Millennium Village Project empowered people to improve their lives

Lumbo MV
Children in Lumbo village are among the main beneficiaries of the Millennium Village project (Photo: UNDP Moz.)

Amina Raimundo shows a group of women new recipes using typical products found in a coastal area of Lundo, in the northern Nampula province. Some of the foods they are preparing include maize flour, cassava flour, sesame oil, eggs, roasted peanuts and fish.

But these are not just normal cooking lessons. Her aim is to assist fellow women in using the foods correctly to have a balanced diet and also help to curb malnutrition, a prevailing problem in Mozambique.

Highlights

  • This resulted in a significant reduction (3.1 %) of malnutrition cases among children up to five years
  • The overall objective of the project was to plan and implement an integrated community development project, to transform subsistence livelihood into small-scale commercial entrepreneurship
  • The villages have allowed communities to be organised in community development associations or committees that facilitate the appropriation of scientific knowledge in order to mobilise citizens to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
  • The Millennium Villages seek to end extreme poverty by working with the poorest of the poor, village by village throughout Africa, in partnership with governments and other committed stakeholders, providing affordable and science-based solutions to help people lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

“Our effort is for awareness raising of women and girls, especially pregnant women, so that they use better food products with vitamins and in this way benefit also the children”.

Amina is a former Chief Extension Worker of Lumbo Millennium Village Team. At the time she was leading a women’s group working for the improvement and diversification of the food diet of mothers and two to five year-old children. Together with two dozens of volunteers, they teach the local communities on how to better use typical products of their area for dietary balance and maximum nutrition.

The trainees have also carried out campaigns in rural communities where they have made demonstrations of good practices and health habits. The target group for these campaigns are women, as in this region they are responsible for the decisions concerning the use and preparation of food.

By the second quarter of this year Lumbo Millennium Village had trained about 60 women representing 25% of the target group, mainly young girls, in food processing techniques. This resulted in a significant reduction (3.1 %) of malnutrition cases among children up to five years, according to the health sector in the district of Ilha de Moçambique where the Lumbo Village is located,

Lumbo was part of the Millennium Village pilot project aiming at providing effective means of poverty alleviation in five Mozambican communities through specific, science-based interventions, relatively small and concrete investments, and with local ownership. The overall objective of the project was to plan and implement an integrated community development project, to transform subsistence livelihood into small-scale commercial entrepreneurships. The idea was also to provide robust guidelines for how local communities can achieve the MDGs within the timeframe.

Speaking about the project, Mozambique’s Minister of Science and Technology Louis Pelembe, said in Maputo that scientific knowledge, combined with local knowledge, is generating new wisdom in the country’s Millennium Villages, which is contributing to sustainable social and economic development.

Pelembe, whose Ministry implemented the project with support from UNDP, was speaking  at a meeting drawing up a balance sheet of the achievements of the Millennium Villages,  in  late October 2013.  Pelembe said that these community organisations have proved to be spaces where scientists, national and foreign students and members of the public undertake experiments which, if successful, can be reproduced to the benefit  of other  local communities.

Mozambique has been implementing the Millennium Villages programme since 2006. There are now six such villages – at Lionde and Chibuto, in Gaza province, Lumbo and Itoculo, in Nampula, Malua in Zambezia, and Chitima in Tete.

The villages have allowed communities to be organised in community development associations or committees that facilitate the appropriation of scientific knowledge in order to mobilise citizens to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Henrique Cau, director of the Research and Technology Transfer Centre (CITT), presenting a report on the first cycle (2009-2012) of the three most recent villages (Malua, Itoculo and Lionde), said that, based on this programme, 8,800 peasant farmers are receiving direct assistance.

These beneficiaries have increased the area under cultivation and have introduced new crops. Household barns and community warehouses have been built, and a chain of agricultural production has been established.

Cau said that the new warehouses allow the community committees to preserve crops so that they can be sold at times of shortage, which should provide income and ensure the sustainability of the villages.

He said this was how the villages are managing to build or rehabilitate irrigation schemes or schools, and to purchase school materials.

In the area of health, he added, 3,487 mosquito nets have been distributed in the three villages, 17 community midwives have been trained, and meetings have been organized on HIV and AIDS, attended by about 8,000 people.

In Chitima, for example, an irrigation system has been installed, and pavilions have been built to train poultry farmers. A Rural Development Centre, covering four hectares, has been set up, and 100 farmers have been trained in various agricultural techniques.

The Millennium Villages seek to end extreme poverty by working with the poorest of the poor, village by village throughout Africa, in partnership with governments and other committed stakeholders, providing affordable and science-based solutions to help people lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

 

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