Mueda Town Square, site of the 1960 massacre Gordon Wall (CC BY 3.0)

The onset of terrorist attacks in northern Cabo Delgado led to the destruction of economic activities and public services, killing thousands, unleashing hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and posing a challenge to humanitarian aid. The ongoing military stabilisation raises expectations for the return of displaced people to their place of origin, and the challenge of socio-economic reintegration of populations, but also of resilience, social cohesion and peace.

Research objective

The main objective of the research is – in addition to contributing to the academic debate on Mozambique and in the region – to provide inputs to better understand the causes of the conflict in Cabo Delgado province, with a view to promoting economic reconstruction, social cohesion and violence prevention. Specifically, the project has the following objectives:

  • Identification of the causes and driving forces of the conflict, considering gender, economic, religious and generational aspects
  • Understanding the impact of the conflict, in economic and social terms, and to analyse survival strategies used by the population;
  • Analysis of IDPs’ return to their places of origin, measuring social and economic reintegration of the most vulnerable groups.

With this analysis, the project members intend to publish academic articles as well as to organise debates that contribute to public policy making (Government of Mozambique, ADIN, development agencies and non-governmental organizations, embassies, United Nations, NGOs) towards the definition of effective development strategies contributing to a more sustainable society.


The analysis will focus on areas with the highest concentration of internally displaced people, with particular attention being paid to Cabo Delgado province (with a focus on the city of Pemba, and the districts of Metuge, Chiúre, Ancuabe, Montepuez and Mueda), but also on Nampula and Niassa. Carried out with knowledge and in close collaboration with local authorities, the methodology aims to focus on:

  • Interviews with displaced people, individually or in discussion groups;
  • Observation of social dynamics in IDP centres, markets and residential areas, etc.;
  • Analysis of cultural productions (writing, music, dance) that serve to understand the different interpretations of the conflict, but also mechanisms for the population's response to hostile situations
  • Observation of the extractive industries in the region

Research institutions and team of researchers:

Based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (Norway), the research project is carried out in collaboration with four other research institutions, in cooperation:

  • University of Bergen (Norway)
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Norway)
  • University of the Western Cape (South Africa)
  • Observatory of the Rural Areas (Mozambique)

The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway ( ).