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Title: Alleviating Poverty through Local Resources and Local Initiatives: A Case Study of Gorongosa Communities in Mozambique
Authors: Manjoro, Alfandega
Keywords: poverty alleviation
natural resources
sustainable community development
theories of poverty
local initiatives
culture of poverty
Issue Date: 3-Sep-2014
Abstract: Despite positive economic growth averaging 8.5% per year since 1992, there have been insignificant inroads realized in the fight against poverty in Mozambique. By 2005 about 50% of the population, mainly the 80% of rural based smallholder farmers that live below the absolute poverty line in Mozambique was considered poor according to the World Bank definition. Although richly endowed with natural resources Sofala, Tete and Inhambane rank amongst the poorest provinces. In addition to the effects of the protracted civil conflict of 1975 - 1992, extreme weather conditions, high illiteracy and birth rates, gender imbalances, are some of the causes of poverty in Mozambique. The objective of this study is to explore the use of local resources and local initiatives in fighting poverty in the rural communities of Mozambique. The study adopted a case study approach and made an in-depth analysis of the phenomenon of poverty in the district of Gorongosa, which lies in the Sofala province. Gorongosa was chosen ahead of other districts given the fact that it is endowed with natural resources and it used to be the bread basket of the province of Sofala in times gone by. The abundance of resources and the existence of poverty in the rural area forms an interesting paradox which was the basis of the study. Various strategies have been used by both government and non-governmental organizations in their bid to alleviate or eradicate poverty with little or no success at all. This has been attributed mainly to the approach that has been used, as it lacks ownership at community level and does not empower the rural people to sustainably utilize resources.. There is a tendency to over-generalize. Solutions that work in one place don’t necessarily work in another. The study also found out that the people have created a culture of poverty that they pass on to the future generations, as they unnecessarily look for outward solutions, even in cases where they could provide a solution to some of their problems themselves. This lack of self-esteem is also partly attributed to various factors, chief among them, the prolonged war and the environment. Data was generated through observations; questionnaires targeting individual households and focus groups of different gender groups. The study recommends a paradigm shift towards community development that encourages locals to have a hand on how to use local resources and initiatives to influence better livelihood outcomes for the current and future generations which they can own at local level. It was evident from the study’s findings that most of the programmes implemented before were not very successful because during the planning stage, care was not taken to take into account the local ethnographic aspects of where the project was being implemented and the study recommends a complete change in this approach by involving fully the locals and taking into account all ethnographic aspects that can help achieve the set goals..
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