Work of ICDP Mozambique

Read the ICDP Mozambique report for the period between March 2016 and February 2017:

Nearly 12 million Mozambicans live below the poverty line and 48% of Mozambican children live in absolute poverty. Mozambique has 2 million orphans and vulnerable children, of which 510,000 are orphaned due to AIDS. With the growing number of children in need of care, the traditional support system of extended families is becoming increasingly compromised. The country is also cyclically devastated by natural disasters, which cause disruption to essential services for children.

Mozambique has an enabling environment to address issues facing orphans and marginalized children. The Social Action Policy, the 2nd National Action Plan for Children and the Minimum Standards for Services for Orphans and Vulnerable Children clearly indicate the interventions and approaches that need to be put in place to address problems faced by orphans and marginalized children. However, legislation and policy commitment haven’t translated into effective programmes and functional state services that would alleviate the suffering of children. In addition, most programmes focus on providing for immediate material needs and very often emotional and psychosocial needs of children go unanswered.

ICDP Mozambique findings from visits made to residential care centers revealed weak caring environments, poor child-adult interaction, lack of training for caregivers on how to care for children and lack of clarity about daily routines. Children with symptoms of anxiety, depression and apathy were also spotted. The emotional wounds caused by abandonment, loss and death of relatives are less visible than the physical scars, but can be devastating.

Children with Disabilities
An estimated 13.5 per cent of children aged 2-9 in Mozambique have some kind of disability. There is not enough knowledge and competence to deal with disabilities in Mozambique. In the absence of the necessary competence and skill, families and relatives tend to place children with disabilities in institutional of care, even though most institutions lack adequate caring and rehabilitation practices. Often families with children with disabilities receive minimal support at home or none at all. Finally, adoption, guardianship and fostering are options rarely available to children with disabilities.

Although Mozambique has an enabling policy framework for improving the situation of people with disabilities, there is still room for improving legislation and programme implementation, particularly for children with disabilities, since disability is still perceived within a medical context and not social, as advocated for by the Convention.

The Government of Mozambique (Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action - MGCAS) and UNICEF are working together to reform child care system. ICDP Mozambique is joining in with this collaboration to address some of the top identified priorities namely, improving caring practices, through psychosocial support (PSS) and training in quality caring, as well as working on family reintegration of children living in institutions, which is key for their psychosocial wellbeing and development.

ICDP Mozambique has played a key role in training social action and caregivers in residential care institutions on improved caring and stimulation practices, including for children with disabilities, in the provinces of Maputo, Maputo city, Gaza, Sofala, Manica, Zambezia, Tete and Nampula.

ICDP uses a facilitative approach, incorporating local practices of child-care and encouraging traditional values; ICDP aims to sensitize caregivers to recognize a child's qualities and needs and to make them aware of their own ability to provide loving care and guidance. The ICDP programme is built upon four basic components: (1) positive redefinition of the caregivers’ conception/image of the child and facilitation of (2) emotional expressive dialogue, (3) cognitive and expansion dialogue and (4) regulation dialogue (regulative skills with positive limit-setting). We also payed particular attention to activities that contribute to strengthening attachment, empathy, resilience and the role of the mother/caregiver as a mediator of quality care towards children with disabilities.

Main Achievements
20 Trainers with confirmed and consolidated skills to facilitate capacity development on ICDP programme and disability component.
361 caregivers and managers with access to the ICDP programme’s guidelines and approaches to disability.
252 residential care centers’ caregivers and managers implementing the ICDP programme and approaches to disability
40 families implementing improved caring and stimulation practices with their children after placement or family reintegration
1.191 families with children at risk of separation with better understanding about child rights and development, PSS and positive caring and stimulation practices
30 MGCAS (Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action) staff knowledgeable about ICDP programme and disability and related monitoring and supervisory skills
10 MGCAS staff participating in the joint monitoring and supervision to residential care centers and families