good land was also felt to be a substantial obstacle. Attempts were being made to resolve the long-standing land law problems with new legislation, but it was not clear whether the draft law proposed would be acceptable to all parties concerned.

3.4.3. Ntwanano project (Polana Caniço)

The Ntwanano project is a small community-based initiative established by the national NGO KULIMA. The word Ntwanano means “mutual support” in Shangana, the local language. In the centre of a small village on the outskirts of Maputo a few dozen children are learning carpentry, sewing and English, practising their theatrical skills, and playing football. The objective of the project is to offer kids an alternative to the street by providing not only education but also health care, sports facilities and support to the orphans in the project to integrate into parts of their extended or foster family. A total of 50 children of various ages are involved in the project. KULIMA had selected three priority groups: children who had lost one or both parents; children from poor families; and those children who demonstrated particular dedication to the project. The project is also working with the parents of the children, teaching them civic education and helping them to organize meetings to mobilize the community. A shop run by the community has opened recently to sell small household items to passers-by. The project, which is clearly replicable elsewhere, is sponsored by a small number of Italian families.

Ultimately, of course, the responsibility for ensuring the development of the nation's youth will rest with the Mozambican Government. Thus, in October 1994, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Mateus Katupha, stated that the future government of FRELIMO would seek to improve development programmes for youth, creating the conditions for genuine progress.1 However:

There is an awareness that the Government itself will not be able to meet the many needs of the population. Thus there is a need to encourage community initiatives which are usually low cost and of greater impact, as well as to build up local capacity to resolve their own problems through programmes based on the communities themselves, managed by them and that are self-sufficient and sustainable.2

1 Quoted by Alice Mabote in Aro, fortnightly newspaper, 28 Nov. 1996, p. 20 (author's translation from Portuguese).

2 Brett and McCallin, op. cit., p. 160.