Research-based information is recognised as crucial for Mozambique's endeavours to reduce its poverty. This first report in a series of three qualitative studies on poverty in Mozambique focuses on the district of Murrupula in Nampula province. In Chapter 1 we argue that qualitative studies are important for the monitoring and evaluation of poverty reduction policies. They inform quantitative data and correlations by testing causal hypotheses on the ground. They discover processes and interdependencies related to non-tangible dimensions of poverty such as vulnerability and powerlessness. They test and reassess central concepts and units of poverty analysis. Finally, they involve the poor themselves in the analysis of their own situation in ways that are difficult with formal questionnaire surveys.

In Chapter 2 we present central quantitative expressions of poverty in Mozambique as points of reference. We start by outlining some of the broad development trends, including urbanisation, feminisation of poverty and HIV/AIDS, and then analyse data on Mozambique and Nampula to highlight similarities and differences. Chapter 3 provides a background profile of the area under study, predicated on the assumption that the political, economic and sociocultural context is important for understanding social relations of poverty. A brief history emphasising how Murrupula was constrained in its development through the late colonial era, the Frelimo socialist experiment and the war leads into an outline of the responsibilities of the District Administration, the role of traditional authorities, and the overall social and economic situation in the district.

Chapter 4 is built around the survey undertaken for this study, and outlines socioeconomic conditions and determinants of poverty with a focus on employment and income, education and health. It also looks at the implications of geographical space, especially distance from the main economic and population centres, for poverty and poverty alleviation. Chapter 5 focuses on the issue of social relations of poverty, and processes of impoverishment, marginalisation and social exclusion. Its point of departure is people's own emic perceptions of poverty, examining relationships between different categories of the poor within the household and the extended family, traditional institutions and the state. Chapter 6 concludes, drawing some preliminary policy implications and outlining the planned follow-up of the current study in urban Maputo and coastal Sofala respectively.