From early motherhood to empowerment: Rebuilding life for women in Mozambique

Reading Time: 4 min read

The story of Ivete Augusto, 25, from Manhiça District, Mozambique, reflects common challenges women face in her community.

Ivete Augusto is a 25-year-old resident of the Manhiça district in Mozambique’s Maputo province. Today, she lives with her widowed mother and eight-year-old daughter. They sustain themselves through subsistence farming, which provides limited income and financial security.

Ivete’s life took a turn when she became pregnant at 17 due to promises of marriage and lobola (dowry) payments from her partner. This forced her to abandon her education, as her husband insisted that women prioritise taking care of their children and household duties over schooling.

After facing violence and infidelity in her marriage, Ivete returned home to help her mother with farming. She attended a community sensitisation event conducted by the Commonwealth of Learning’s (COL) Empowering Women and Girls (EWG) partner, Aid for the Development of People for People (ADPP), in her District. She joined the project and has since attended sexual and reproductive health classes, where this newfound knowledge has motivated her to rebuild her life by joining a support group for women, combatting the stigma surrounding early pregnancy.

She is also participating in sessions on preventing gender-based violence, and the 16 Days of Activism campaign has further equipped Ivete with information about human and women’s rights. She now has the knowledge of what constitutes gender stereotypes, bias and discrimination and how she can challenge gender norms and enjoy equality in her relationships. Ivete has since enrolled in the project’s three-month tailoring course to improve her family’s financial situation.

Enrolling in this course signifies her determination to improve her family’s financial status and create a brighter future. Ivete says she is grateful to ADPP and COL for the opportunity to transform her life and hopes that more girls can benefit from similar opportunities.

With funding from Global Affairs Canada, COL initiated a three-year EWG project in 2023 with the aim of improving the realisation of human rights for women and girls from disadvantaged communities in selected areas of five Commonwealth member states, including Mozambique.

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