Cabo Delgado, Mozambique’s northernmost province, has enormous economic potential including natural gas reserves that could make it a leading natural gas exporter and a coastline attractive to tourism. Yet its 3.2 million residents are faced with high youth unemployment, poor access to education, especially for young women, and high rates of early marriage and gender-based violence. Since 2017, violent extremists have killed more than 1,500 people, destroyed villages and government facilities and caused ongoing insecurity for residents. In April 2019, Cyclone Kenneth compounded the situation by destroying housing, public infrastructure, and farmland. These dual crises have had a dramatic impact on the communities of Cabo Delgado, with the UN estimating that approximately 800,000 people have been forced to flee their homes over the past several years and almost 1 million people remain severely food insecure.


USAID Olipihana will work with the government, local organizations, and the private sector to restore education and livelihood opportunities for 12,000 residents of the Montepuez, Ancuabe and Balama districts of Cabo Delgado. The program will focus especially on youth, women and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and enhancing people’s resilience to future shocks. By working with local education institutions, such as Balama agricultural school and the Namanhumbir Professional Training Center, incorporating youth development and gender consideration best practices, the project will prevent the marginalization of vulnerable groups by offering skills training and economic opportunities to stabilize communities, stemming the tide of instability from spreading further south. The project will be implemented in close collaboration with provincial and district government authorities. 

USAID Olipihana will also tap into the ingenuity and knowledge of two underutilized local organizations- Unidade de Assistência Técnica de Alfabetização Funcional – Associação para o Fortalecimento Comunitário (UATAF)- which will provide financial literacy training and support the establishment of savings and credit groups (VSLAs) and Consultoria em Desenvolvimento Social (SCDS), which will lead the implementation of the program´s gender action plan and provide technical assistance on livelihoods restoration for IDPs. Olipihana will be implemented in close collaboration with private sector partner Plexus Mozambique LDA (PML), the largest agribusiness in Cabo Delgado which supports more than 75,000 smallholder farmers, to provide training and employment opportunities to youth, establish a new hub farm  where IDPs will be integrated into their production network, and support the establishment of a horticulture production scheme at the Chipembe dam to support food security initiatives in local communities and to supply local markets. 


Over three years, USAID Olipihana will directly support 12,000 people, restoring livelihoods, improving employability skills including literacy, and enhancing resilience to future shocks. The focus on women, youth and IDPs will increase their access to and ownership of resources; provide a path for leadership and upward mobility; and help IDPs integrate more smoothly into host communities. More specifically, the project will:

Strengthen economic pathways, particularly for youth

  • Through partnerships with private sector actors and local educational institutions, provide training and work experience opportunities that will build the soft and business skills that young people need to succeed in entrepreneurship and employment
  • Increase market-led production growth and access to markets
  • Strengthen rural enterprises and expand access to goods and services
  • Increase access to and ownership of resources for women, youth and IDPs

Support recovery from natural disasters

  • Diversify on- and off-farm income generating opportunities
  • Increase use of climate-smart agriculture practices
  • Improve financial literacy and household income management practices
  • Increase access to and use of safety nets and risk mitigation tools
  • Increase upward mobility and recognition as leaders of women, youth and IDPs

Improve information dissemination

  • Improve quality of information disseminated through community radio
  • Increase access to SMS market, price, product, and services information to improve product quality and trade (including early-warning information)