COL Empowering Women and Girls in Mozambique

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The Commonwealth of Learning’s (COL) Empowering Women and Girls project, supported by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), was launched in Mozambique. The event was attended by over 60 stakeholders, including national, regional and district representatives from the country’s Ministries of Education, Health and Gender, community leaders from Manhiça and Marracuene (where the project will be implemented) and representatives of the private sector and microcredit organisations.

Speaking at the event in Machava at the Aid for the Development of People for People (ADPP) headquarters, Ms Birgit Holm, CEO of ADPP, said:

“Too often, women and girls face disadvantages because of their gender, age, income, disability, poor education, unemployment, and limited decision-making power. The perception and reality of vulnerability arising out of these situations create contexts of discrimination… women and girls are not helpless victims but sources of power – power to cope, power to prevent, power to reduce risk, power for resilience and transformation.”

Ms Holm thanked GAC and COL for their support and requested the aid of all stakeholders to build communities where the rights of women and girls are respected and upheld while also taking advantage of the enabling government policy and legal environment to reach the project target of 9,000 women and girls.

Speaking on behalf of GAC, Ms Zoe Boutilier, Education Team Lead at the Canadian High Commission in Maputo, stated, “Because women are an important part of the future of this country (Mozambique), their empowerment and well-being must be our top priority”. She added that Canada has supported Mozambique’s education sector for over 20 years. The Empowering Women and Girls project aligns with one of the strategic objectives of the Government’s Five-Year Plan (PQG 2020-2024), namely, to promote gender equality and equity, social inclusion and the protection of the most vulnerable segments of the population.

Launching the project, Mr Silvestre Dava, Head of Department at the Provincial Directorate of Education and Human Development of Maputo, said it comes at the right time and aims to eliminate social inequalities between men and women. He thanked everyone who will make this project a reality, including the Canadian government, COL, ADPP, the local communities, as well as the women and girls who will participate in the different courses because they will contribute to the development of the ten implementation communities and to Mozambique.

Ms Frances Ferreira, COL’s Senior Adviser, Empowering Women and Girls, said the project’s approach to targeting is guided by the principle of inclusion to ensure that the poorest groups associated with a higher likelihood of poverty, and women and girls and persons with disabilities are not left behind in the development process, but empowered to voice their concerns and claim their equal rights to live a life of dignity, free from all forms of discrimination based on gender.

Image caption (L-R: Ms Birgit Holm, ADPP Mozambique, and Ms Zoe Boutilier, Global Affairs Canada)

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