Strengthening locally-driven resilience to violent extremism in northern Mozambique.

2019 - 2022


Mozambique is undergoing multiple transitions. The global financial crisis disrupted twenty years of relative peace following a civil war, and ongoing corruption and governance challenges are compounded by the damage from 2019’s consecutive cyclones. Furthermore, since 2017, the Islamic State-Mozambique (IS-M) has committed attacks on communities in northern Mozambique. The severity, pace, and sophistication of violence steadily increased over subsequent years, sparking mass displacement and threatening long-term recovery and stability. COVID-19 further worsened the desperation experienced by the displaced and host communities—grievances exploited by IS-M. The Mozambican military’s attempts to halt the insurgency are often accompanied by allegations of human rights abuses, exacerbating distrust between government and citizens.


USAID/OTI partnered with local government, community leaders, and civil society organizations in northern Mozambique to strengthen locally driven resilience to violent extremism (VE). USAID/OTI coordinated closely with other U.S. Government actors as part of a larger response in northern Mozambique. The program worked to:

  • Enable vulnerable youth to resist VE influence more effectively; and

  • Increase positive engagement about community grievances between communities and the government.


  • USAID/OTI partnered with the Red Cross and health professionals in Mueda and Mocimboa da Praia to train volunteers in basic first aid techniques to help incoming IDPs. This partnership emerged in response to strained community resources and service delivery in Mueda district due to enduring insecurity and an influx of IDPs. Based on the success of this initial activity, USAID/OTI provided additional training and transportation stipends so that volunteers could reach IDPs in more remote areas of the district. Over the course of 34 trips, volunteers supported 1,169 IDPs with essential first aid, health referrals, and communications to help locate missing family and friends. This addressed a top community priority and helped restore the dignity of those affected by the conflict, building further resilience to IS-M influence. 
  • USAID/OTI created five fishing clubs for youth in Lúrio, where fishing is a traditional occupation but youth often lack the skills, equipment, and networks to enter the sector. Due to high demand, USAID/OTI scaled up the activity to involve additional youth, who have also added new income-generating activities on their own initiative. The resulting economic opportunities from the clubs also contributed to youth resilience against VE, because youth who hold a pessimistic outlook on their futures due to poor livelihood prospects are at greater risk of being recruited by IS-M.

OTI Mozambique Map