Favela United Project Mozambique

In 2016 Favela United, through a grassroots volunteer effort, organised regular training sessions and activities in one of the cities largest communities, Bairro da Polana Caniço.

Our football program unites children coming from different disadvantaged neighbourhoods. These youngsters often grow up in an unstable environment, with very limited training and development opportunities. Our aim is to provide the youth with the opportunity to create a better future for themselves and their community by offering them professional football and life skills training. By using and stimulating football as a non-formal learning tool we create an impact on the lives of young people in three areas: economic empowerment; healthy lifestyles and security

The Favela United program provides football activities to children with an emphasis on community building, teamwork, fair play, non-competition, gender inclusion, youth leadership and sport skills.

Life is hard and opportunities are limited, even more so for children. Formal and long-term employment is very hard to come by and many people are forced to earn a living from whatever opportunity presents itself. Parents find it difficult to provide for their children and give them opportunities to flourish. Lack of education further limits their opportunities. In Polana Caniço many children grow up around (domestic) violence. To escape their problems, adults often seek refuge in alcohol or drugs, sending their kids to buy it for them. Children grow up too quickly but lack the guidance since they are left home alone by their parents. Malnutrition and low immune systems are the cause of many (chronic) health problems. Girls face even greater obstacles – the number of girls attending elementary school drops with each higher grade. Adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable due to early pregnancy and childbirth.[1] Children from the Bairro often suffer from marginalisation and stigmatisation due to their perceived inferiority within society.

Mozambique’s rapid economic growth over the past decades has had only a very moderate impact on poverty reduction. The latest UNDP report ranks Mozambique as the second lowest country on the Human Development index.[1] Shortage of food is an existing problem, and the poorest find it increasingly difficult to put food on the table for their families. The country has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the entire world and average life expectancy at birth is 50.3 years.[2]
Mozambique remains one of the poorest countries in the world and income distribution remains highly unequal. This contrast is particularly stark when traveling from the centre to the Bairros (the slums) in Maputo. People struggle to cover even their most basic needs, such as running water, proper sanitation and regular access to food. The current economic crisis has further exacerbated the situation. The Bairro of Polana Caniço is no exception but has been particularly affected by recent waves of crime.[3] Street gang robberies, drug gangs, female sexual assaults, and home and commercial burglaries have become frequent and violent crimes in the neighbourhood.[4]

[1] Human Development Index 2015; Mozambique ranks 180 out of 188 countries and territories.
[2] http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/mozambique/overview
[3] http://www.jornalnoticias.co.mz/index.php/opiniao/57971-criminalidade-na-polana-canico.html
[4] http://macua.blogs.com/moambique_para_todos/2013/04/polana-cani%C3%A7o-b-criminosos-semeiam-terror.html
[5] http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.6150457/k.2A7C/Mozambique.htm