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.
- 70 percent of the total population live in poverty, most living on less than $2 per day.
- Most households are subsistence farmers, cultivating small plots using hand tools to meet their own needs. Maize (corn) and cassava are staple food crops that form the basic diet.
- UNICEF reports one in every five children is deprived of education. Studies by USAID indicates 90 percent of girls enrolling in primary school will drop out by 5th grade, barely being able to read. Only 11 percent will go on to secondary school.
- Mozambique has the eighth highest prevalence of HIV and ranks 3rdin the world for children who have contracted the disease.
- UNICEF estimates 1 of every 5 children is severely nutritionally deprived and 45 percent of deaths in children under five are attributed to malnutrition.
- Over 21.4 million people do not have access to proper sanitation and half of the population does not have access to clean drinking water. The World Bank estimates 17 percent of children under 5 die because of poor water and sanitation.
Many issues have contributed to poverty in Mozambique and extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, floods and droughts have further hindered the country from progressing. While many humanitarian aid agencies are working tirelessly to alleviate suffering, continued efforts must persist.