The Land of Need
Mozambique was a Portuguese colony until 1975, when an 11-year war of independence ended with the establishment of an independent Marxist government, and the country in desperate condition. A brutal civil war from 1977-92 exacerbated the situation even further and ever since, Mozambique has been trying to rebuild its devastated economy, with limited infrastructure (power networks, roads, schools, clinics) and improve social services in rural areas.
In terms of average income, Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest countries ranking 178 out of 187 in the 2014 Human Development Index, with over 50 % of the population living below $1 per day. Many households struggle to meet their own needs and are mostly subsistence farmers; cultivating small plots using hand tools. Although agriculture is still the mainstay of the economy, yet only 10 percent of arable land is under cultivation. Maize and cassava are the staple food crops and also the basic diet. In rural villages, houses are made out of mud and straw and grouped near the fields. Many households rely on rivers, lakes or wells whose water is not safe to drink.
The slow process to rebuild schools and health centers continues, but Mozambique faces considerable challenges in this area. Access to medical health in the rural areas is poor with many pregnant women not receiving prenatal care. Treatable diseases like malaria, measles, diarrhea, acute respiratory infections and tetanus claim thousands of lives each year.