Cyclone Idai SurvivorsCyclone Idai has wreaked havoc upon Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, leaving destruction in its wake. Survivors suffer from disease, hunger and mental health problems. Humanitarian organizations and governments are joining together to try and help people affected by the disaster.


Cyclone Idai and the resulting floodwaters destroyed infrastructure, homes and crops. As the crisis comes into focus, it is clear that it could take some time for the region to recover.

The death toll between the three countries is over 750 people and rising as government and aid workers assess the damage. An estimated 1.85 million people have been affected and 36,000 homes destroyed in Mozambique alone. Rescue workers have been scrambling to save people stranded by floodwater.

Cyclone Idai is one of the top three deadliest tropical cyclones ever to affect the Southern Hemisphere. Many climbed trees to escape the rising floodwater, with rescue workers lifting 634 survivors out of trees. Others fell into the crocodile-infested waters as they became too exhausted to hold on.

Displaced people are migrating toward the port city of Beira, Mozambique and to makeshift camps to escape areas engulfed by water. The close grouping of people in the camps has created new concerns for aid workers. Disease, hunger and mental health problems threaten these survivors.

Disease Among Survivors

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has reported cases of malaria infections and cholera among Cyclone Idai survivors. Jana Sweeny, a spokesperson for the IFRC, told Earther: “In disasters like this one–one where there is a lack of clean water and sanitation, and potential overcrowding–outbreaks of waterborne diseases are common.”

The standing floodwater is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may carry malaria. Cholera, a waterborne bacteria, could also infect the floodwaters.

Humanitarian Efforts

At least 16 different humanitarian organizations, several governments and the United Nations are contributing to help Cyclone Idai survivors. The United States government pledged the assistance of its military. IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy said at press conference in Geneva: “We are seeing tremendous collaboration and partnership from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from all over the world, and from our international and United Nations partners.”

The United Nations has unloaded 22 metric tons of food supplies, and 40 more are on the way. U.N. organizations have been active in the region, initially in rescue operations, then as aid distributors. The U.N. Central Emergency Fund has allocated $20 million to provide aid to more than 400,000 people.

The IFRC is appealing for over $30 million for disaster relief. They have been delivering Emergency Response Units, which include equipment and teams that can provide sanitation and water purification for 20,000 people per unit. The IFRC is also deploying a field hospital that will be able to administer medical care for at least 150,000 people.

The IFRC has set up an online portal for connecting displaced children with their distraught parents. Cyclone Idai has left many children unaccompanied as they were either separated from their parents or orphaned.  Save the Children is also working to help these child Cyclone Idai survivors.

There is difficulty distributing aid as some of the affected areas are remote. Helicopters are the only safe mode of distribution since the cyclone destroyed roads and communications infrastructure.

The damage done by Cyclone Idai on Southeastern Africa will not be fully realized until some time has passed. But for now, the global humanitarian community is helping the region recover from this disaster.

– Peter S. Mayer
Photo: Flickr

App to Treat MalariaFor the people of Mozambique, malaria is a familiar and deadly part of life. As one of the world’s leading victims of the disease, Mozambique sees thousands of its citizens die as a result every year. Global initiatives have fought hard to treat and prevent malaria, including awareness campaigns and insecticide-treated nets. Since 2015, though, Mozambique has used an innovative resource: a smartphone app to treat malaria.

Mozambicans in rural areas often receive their health care from government-funded community health workers. These community health workers (agentes polivalente elementare, or APEs) are trained to diagnose and treat Mozambique’s most ubiquitous diseases, including malaria. Seeing a need to improve treatment, APEs in Mozambique have been provided with the CommCare app, created by the Malaria Consortium’s inSCALE research project and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The CommCare app allows APEs to better treat their patients through a number of means. It teaches better consultation methods through images and audio. It also creates better communication between APEs and their supervisors and functions, so medical records can be uploaded anywhere. App users in Mozambique have reported that it provides for clearer and more accurate treatment. New methods for recognizing and treating malaria are more easily transmitted to remote areas. The app to treat malaria has given community health workers better tools, communication and resources to assist in their vital work.

The entire population of Mozambique is at risk for malaria infection, typically spread by insects. The disease presents itself through flu-like symptoms and can be fatal if left untreated. Prior to 2010, there are no official figures for the number of deaths due to malaria. Since 2010, deaths to malaria have decreased and, in 2015, dipped to an all-time low.

On a morose but encouraging note, malarial confirmations have risen concurrently with the decreasing deaths. This suggests that malaria is being recognized, diagnosed and treated in Mozambique.  

