Since the concept phase of the Action Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty
(PARPA), the Mozambican Government has been seeking the participation of,
and a dialogue with, Civil Society. The Poverty Observatory was created with the
intention of forging a platform for open debate between the government and civil
society вЂњas a vital instrument towards the betterment of governance in all its dimensions.
The free discussion of the populationвЂ™s problems may help the government towards
strengthening its policies, improving the provision of public services, improving the
administration, and clarifying the role of the State in a free societyвЂќ (Diogo 2002:11).
Arising out of the Poverty ObservatoryвЂ™s first panel, Civil Society was requested
to bring forward its analyses of the problems of poverty, in order to enhance the
debate so that, together, they could reflect on how to achieve more and in a better
way. It was in this context that the Poverty Annual Report first appeared. It was
meant as a Civil Society contribution to the second panel of the Poverty
As Civil Society organisations we find the openness of the Mozambican
Government towards the establishment of a continued debate praiseworthy; for
there is an inherent possibility that, together, we may analyse and seek the best
way towards reducing poverty, combating its causes, and finding mechanisms
which will lead to a fair and equitable distribution of the national wealth.
During the previous year, the various Civil Society organisations invited to
take part in the first panel of the Poverty Observatory - the G20 - met on various
occasions and collectively decided to elaborate a report. The objective of this report
was to convey the concerns of the various strata of society, as well as to gather the
suggestions of the various actors and concrete proposals for intervention. The
opinions of more than eight thousand people in 102 of the 146 rural and urban
districts of Mozambique were collected by members of religious denominations,
unionised workers, entrepreneurs registered in various associations, peasants
affiliated to countless associations, and people who belonged to Civil society
organisations. They held discussions among themselves in ten provincial seminars,
as well as at a national seminar, in order to produce this Annual Poverty Report.
Recent data provided by the Survey into Family Units regarding poverty
reduction from 1997 to 2003 show a movement of more than ten percentual points
(MPF 2004). This is an indication that there are opportunities for an ever increasing
joint involvement of Civil Society, the Government, and the business community
to face the great challenge of reducing poverty and combatting its causes.
The theme of the Annual Poverty Report of 2004 is the fight against the causes
of poverty, giving special emphasis to Civil Society participation in this fight and
to the presentation of a set of seven proposals of the G20, to the 2nd panel of the
Poverty Observatory. Chapter 1 outlines the route followed in the elaboration of
this report, emphasising the fact that its elaboration saw the participation of more
than 10 000 people and about 100 organisations of Mozambican Civil Society. It
also stresses that the survey which was carried out is an opinion survey, and that
the methodology used for the data survey does not allow for any extrapolation of
the information obtained for the national level. Nevertheless, the relevance of the
survey rests with the fact that it incorporated the voice of the common people,
integrated into a participation dynamic at provincial level. Therefore, it is not
meant to be seen as a confrontation with official figures, but rather as a contribution
that is rooted in the opinions of thousands of people.
Chapter 2, entitled вЂњthe poor as active actorsвЂќ, results from the answers to the
questionnaire about which concrete actions could be carried out by Civil Society
in the fight against the causes of poverty, as well as of the subsequent debate in
the provincial seminars. In the 3rd chapter the question of participation in the
monitoring and evaluation of poverty is tackled. At the same time, it emphasises the need to develop institutional mechanisms which may guarantee a broader
participation of the people and the various local level institutions of the country.
Chapter 4 concentrates on the perceptions of poverty by those interviewed. The
suggestion is made that, in Mozambique, the definition of poverty should be
reformulated on the basis of what has been collected and summarised at the provincial
and national seminars.
Chapter 5 covers the various dimensions of poverty, following the model of
the four analytical axes adopted by Agenda 2025. In summary form, it presents
what has been done by the Government and the opinions of the people who were
interviewed, regarding what can be improved upon in terms of Human Capital,
Social Capital, the Economy and Governance. Chapter 6 contains a set of seven
proposals from Civil Society for discussion with the Government during the 2nd
panel of the Poverty Observatory. And Chapter 7 contains a report on the results
which were achieved after the proposals were analysed and debated by the panel.