Reducing Vulnerability to Drought, Cyclones & Climate Change in Mozambique
For over a decade, Inhambane province, Mozambique, has experienced severe cyclones and prolonged droughts, leading to cyclical food shortages. The impact of these repeated shocks is exacerbated by the high incidence of HIV and poverty. With support from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Colheita II project is reducing vulnerability to natural disasters and increasing resiliency to future shocks. Building on lessons learned from Colheita I and similar programs in Zimbabwe and Swaziland, Coheita II takes a holistic approach to reducing drought and cyclone vulnerability in five districts of Inhambane province.
In coordination with provincial agriculture authorities, IRD is promoting the use of conservation agriculture techniques, enhancing communities’ ability to rebound to “normal status” after extreme climatic events. Conservation agriculture practices provide a number of benefits, including improved natural resource management, the ability to plant earlier due to drought resistant soils, increased yields on the same or smaller areas of land through improved land management practices, and the ability to maintain farms closer to home without the need to periodically clear new plots. The program also encourages crop diversification to mitigate the impact of drought while improving nutrition. IRD is promoting crops that are drought resistant and nutrient dense. This is especially important for HIV-affected persons, who must maintain good nutritional status for their antiretroviral medicines to be effective. Although the crops are primarily intended for home use, each has a strong local market to provide income generation opportunities.
IRD is complementing agricultural activities with initiatives to improve water supply and sanitation. The project is repairing water points using appropriate pump technology, rehabilitating rooftop rainwater harvesting systems (RWHS) in public buildings, and promoting RWHS at the household level. Over the life of the project, IRD will rehabilitate 30 RWHS in public buildings, install 500 RWHS in homes, and repair or install 30 water pumps. To ensure sustainability, the project is forming and training local committees to manage each water point. The project will also improve hygiene practices by constructing 1,000 household latrines and training a network of community activists who will promote basic hygiene and personal health practices, including construction of hand washing facilities near latrines and use of elevated dish drying and storage racks. At the end of the program, rural households and schools will have increased access to safe water and the knowledge and skills to build their own RWHS.
The Colheita II program is led by IRD with support from USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). The project is scheduled to run from April 2012 through March 2014.