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The first three in a series of six qualitative and participatory studies on poverty and well-being in Mozambique have revealed that there are positive developments in terms of the macro-economic context and in the social sectors of education and health. However, the continued dearth of employment and income in rural as well as urban areas makes it difficult to transform these advances into real poverty reduction. There are also worrying signs of local processes of social marginalisation and exclusion, following from the increasing commodification of social relationships. To achieve the goals of the PARPA, particular efforts will have to be made by the government and donors to reach the very poorest.