Malaria is a relatively easy disease to treat. With early diagnosis, antimalarial medications can clear out the parasite and cure the patient. African countries are prone to malaria because of several factors: mosquitoes are rampant, medical clinics are scarce and preventative measures are often difficult to come by.

Because early diagnosis is so vital to a malaria victim’s odds of survival, Mozambique has taken steps to bridge the gap between rural areas and medical treatment. Aside from preventative measures, Mozambicans in remote areas rely on APEs to treat the country’s deadliest afflictions. The CommCare app gives APEs the resources to more accurately diagnose malaria and treat it appropriately.

Mozambique is seeing a positive trend in recent years. There are more diagnoses and fewer deaths. Eradication of the disease is still far off; however, using technology such as the CommCare app to treat malaria is guiding Mozambique in a positive direction. Countries around the world would be served well by adopting the same approach to the fight against malaria.

– Eric Paulsen

Photo: Flickr

Education in Mozambique

Mozambique has a population of about 30 million people. Statistics from various organizations, such as USAID, have shown that the adult literacy rate in the country is approximately 47 percent. In the surrounding countries of Zimbabwe and Malawi, the rate is much higher, at 87 percent and 66 percent, respectively. There are many contributing factors to the standards of education in Mozambique.

Here are seven things to know about education in Mozambique:

  1. Primary school is mandatory for children, but secondary school is not. In fact, there are only 82 secondary schools in the country.
  2. Poverty is a big contributor to the standards of education. As secondary school is not mandatory for children, attendance is extremely low during this stage – seven percent – since many children aged 14 and older would rather work than go to school. The children want to earn money for their families since resources can be spread so thin. Girls also tend to drop out of school at a young age to get married and start families of their own.
  3. Mozambique abolished primary school fees in the early 2000s. This abolition caused the primary student population to double in a decade.
  4. Teachers are outnumbered heavily by their students. This causes the available education in Mozambique to suffer.
  5. Children are also inclined to drop out of school altogether if their parents die because of poor living conditions or other extenuating circumstances.
  6. Studies by organizations such as UNICEF have shown that the early moments of childhood matter most. There are 15 countries with policies in place that allow mothers to have the time to devote to their children’s’ early years. Mozambique is not one of them and this affects the levels of education in Mozambique
  7. The government and various aid organizations, such as UNICEF, are also working to certify and train more teachers so that the teacher to student ratio can be improved.

The battle is being fought on all ends – teachers, funding and attendance are all issues currently being tackled. Hopefully, by improving literacy and education in Mozambique, this will enable many to pull themselves out of the vicious cycle of poverty.

Dezanii Lewis

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in MozambiqueMozambique, a country located in Africa, gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. Following their independence were years of conflict that ended in 1992. Mozambique is currently ranked one of the least developed countries in the world. The U.S. has been aiding the country, providing over $400 million to help people in Mozambique. However, there is more to be done.

The country faces several ongoing developmental challenges. There is unequal distribution of wealth and inequality is prevalent. Common health issues include malnutrition and as a result, stunting. It is also struggling with malaria, which is the most common cause of death among children and the general population. Mozambique also has one of the poorest water and sanitation rankings in the world; the water consumption is among the lowest in the world, even with multiple water sources.

The World Bank Group has been helping Mozambique from “economic stabilization in the 1980s, to postwar reconstruction in the early 1990s, to a comprehensive support strategy in the late 1990s.” The World Bank Group plans to help in areas of agriculture, education, environment, natural resources, health and nutrition. In addition to that, they have projects in the works to contribute an additional $1 billion worth of aid.

While these projects are still in the planning phases, Mozambique still requires immediate help. One of the ways to help people in Mozambique is by donating to organizations.

At Stop for the One, there are several ways to implement your funds, whether to help the crisis relief, drill a well, support young adults, or sponsor a child.

Another way to help people in Mozambique is at Concern Worldwide. The organization works to address food and nutrition, specifically in impoverished and isolated farming communities, as well as to women and children. As much as 90 percent is used for relief and development.

Whichever organization you choose, the donations will contribute to help people in Mozambique.

Chavez Spicer

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in MozambiqueAlthough Mozambique has made considerable progress in reducing poverty, more than 80 percent of Mozambicans continue to live on less than two dollars per day. International humanitarian organizations continue to fight poverty in Mozambique by providing aid in the hopes of ending hunger, improving water and sanitation quality and advancing education and health care.

