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Engaging business on safety and environmental care in Mozambique
In Mozambique, chemical companies distribute pesticides with safety information written in English instead of the local languages. This is putting users at risk, particularly women and children. Alarmed by seeing women spraying pesticides while carrying babies on their backs and using chemical containers to collect water, staff of the Africa Foundation for Sustainable Development (AFSD) took action.
They are working with the business community, the Ministry of Environment, the Global Environment Facility, WWF and other stakeholders to ensure that appropriate safety information is provided. They also promote natural alternatives to pesticides and develop chemical disposal facilities.
These efforts form part of Mozambique’s national plan to implement the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) while also contributing to national initiatives to achieve food security, reduce poverty and safeguard the environment. The work focuses on a region in southern Mozambique.
- Communities in Namaacha and Macaneta districts have long been using numerous industrial, toxic chemicals through lack of awareness of the dangers, partly due to low literacy levels.
- As in most impoverished communities, very few women have regular employment, their rights are often violated and they have low self-confidence. This is linked to further challenges such as reduced maternal health and increased child mortality.
- Only 6% of households have access to electricity and education.
- Unemployment rates are as high as 40% in some communities and HIV/AIDS is prevalent.
- There is limited information on the use of POPs. It is common to see street vendors selling chemicals with no safety precautions or information.
Local communities, particularly women and children, biodiversity and ecosystems
1. Communication and Training
2. Target Group Engagement