Maputo, Ferrovario (Neighborhood) Water Collection John Hogg

Maputo Municipality, the country’s national capital, is also the country’s largest urban centre and economic hub. The Municipality is organized into seven municipal districts and 63 neighbourhoodsoccupying around 300 km2, and offers a diversity of socioeconomic, demographic, cultural, religious and political characteristics.The neighbourhoodsin and around the city’s historical centre, including the city’s Downtown or Baixa, form what is often called “the cement city” and result from formal urban and social services planning. Most of the neighbourhoods around this central area are informal settlements and have lower levels of access to social services.

Most of the households living in the informal settlements have also lower levels of education, difficulties to access employment, low income and are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and economic crisis, such as the one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is in these informally planned neighbourhoods that most of the socially excluded and vulnerable population groups live. The level of violence to which women and girls are subject, in particular in informal settlements, is significant. According to the exploratory study on “The situation of violence against women and girls in the public spaces of Maputo City," in the 12 months previous to the study, 77 percent of girls and women in the city’s informal settlements had been subjected to psychological violence, 60 percent were subject to physical violence or harassment and 43 percent to sexual violence.  

Violence occurs on the streets, in public transport, parking lots, schools and pathways to/ around it, workplace, public toilets, water sources, alcohol stalls and leisure spaces. GBV, and the fear associated to it, seriously undermines women’s capacity to actively engage in the economic, social and political life of the city andpromotes poverty, inequality and social exclusion.

A Stakeholder Engagement Plan  prepared for the Urban Transformation of Maputo project of the Municipality of Maputo in 2017, nother that gender gaps or inequalities in the economic and political spheres are present throughout Maputo city and become more pronouced in  informal settlements where:

•Women are unaware of their right to participate in municipal planning processes, how to exercise their land rights and how planned activities or investments can impact women;

•Girls often drop out of school to help with housework, become pregnant or get married at a very young age;

•Women have higher illiteracy rates and are disproportionately present in the informal economy .

•Most women tend to have less time for income activities, as they care for their families and are active in their communities.

Social exclusion, gender inequalities and GBV form a vicious cycle: the less a girl or woman is positively included in social, economic,and politicallife, the more barriers of inequality she will face and more prone to GBV she will be. The more violence and inequalities she faces, the more excluded she will be. This, in the end, compromises the municipality’s sustainable growth and stability.

In light of this, the Municipality of Maputo has comissioned a Participatory Study on Social Exclusion, Gender Inequality and Gender Violence, and elaboration of Participatory Plans for Social Inclusion, Gender Equality and Combating Gender Violence to be undertaken in 20 Neighbourhoods in Informal Settlements and the Baixa of Maputo City.