Defending Dignity. Fighting Poverty.

PRESS RELEASE: JANUARY 2017

CARE deeply concerned that Mozambican girls drop out of school due to the drought 

Maputo, Mozambique  – January, 2017 

CARE Mozambique expresses its deep concern that many girls drop out of school. Mozambique is currently experiencing the worst drought for the last 35 years, which is affecting over 2 million people, including woman and girls affected by food insecurity, water shortages and loss of income.

In the past few months, school officials have noted to CARE field teams that children are dropping-out of school due to the drought, as families moving to seek alternative livelihood incomes). Increasing food prices leave households with fewer resources, often leaving no money for school-related expenses, thus jeopardising their children’s access to education.



Drop-out rates are high among lower income groups, as there is competition between children’s time for study and their need to engage in food and income generating activities. In Mozambique, school drop-outs in vulnerable provinces were reported to exceed 10 per cent during the first quarter of 2016. Many girls are now missing out on continuing their education because they are forced to walk long distances to fetch water and look for food (wild leaves and fruits) as result of severe drought that affects Mozambique.

“The situations is particularly hard for younger girls because are pulled out of school to help their parents fetch water and they spent hours to walk to and back home from the water source and wait in long queues”, says Marc Nosbach, CARE Mozambique Country Director.

Education is associated with the prevalence of child marriage and particularly with the El niño. On average, one out of two girls are married before their 18th birthday and 14 percent are already married by the age of 15. Child marriages deprive girls of an education and put them at greater risk of domestic and sexual violence.iii Many mothers told CARE field teams that with the current drought they cannot provide food for the entire family anymore.

“It is a significant problem in Mozambique. In Inhambane province, one of the most affected areas, I met a mother who told me that her children cannot go to school anymore because they are fainting of hunger. She is thinking of marrying her 12-year old daughter off as she does not know how to provide food for her anymore”, says Marc Nosbach.

The struggle for survival force many girls to choose whether they continue studying with an empty stomach or they leave the notebooks to help the mothers to look for the means of livelihood. CARE provides hygienic material for 600 vulnerable woman and girls who became mothers, in order to improve their hygiene and sanitation.

 

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