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Reality Checks in Mozambique


Market Development, Natural Resource Management, Local Government and Decentralisation, Employment, Other, Agriculture, Monitoring and Evaluation, Gender Equality, Environment and Climate Change, Health, Natural Resource Management, Good Governance and Public Administration

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The Reality Checks in Mozambique was implemented by ORGUT in association with COWI (Mozambique) and the Chr. Michelsen Institute (Norway) on behalf of the Embassy of Sweden in Maputo. The Reality Checks were implemented between 2011- 2016, with fieldwork being carried out each year in the Districts of Cuamba, Majune and Lago in the Niassa Province.

Poverty monitoring and evaluation in Mozambique primarily took place within the framework of the implementation of Mozambique’s Poverty Reduction Strategy PARP/A, and was informed by quantitative data derived from different types of national surveys and similar studies done by bilateral and multilateral aid organisations. However, by their quantitative nature such surveys did not capture all the dimensions of poverty relevant to the design of policies and programmes. While quantitative data yield valuable information about the mapping and profile of poverty over space and time, qualitative data was necessary in order to better understand the dynamics of poverty and the coping strategies of the poor.

Against this background, the Embassy of Sweden in Maputo and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) decided that there was a need to assess the impact of development and poverty reduction policies ‘from below’, and to regularly consult local populations in order to understand local processes and relationships. The series of five “Reality Checks in Mozambique” took place during 2011-2016, focusing on the dynamics of poverty and well-being with a particular focus on good governance, agriculture/climate and energy that are key sectors in Swedish development cooperation with the country. Each Reality Check was published in the form of one Annual Report and three Sub-Reports from each of the three selected study-sites. A Final Report covering the entire period was submitted in 2016.

More concretely, the “Reality Checks in Mozambique”:

  1. Informed the public discussion among key development actors on poverty reduction, especially in the province of Niassa;
  2. Contributed to a better understanding of qualitative poverty monitoring methods in Mozambique;
  3. Provided Sweden with relevant qualitative data on developments and results from its engagement in Mozambique and support further implementation of its programme in Niassa.

The Reality Checks achieved these objectives by enhancing knowledge on:

  1. Poverty (non-tangible dimensions of poverty, such as vulnerability and powerlessness; poor people’s own perceptions of poverty; causal processes underpinning poverty dynamics: coping/survival strategies adopted by women and men living in poverty);
  2. Local power relations and relationships with state institutions (formal [i.e. political, administrative] institutions that enable or constrain people to carry out their strategies; informal [i.e. cultural, social, family or kin-based etc.] institutions that enable or constrain people to carry out their strategies), and;
  3. Policies and services (access to, use of and demand for public services according to people living in poverty; quality of public services according to people living in poverty).

The Reality Checks also paid special attention to priority issues identified in the annual reviews of projects and programmes within Swedish priority sectors.

Methodologically, the studies were based on a combination of quantitative information derived from the National Institute of Statistics and District Authorities; a Baseline Survey carried out in the three project sites for this project; key informant interviews in the provincial capital Lichinga and the selected Districts; participant observation in the local communities selected for fieldwork; and a set of qualitative/participatory methodologies including immersion with households in different socio-economic situations. The Reality Check looked at how issues related to transparency, non-discrimination, participation and accountability affect people’s daily life, more specifically: (i) transparency and access to information about public policies and resource allocation; (ii) participation in public life; (iii) accountability of public institutions to citizens at the local level (district and below); and (iv) the link between discrimination, vulnerability and poverty (including issues related to the rights of women and children). The methodology also allowed for the exploring of issues related to the agriculture and energy, including land, environment and climate change, through thematic focused annual reports in these sectors.

All reports are published on