USAID, through their Feed the Future Program, provides resources to increase agricultural production as well as educate Mozambicans about nutrition and health. In addition, CARE continues to provide valuable funding and resources to secure clean water and sanitation. UNAIDS focuses solely on the early identification and treatment for Mozambicans with HIV, with the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.


Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Mozambique


  1. As a result of the civil war in Mozambique from 1976 to 1992, infrastructure was destroyed, six million people were displaced and as many as one million deaths were reported.
  2. Extreme climate conditions, including floods and droughts, hinder the country’s development. Severe flooding and droughts threaten access to clean drinking water as well as the ability to grow and sustain food through agriculture.
  3. Mozambique ranks 181 out of 187 countries in the most recent UNDP’s Human Development Index; 70 percent of the total population lives in poverty. The Human Development Index evaluates life expectancy, access to education and Gross National Income (GNI) to measure the progress of human development in a country.
  4. In a 2017 study conducted by USAID, “94 percent of girls in Mozambique enroll in primary school, more than half drop out by the fifth grade, only 11 percent continue on to study at the secondary level and just one percent continue on to college.” As a result, Mozambique’s literacy rate is only 47 percent. The literacy rate for women is 48 percent, while for men it is 60 percent. As a result, women are more vulnerable to poverty than men.
  5. According to USAID, Malaria accounts for 42 percent of deaths among children under five years of age. However, 100 percent of the population is at risk of contracting the disease due to flooding and droughts, both of which increase the likelihood of transmitting the disease.
  6. According to UNAIDS, Mozambique has the eighth-highest prevalence of HIV in the world and ranks third in the world for children who have contracted the disease. As of 2015, 1.5 million people have contracted the virus and 39,000 deaths have been attributed to AIDS.
  7. UNICEF reports that one in every five children are severely deprived of education and 39 percent have no access to newspapers, radio or television. USAID states that, while the government has made considerable progress in ensuring children have access to education, the quality of this education continues to fall short: Among children who finish primary school, nearly two-thirds leave the system without basic reading, writing, and math skills.
  8. Almost one-third of the population suffers from malnutrition and one in every five children is severely nutritionally deprived. UNICEF estimates that 43 percent of children under five suffer from malnutrition and 45 percent of deaths in children under five are attributed to malnutrition.
  9. Over half of the population of Mozambique does not have access to clean water. In addition, 21.4 million people do not have access to proper sanitation. According to the World Bank, 17 percent of children under five die because of poor water and sanitation.
  10. As of 2015, life expectancy in Mozambique is only 55 years in comparison to 79 years in the U.S. Factors contributing to the short life expectancy include a high rate of poverty, communicable diseases and poor water quality and sanitary conditions.

Many issues contribute to poverty in Mozambique. While numerous organizations supply aid and bring awareness to the struggles that the country faces, continued efforts must persist. Programs are still needed to increase economic stability in the region as the World Bank reports that “the geographical distribution of poverty remains largely unchanged.” Furthermore, initiatives to increase teacher quality and efficacy are necessary to improve literacy and the quality of education. Finally, since women are more susceptible to poverty than men, empowerment projects are necessary for ensuring that poverty in Mozambique is eliminated.

Deb Blessman

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in MozambiqueMozambique is a country in eastern Africa that suffers from widespread poverty and political instability. As a consequence of the country’s poorly developed economy, tumultuous history and weak institutions, around half of the country lives below the poverty line.

Similar to other poverty-stricken countries around the globe, Mozambique lacks the technological and medicinal resources to provide adequate healthcare to its people. The most common diseases in Mozambique could be alleviated with access to proper nutrition, vaccinations, pharmaceutical drugs or health education.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the most prominent diseases in Mozambique include hepatitis A, malaria, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, rabies and yellow fever.

The climate of Mozambique contributes to the proliferation of these diseases. The warm, tropical environment is ideal for disease-spreading insects such as mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. Although insect bites are little more than annoyances for vaccinated, medicated tourists, they can be far more dangerous for the general population of Mozambique. Without the resources to prevent or treat diseases spread through bug bites, the people of Mozambique are constantly at risk of being infected with serious ailments.

In addition to insects, the lack of sanitary regulations encourages the spread of disease in Mozambique. The lack of regulation foods sold by local street vendors leads to the distribution of uncooked or otherwise uncleanly food, which can spread diseases such as diarrhea or even cholera. Furthermore, the CDC advises travelers to only drink bottled water as a result of a significant amount of untreated water.

