Right To Play in Mozambique
Right To Play began working in Mozambique in 2002 to empower youth with the training to implement sports for holistic child development programs in their communities. Since then, we have expanded to focus on increasing access to quality education, supporting child protection, promoting gender equality and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).
As a board member of the National Network for Education for All, Right To Play played a pivotal role in the national advocacy campaign against Decree 39/2003, which barred pregnant girls from attending regular school. The decree was reversed in December 2018. Right To Play is also part of the National Coalition to End Child Marriage, where we contribute to enhancing child participation in national advocacy campaigns against forced marriage and gender-based violence. This network is affiliated to the Girls Not Brides global partnership.
Over the next five years, we will continue to scale up programs in the provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Zambezia, Mania and Sofala, and expand to Nampula and Cabo Delgado, to ensure that more children can access quality and inclusive primary education. By 2025, we hope to reach 510,012 children & youth and 5,684 teachers & tutors.
By focusing on the three thematic areas of Quality Education, Girls' Empowerment, and Health & Well-Being, we will:
- Ensure more children have access to inclusive and quality education
- Empower girls to rise above the barriers of gender-based violence and harmful socio-cultural practices
- Integrate well-being and psychosocial support (PSS) into teacher training curriculum
- Promote comprehensive sexual health and reproductive education for children
According to UNICEF, 48% of children in Mozambique live in absolute poverty. The Government of Mozambique has demonstrated a strong commitment to education as a driver for economic, social, and human development. It has sponsored primary school fees since 2004, and undertaken large-scale construction and teacher recruitment. Despite the significant progress that has been made towards quality education, gender equality, and health, challenges remain. The World Bank states that more than 8% of primary school-aged children are out of school as of 2020: 10% of girls and 8% of boys.
Only 6.3% of children complete third grade with basic reading and writing competencies. Serious challenges also remain regarding the quality of education. As many as two-thirds of children complete primary school without basic reading, writing, or math skills.
Early marriage is also an issue that affects Mozambican girls. 48% are married before their 18th birthday and 14% before the age of 15. Early marriages and pregnancies, as well as high poverty levels are major contributors to school drop-out for girls, resulting in the loss of development and economic opportunities. While 94% of girls enroll in primary school, more than half drop out by the fifth grade, only 11% continue on to study at the secondary level, and just 1% continue on to college.
Right To Play’s comprehensive in-service teacher training program aligns with the national curriculum to enhance teachers’ use of child-centered, active learning approaches, and builds their ability to create positive, inclusive, and gender-responsive learning environments. The use of games and activity-based, gender-responsive methodologies has now been endorsed by the Ministry of Education and Human Development (MoEHD). We are committed to the implementation of gender responsive play-based learning in schools and teacher training institutes, with a focus on inclusive learning.
Right To Play also trains school councils on child protection, and how to create school improvement plans. Right To Play’s school leadership training guide has been contextualized and approved by MoEHD and will be rolled out to schools nationally.
In 2020, Right To Play began placing additional focus on early reading, supporting the capacity of teachers to use play-based approaches to promote early literacy, and working with parents and communities to provide supplemental opportunities to read. Through these initiatives, we will work to improve learning achievements, including proficiency in reading and literacy.
“In the past, teachers relied on lectures and rote memorization to impart learning to girls and boys. Now, teachers are able to employ participatory methods structured around children’s learning needs and use games to facilitate learning.” — ZIP coordinator
Since the repeal of Decree 39/2003, Right To Play has worked within national advocacy networks to develop practical strategies to enable pregnant girls to attend school. We strive to ensure that the voices of girls are heard during critical discussions. For example, in 2019, we supported girls to participate in the 2019 International Conference on Girls’ Education and in a national forum with parliamentarians that focused on how to protect girls from violence in schools, and how to implement the new law against child, early, and forced marriage. We will work with families, communities, and governments to improve their capacity to adhere to these and other policies for the prevention of violence against women and early marriage.
At the community level, we partner with local civil society organizations to carry out advocacy campaigns, sports and play events, and other sensitization activities on gender equality and girls’ right to education. We use participatory gender analysis to engage community members and education officials in developing action plans to respond to the major barriers to girls’ education. We also encourage girls to enhance their knowledge and leadership skills to advocate against violence and harmful gender norms, as well as to actively participate in, and make informed decisions about sexual and reproductive health. We also organize gender equality-themed Play Days to promote positive masculinities in boys.
Right To Play strives to help children develop self-confidence, critical thinking, leadership, knowledge about sexual and reproductive health, and skills in how to protect themselves from gender-based and other forms of violence. Through children’s clubs, we have developed a network of 1,500 Junior Leaders who actively promote the rights of their peers.
We strive to create inclusive schools by rehabilitating classrooms and latrines to enhance their safety and accessibility. We will introduce improved healthy practices such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) for children and youth, as well as comprehensive SRHR. We also train teachers and early childhood development facilitators on active child-centered education, how to provide psychosocial support through play, and strategies to address protection issues such as gender-based violence. We are committed to the introduction of improved psychosocial support in Right To Play-targeted schools.
In 2019, after Cyclone Idai, we extended our work to cyclone-affected areas of Manica and Sofala, supplying teaching and learning materials to early childhood development centres, primary schools, and temporary learning centres.
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Right To Play gratefully acknowledges the support of all of its financial and technical partners. Support for our programs in Mozambique comes from the Government of Canada, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norad, The Slaight Foundation, UNICEF, and many others, including supporters like you.
Contact our Mozambique office
Rua Fernão Melo e Castro, N0 276, First Floor
Maputo, Bairro da Sommerchield