Disability Rights in Mozambique
NIDS/MSC, Shia and Annika Nilsson
This brief aims at providing Sida country teams with brief information on the situation of
persons with disabilities in Mozambique as well as concrete advice on how disability issues
can be included in dialogue and programming. This follows the Sida 3-year Action Plan on
―Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities‖ adopted in December 2009. The brief covers
legislative provisions, UN recommendations, on-going initiatives and important stakeholders.
In Mozambique, there are no reliable data on the number of persons living with a disability. In
the data collection from 2007, III RGPH - III Recenseamento Geral da Populacão e
Habitacão, it was calculated that approximately 500,000 persons were living with a disability.
Using the WHO estimation that 10% of the world population is living with a disability would
probably be more accurate and would give a figure of 2 millions PWD. INE—National
Statistics Institute, an independent branch of the MPD—Ministry of Planning and
Development, has no specific funding to collect information regarding disability. This is one of
the reasons why the situation of persons with disabilities is not well reflected in any statistics.
Mozambique was one of the first countries to sign the UNCRPD in 2007, but has not yet
ratified the Convention or the Optional Protocol. Click here to see disability rights related
human rights recommendations, from the African Union and United Nations
National legislation and policies
The constitution refers to PWDs and states that PWDs shall fully enjoy the rights enshrined
in the Constitution. The following plans and policies have been adopted
The PNAD—National Plan of Action on Disability 2006-2010 which has established a
system of rehabilitation, medical and family support services for PWD. Another Action
Plan for the improvement of socio-economic assistance for PWD during the same
period has been put into implementation.
The Plan of Action for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children. The MMAS has defined 12
groups of children as vulnerable and in need of protection and support of which CWD
is one. Apart from providing access to basic services, the capacity strengthening of
families in order to respond to the needs of vulnerable children is also seen as
important. The government policy promotes CBR—Community Based Rehabilitation,
rather than institutional care. In 2008, the country's first CBR programme was started
in cooperation with Light For The World in Beira. From 2010 the programme will serve
as a model to be replicated in other regions.
The law does not mandate access to buildings for persons with disabilities, but the
Ministry of Public Works and Habitation is working to ensure that public buildings in
Maputo city provides access to persons with disabilities.
Electoral law provides for the needs of voters with disabilities in the polling booths.
At national level, the MMAS—Ministry for Women and Social Action—has the responsibility
to coordinate and monitor the implementation of policies for PWD. The INAS—National
Institute of Social Action is a branch of the MMAS that implements the Ministry’s activities for
all vulnerable groups countrywide.
All Ministries have been given the responsibility to develop their own guidelines and activities
according to PNAD, however only a few, as the MMAS, the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry
of Education have taken this work seriously. This is mainly due to the lack of knowledge and
consciousness among staff and the lack of financial resources. Another problem existing is
the incoherent coordination between the various government departments. As a result very
few programmes have been implemented. Discrimination is common in employment,
education, access to health care, and the provision of other state services. The country's only
psychiatric hospital is overwhelmed with patients and lacks the means to guarantee basic
nutrition, medicine, or shelter. Doctors at the hospital also reported that many families
abandoned members with disabilities. Veterans with disabilities are not receiving pensions.
The Government has established a Human Rights Commission (2009) and is working on the
legislation and the Human Rights Plan of Action to guide it (late 2010). The proposed priority
areas for the plan include access to water, food, sanitation, education and healthcare,
strengthening of civil society, addressing cases of torture and violence by law enforcement
agencies, corruption in the judiciary, the rights of prisoners and detainees, alternative
sentencing, and outstanding ratifications of international human rights instruments.
The education level for persons with disabilities is very low, especially in the rural areas.
According to a report made by the Secretariat of the African Decade in 2007, it was
estimated that 80% of children with disabilities are out of school, although education is free
and compulsory. The National Education Policy foresees the possibility of children with minor
disabilities attending regular schools and children with more severe disabilities attending
special schools. The obligation of the National Education System to guarantee educational
opportunity to all persons with disabilities and the duties of the Ministry of Education in this
respect are reconfirmed in the Policy for Persons with Disabilities.
Mozambique has 5 schools for special education to serve the whole country. In the review of
the 2007 plan for social and economic development, the Ministry of Education and Culture
estimated that 62,357 children with disabilities attended school—mostly in regular school
Inclusive education was introduced in Mozambique almost ten years ago, but the lack of
specialised teachers and the lack of accessible and pedagogical material is still a problem. In
2007, inclusive education strategies and approaches were integrated into the new initial
teacher training models for primary education. Three Regional Resource Centres for PWD
have been established in Tete, Nampula and Gaza since 2007.
Mozambique is ranked as having the tenth highest HIV prevalence in the world. Latest data
shows a dramatically worsening epidemic. HIV prevalence among adults has steadily
increased over the years from 8.2% in 1998 to 11.5% in 2009, and Mozambique is the only
country in the Southern African region in which HIV incidence is increasing. PWD have not
been included into HIV/AIDS prevention programmes at all. The lack of knowledge on why
and how to include PWD is a major obstacle.
The 3rd National Aids Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS 2010-2014 was launched during 2009
and included the participation of a wide range of stakeholders. Sexual and reproductive
health and rights of PWD are equally a neglected area and need to be addressed in national
MISAU—Ministry of Health is responsible for the design and implementation of policies that
enable PWD to access health care, rehabilitation, aids and appliances. Rehabilitation
services fall under the ambit of the SMFR—Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
department—responsible for the provincial rehabilitation centres. In many cases these are
inaccessible to the country’s dispersed rural population.
