Right to Play in Mozambique

Right To Play began working in Mozambique in 2002 through a partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Through the partnership, youth received training to lead play-based programs in their communities. In 2005, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Human Development, Right To Play started working directly in schools to promote holistic child development, HIV awareness, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

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.

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The challenges faced by children in Mozambique

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 this investment, Mozambique has not yet achieved universal primary education. The World Bank states that more than 6% of primary school-aged children are out of school: 7.5% of girls and 4.6% of boys.

Of the children who do enroll in school, only around half complete primary school. 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 women. 48% of women aged 20 to 24 are married before the age of 18, and 14% are married before the age of 15. Early marriages and pregnancies and 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.

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Strengthening quality education for better learning outcomes

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).

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.

“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

Promoting girls’ right to education

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.

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 organize gender equality-themed Play Days to promote positive masculinities in boys.

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Empowering and protecting the most vulnerable children

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 also train teachers and early childhood development facilitators on active child-centered pedagogy,how to provide psychosocial support through play, and strategies to address protection issues such as gender-based violence.

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

More info on our work in Mozambique