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close this bookTraining Human Settlement Workers in Eastern & Southern Africa (AFSC - Mazingira Institute, 1981)
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View the documentMobilization for self-help in Mozambique
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Mobilization for self-help in Mozambique

Maxaquene is a poor neighbourhood in Maputo where most buildings are made of reeds or corrugated metal; in 1977, like most similar areas of the city, it had almost no services. The newly-formed National Housing Directorate worked with the Dynamizing Groups established in the neighbourhood to mobilize the residents. Through public meetings and working sessions, priorities for the settlement were established and the physical plan for roads and water pipes was agreed upon. Although people's rights to occupy the land were assured, there was still potential for conflict in the need to move some houses. It was because people eventually realized that they actually controlled the development process (for example, through knowing that some of the leaders would themselves have to move their houses) that the plan was quickly implemented. This achievement made possible the installation of water pipes, the building of roads for emergency vehicle access, plot numbering and refuse collection, all with very small financial resources. The key element in training was mobilization of everyone's skills in problem-solving, leadership, collaboration and collective labour. Other training tools used were scale models for planning, direct demonstrations on site, and practice in simplified survey techniques.

Mozambique is just beginning to implement its long-term plans for training sufficient workers to assist self-help throughout the country. Trainees with 6 to 9 years of schooling take courses which alternate between classroom work in Maputo and field work in communal villages and provincial towns. They learn to carry out social and physical surveys, propose plans, demonstrate projects, identify needs for community buildings and services, improve traditional technologies, initiate cooperative production of building materials, assess natural and human resources at regional level, use and implement plans, monitor progress and train local staff. Many people in the National Housing Directorate are involved in training on an almost continuous basis because of the demand for skilled people, but this creates pressures on people's time. Another problem has been that the training material is not always fully absorbed, and in future, more emphasis will therefore be placed on teaching methods. The present program aims at specific performance targets for trainees after two months, eight months, and eighteen months. After further field work, it is planned that some trainees will do more advanced training, taking advantage of courses such as geography and engineering at the University. By 1990 it is hoped to have 40 to 50 fully qualified staff to supervise national and provincial planning.