The most common diseases in Mozambique are not unusual, considering that the country suffers from significant levels of poverty. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that diseases spread by parasitic insects or unsanitary conditions, such as malaria and diarrhea, are common in low-income countries. Furthermore, the WHO asserts that these types of diseases can be avoided or treated with access to proper sanitary standards, health education and medicine.

Mozambique, as well as other low-income countries around the world, disproportionately suffer from rudimentary diseases that can be fought with adequate technology and medicine. Although this revelation speaks volumes about the punishing conditions of poverty, it also shows that most of the common diseases in Mozambique can be mitigated significantly with reasonable global anti-poverty measures.

Isidro Rafael Santa Maria

Photo: Flickr

A southeast African nation with a population of approximately 26 million people, Mozambique prides itself on spending 7% of its GDP on education. Although just under half of the girls in the nation claim an ability to read, Mozambique maintains a 58.8% literacy rate. In fact, education in Mozambique plays a critical role in the lives of many children, as the average child is expected to spend approximately 10 years in the school system.

During the 2003-2004 academic school year, the nation abolished school fees, ensuring the provision of direct support to schools and free textbooks. Ultimately, this led to an influx of students, with primary school enrollment rates reaching 97% by 2014.

UNICEF initiatives have had tremendous success in the region. They have not only helped fund 800 schools through the Child Friendly Schools Programme, but they have also provided $150 million to mobilize funding for education in the nation.

Gender considerations have also impacted education in Mozambique. Rather than tolerate gender disparities in schooling, the country has made a significant effort in eliminating the education gap between boys and girls. Based on the gender parity index, which demonstrates how many girls finish school compared to boys, Mozambique has increased its rate from 0.62 in 2002 to 0.88 in 2014. In 2007, 37% of all girls completed primary school. By 2015, that rate had increased to 45%.

Education in Mozambique is structured similarly to systems in other nations in Africa and across the globe. The academic year, beginning in January and ending in October, welcomes students from the age of six to attend school. Primary school lasts seven years, secondary lasts three years and upper secondary lasts two years. At the moment, there are 6.1 million students enrolled in primary and secondary education in the country, with the majority of them being enrolled in primary education.

The incredible number of colleges and universities in Mozambique further benefits its education system. The most well-known university is Eduardo Mondlane University, founded in 1962. The university offers courses in disciplines such as agricultural sciences, biological sciences, humanities, natural sciences, social and applied sciences, engineering, arts and medicine. Other universities include One World University, Universidade Pedagogica and the MUST Institute for Business and Computer Science. Each of these institutions allows individuals studying in the nation to advance their careers, goals and lives through education.

Education in Mozambique is improving. As the nation continues to develop, there can be no denying that its continued emphasis on educational achievement will prove essential for success.

Emily Chazen

Photo: Flickr

7 Facts About Water Quality in Mozambique Pollution
Mozambique is a country in southeast Africa with a population of over 27 million people. The country is particularly susceptible to floods, droughts and earthquakes, which are a major hindrance to development. Mozambique is still recovering from a 15-year civil war that began in 1977 after the country gained its independence from Portugal. Listed by Business Insider as the seventh poorest country in the world (GDP per capita: $1,208), Mozambique has extremely limited access to clean water. To better understand the impact of this, here are the leading facts about water quality in Mozambique.

7 Facts About Water Quality in Mozambique

  1. The life expectancy in Mozambique is 49 years. This relatively low number, compared to 79 in the U.S., is due in part to communicable diseases such as diarrhea that are spread by the poor water quality in Mozambique. A large number of Mozambicans must use unsanitary water for drinking and sanitation.
  2. UNICEF reports that only 49 percent of Mozambicans have access to clean water. The urban areas of Mozambique seem to be faring better than the rural areas, with 80 percent of city inhabitants having access to clean water. Of the rural population, 35 percent have this access, making their situation especially precarious.
  3. UNICEF also reports that two in five Mozambicans defecate in the open due to a shortage of adequate sanitation facilities. Even health facilities and schools, places that should have good access to safe water and sanitation, suffer from this shortage. Just 40 percent of rural schools have safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
  4. Some nonprofit organizations have stepped in to assist with water quality in Mozambique. Among these, UNICEF, WaterAid and Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor have had the largest impacts to date.
  5. UNICEF has invested in clean drinking water, restrooms and hand-washing stations for children in schools as well as in improving water quality in small towns and provinces in Mozambique. Thanks to its efforts, 487 elementary schools no longer require students to defecate outside the school, 265,000 people living in rural Mozambique now have improved quality water and 292,000 Mozambicans have better sanitation services.
  6. WaterAid has provided 500,000 people in Mozambique with safe drinking water and 220,000 people with adequate sanitation. This organization credits its success to the introduction of simple yet long-lasting technologies to poor communities. These include rope pumps (a type of deep well) and bathrooms that mix human feces with soil and ash to create compost, which has also helped Mozambicans’ crops.
  7. Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) has created communal restrooms and provided technical support for wastewater treatment systems in poor urban communities, providing 123,000 people with improved sanitation services.

