Theatre as a listening channel in Mozambique

ALC participates in the United Nations stabilization program for northern Mozambique. This collaboration aims to reinforce the community perspective of the initiatives to be developed. 

Since 2017, the province of Cabo Delgado, in the northern region of Mozambique, has been plagued by violent attacks by non-state armed groups. This situation has forced massive displacement and further aggravated the situation of vulnerability faced by the population, especially young people and women.

In response to this crisis, UNDP initiated stabilization interventions in 2021 to assist the Government of Mozambique in its efforts to re-establish state presence in the recovered areas, paving the way for reconstruction and the subsequent safe return of the people who have been forced to leave their homes, and who wish to return safely to their families.


To ensure greater understanding and participation of people, we chose theater as a listening channel. The presentation was performed by young local actors and activists from Pemba. This was the way found to explain the ethnographic profiles or Personas in an inclusive and interactive manner. We ensured that linguistic diversity was included and the community could participate actively. In the session, the Personas, with their corresponding challenges, opportunities, and metanarrative (key idea), were presented  through the characters during the theater performance. At the same time, this allowed participants to give feedback. In order to facilitate the discussion. these following guiding questions were asked: 


●      What do you think about the profiles and their content? Why?

●      Do you agree? Do you recognize these patterns? Why?

●      What are we missing? Why?

●      Who else should we talk to? Why?

●      Are you familiar with any initiative addressing these challenges and opportunities?

In Mocímboa da Praia there were around 60 people from the community who had recently returned to the village, as well as three government representatives (Vereador do Conselho Municipal;  substitute of the permanent secretary (director of health, women and social action) and the  SDPI). In Macomía there were around 50 people from the Napulubo neighbourhood and four representatives of the government: the permanent secretary, infrastructure director, education director and neighborhood secretary.


All challenges and opportunities have been validated and many more have been added. There was a big participation in both communities. It was unquestionable that listening channels such as this one are extremely necessary as it allows people to express their frustrations, but also their wishes and identified opportunities. However, in a situation of total lack of basic services, infrastructure, lack of work, among others, identifying possible solutions and areas of opportunity was not easy: 


"We are sick people, and the sick don't tell the doctor what they need, they accept what it gives them. If we ask, we will ask for everything, because we have nothing. If one doesn't have a boat, the other doesn't have a net. "

Sensemaking session in Pemba

The sensemaking session in Pemba was held at the UNDP office on the 24th November. It was attended by around 25 people from non-governmental organizations, representatives of the government, other UN agencies, and members of civil society: ADIN (Agência de Desenvolvimento Integrado do Norte), DPIC (Direcção Provincial de Indústria e Comércio), WFP, CESAL, OIM, Ukhavihera, Amuavano Resiliente, el J, Associação Coaliza, Kuendeleya, Azul, Progresso, IFPELAC, UNHCR, Coalizão, UNDP Maputo, OIKOS. 


The ethnographic profiles or Personas were presented and the participants were able to validate the challenges and opportunities but also add their own perspective and missing points. In addition, participants discussed key challenges and opportunities regarding the existing initiatives and governance in terms of the stabilization and reconstruction of Cabo Delgado.