Bridging the Gaps : A Field Study on the Impact of Societal Gaps on Livelihoods in Lichinga Municipality, Mozambique
Abstract: This study was performed in the spring of 2016 in the Lichinga municipality in northern Mozambique, as a part of the Master Programme in Peace and Development Work at Linnaeus University in Växjo, Sweden. The agricultural dynamics within Mozambique point to the need for this sector to be the cornerstone of development, since 80% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector yet only making up a quarter of the country’s GDP. The existing disparity of growth experienced by urban, semi-urban, and rural areas creates a need to inspect the nation’s agricultural strategy PEDSA; which prioritizes areas with the most potential for commercialization of the industry. Thus, a far overdue need for the involvement of participatory processes as well as need for a focus on the local level provokes the importance of looking at the possibilities and challenges for households in Lichinga Municipality to improve their livelihoods. The aim with this qualitative research is to present a holistic view of Mozambican society to identify possible gaps that are influencing households, with the use of the Carney (1998) Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Framework. Throughout this study it was evident that several obstacles exist for achieving sustainable development. In particular the most rural households struggle to gain access to basic infrastructure, health, and education – all services intended to be provided by the public sector. The reason for this gap in services is in the overarching structures and policies, such as decentralization and agricultural strategies, both past and current. The overall wellbeing of households is affected by their requirement for constant prioritization of immediate needs. This hinders sustainable development within households and on a national level, due to the amount of the population living this reality.
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