Steps have been taken to improve water quality in Mozambique, but help is still needed in this country to ensure access to basic sanitation for the majority of the country.

Anna V. Gargiulo

Photo: Flickr

Mozambique is one of the poorest countries on a global scale. The government estimates that 54 percent of its population lives below the poverty line. Hunger in Mozambique is widespread, as 80 percent of the population cannot afford enough food for good health and 24 percent are chronically food insecure. At least 25 percent of Mozambicans are malnourished, due in part, to poor crop diversity. Almost half of children under age five are malnourished, and 42 percent have stunted growth.

Mozambique’s primary industry is agriculture: it brings in over 25 percent of the nation’s GDP and employs 80 percent of the workforce. Yet, Mozambique is also prone to severe weather such as droughts and floods. With the majority of the nation dependent on agriculture and at risk for severe weather, Mozambique is highly susceptible to chronic food insecurity and poverty.

While parts of Mozambique are prone to drought, these regions also have rivers, leaving them prone to flooding during cyclone season. In fact, two-third of Mozambicans live in regions at risk of flooding and cyclones. Mozambique experienced floods in 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2008. The country had droughts between 2002-2003, 2004-2005, 2006-2007 and 2007-2008.

Drought caused by the 2016 El Niño weather pattern reduced crop yields and left two million Mozambicans suffering food insecurity. Shortly after, in February 2017, the country experienced a cyclone which also destroyed crops.

Feed the Future, an initiative funded by USAID is working to reduce hunger in Mozambique. The USAID website notes that Mozambique also has geographical advantages and great potential to increase agriculture while reducing food insecurity. The country is a coastal country, making it ideal for growing food and supplying landlocked African countries. Furthermore, only 17 percent of the suitable land is being used for farming.

The Feed the Future Initiative is taking advantage of this potential. Research is underway to improve agriculture. More nutritious and resilient crop varieties are being developed, as are plants which produce higher yields. Ideal fertilizers are being used along with better farming practices to improve soil quality.

Of the 15 countries in Southern Africa, Mozambique is the second largest exporter of food. As such, better farming practices can allow the citizens of Mozambique to rise out of poverty. Crop production is impaired by changes in climate. Yet, if Mozambique can overcome this obstacle, it can help reduce famine throughout Southern Africa. The outlook is good. Mozambique cut hunger in half between 1997 and 2015.

If the Feed the Future Initiative and other organizations can end hunger in Mozambique, then it can possibly end hunger in Southern Africa.

Mary Katherine Crowley

Photo: Flickr

Awareness and Prevention Through Art, otherwise known as AptART, is an organization that began in Mozambique and is bringing together artists and activists. The non-profit organization is aiming “to share with conflict-affected and marginalized youth an artistic experience alongside the opportunity to express themselves.”

In 2012, AptART took its concept beyond the borders of Mozambique, working on a project in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, AptART has been teaming with local and international organizations creating workshops for kids in places such as Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Palestine and countries in Europe. The art created in these workshops varies; some are large-scale street murals while others are smaller individual works. Through their work, the organization seeks to build awareness and promote prevention while creating messages of hope and positivity.

A recent project the organization has been working on is a street art project in Jordan. Jordan has a large community of refugee children, many coming from Syria. In partnership with local Jordan artist Suhaib Attar, they host street art and mural workshops to introduce kids to the community to color and art as a form of expression. Previously, the organization also held workshops for children in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp.

Director Samantha Robison from AptART told Al Jazeera, “Our aim is to amplify the voices of marginalized groups and put their ideas and identities in the public space. Street artists have an opportunity to convey a message to a large audience in a way that other artists might not. The world is their gallery; it’s art for everyone.”

Art created through these workshops are exhibited locally and throughout the world. All sales go towards funding the organization’s future projects. Some other major organizations that support and collaborate with AptART are UNICEF, ECHO and Mercy Corps.

Shannon Elder

Photo: Flickr