Poverty Reduction Strategy
Mozambique continues to show a generally strong economic performance. Largely
unaffected by the global crisis, real GDP growth remains buoyant, with strong activity across
all sectors. Rising costs of living led to violent street riots by the urban poor in early
This prompted the authorities to adopt emergency relief measures to restore social peace. In
light of the events and the results of the recent household survey that indicated lack of
progress in reducing poverty, they also decided to use the drafting of the new poverty
reduction strategy to assess options to make economic growth more inclusive and
strengthen social safety nets.
Although PWD are representing the poorest of the country, there is no adequate inclusion of
disability specification in strategies and programs. Disability in general is mentioned in the
policies, but in a general and theoretical way. The PARPA III—Plano de Acção para o
Aumento da Produção e Produtividade 2010-2015— which was adopted in October 2010
does not specifically mention targets for PWD although DPOs have participated actively in
the strategy process with support of the Global Partnership for Disability and Development
Since 2006 the government has tried to stimulate local development initiatives by
establishing regional funds. This has developed into a possibility for vulnerable, poor people,
to apply for funding/loans. However, in reality most PWD have not had any chance to take
advantage of this opportunity as they are stigmatized by doubts on their capacity to make
profitable business and thus refund the loan.
The Civil Society
Most of the civil society organisations, including DPOs, have existed less than 20 years and
are still weak and highly dependent on donor support. The G20 is a national CSO platform
organisation, comprising more than 20 NGOs. G20 was founded in order to facilitate the
participation of the civil society in the development process, implementation and monitoring
of the PRS. One of the members is FAMOD—the Forum of the Mozambican Associations for
the Disabled—an umbrella organisation composed by 17 associations of/and for PWD.
FAMOD has not yet got a strong structure and is heavily dependent on donor financing.
There are a number of INGOs present in Mozambique that interacts with some of the DPOs.
In 2008 a study was made by Norwegian SINTEF on living conditions of persons with
disabilities in Mozambique. GPDD has supported capacity building in connection with the
monitoring of the poverty reduction strategy. Other supporters are Helvetas, Switzerland,
Handicap International (supporting a Disability and HIV/AIDS mainstreaming program in
Maputo, Sofala and Manica). There is also FIDIDA and KEPA—Service Centre for
Development Cooperation a Finnish NGO platform which has been an important partner for
FAMOD and other DPOs in Mozambique. KEPA has played an important role in the
formulation of the National Disability Policy and in the promotion of Human Rights of PWD.
APOSEMO – Mozambican Association of the Retired has been appointed by the MMAS to
represent all vulnerable groups in Mozambique.
In the reviews of Swedens’s development cooperation, make sure a disability dimension
has been included in TORs for situation analyses, evaluations etc. and include at least
one disability related indicator in the country strategy results matrix.
Establish contacts and ongoing dialogue with key actors in the area of disability, including
male and female representatives from FAMOD, INGOs and MMAS, INAS, to receive
updated information on the situation of PWD, considering that disability data is scarce.
Raise the rights of women and men with disabilities in dialogue with the government, in
particular in the areas of reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, education, gender based
violence and social protection. Encourage and facilitate the establishment of a disability
desk in the new Human Rights Commission, possibly as an exchange program with
Monitor existing disability indicators closely and propose the inclusion of additional
disability indicators (relating to public expenditure targeting PWD or the poverty,
economical and social situation of PWD),
Promote the participation of DPOs in consultation meetings with PAP, ministries and local
authorities. Meetings must be made accessible (providing sign language interpretation,
accessible meeting areas etc). Representations should consider the diversity of
disabilities, and ensure women’s participation.
Promote research and surveys that can assist institutional authorities to assess the
situation of PWD (such as the INAS).
Monitor efforts in education, especially completion rates for girls and boys with
disabilities, teacher training in special needs education, provision of accessible
materials/pedagogy (Braille, sign language interpretation etc), accessibility of schools
(ramps, accessible sanitation, transport, accessible boarding etc) and parental attitudes.
Request that HIV/AIDS and SRHR programs funded by Sida and its partners have well
developed strategies on how to include PWD and earmarked funding for making services
and information accessible, in particular to ensure that deaf and intellectually disabled
women and girls are reached and included.
As part of its efforts to strengthen civil society, Sida could include support to capacity
building of DPOs in awareness raising, advocacy, policy formulation, monitoring, budget
tracking and evaluation.
Promote capacity development that strengthens the court system to become more
accessible to PWD (court staff trained in accessible communication, accessible materials,
interpretation services, free legal aid etc), in order for PWD to have access to fair justice.
Promote opportunities for PWD to gain access to different agricultural programmes. PWD
sometimes need special technology, skills and accessible information. Furthermore,
PWD may need extra support in the form of training, equipment, access to credits and
most importantly access to land, by lease or other means.
Embassy/Sida capacity building
In order for staff to feel comfortable discussion and promoting disability issues it is also
recommended that trainings are organised for staff on disability rights. Local DPOs could
be engaged as experts and resource persons.
Sida: Our work in Mozambique
Swedish Foreign Ministry: Country Strategy for Mozambique 2008-2012
GPDD, Rogério Manjate, Maputo 2009
Including people with disabilities in poverty reduction and socioeconomic growth and
Sintef report, Arne Eidi and Yusman Kamaleri, 2009
Living Conditions for Persons With Disabilities in Mozambique
The Secretariat of the African Decade on Persons with Disabilities, 2007
Mozambique Education Report—Disability, Education and Health Care: From Policy to
The Government of Mozambique, 2010
Report on the Millenium Development Goals
The Government of Mozambique
PARPA II 2006-2009
PARPA III 2010-2014
DDP—Disability and Development Partners, 2008
Disability and HIV/AIDS in Mozambique
Mozambique Childhood Poverty.
Light For the World