Mozambique - Giving something back


Capulana sarongs, Mozambique © Mike SlaterBuying locally made handicrafts such as these colourful Capulana sarongs is an excellent way of contributing to the local economy © Mike Slater

Giving something back

With Janice Booth

Don’t lose sight of the fact that you contribute to a country’s economy simply by being there. Every time you travel by public transport, eat in a restaurant, buy a paper from a street vendor or give a few coins to a local guide you are providing a very real benefit to them and their families. But there are ways in which you can help more.

Some of the lodges have established development programmes – with the best of these the programmes would have been a major part of the original plan and will have evolved as the lodge developed. If this is something you’d like to encourage, then ask your lodge in advance about community programmes it is involved with. If you like what you hear then stay there, and if you don’t then try one of the other places listed.

After you’ve returned home, try to be an ambassador. Share your experiences, and keep in touch with the people you’ve met on your travels. Mozambique’s international image can be rather negative, and simply by talking about the country’s beauty and many other positive aspects you can help to dispel misconceptions. If you’ve enjoyed Mozambique and feel that you’d like to stay in touch with the country or to put something back into it, here are a few suggestions. If you ask around on the spot, you’ll certainly find others.

Mozambique’s international image can be rather negative, and simply by talking about the country’s beauty and many other positive aspects you can help to dispel misconceptions.

If you’d like to return as a volunteer and have some relevant skills, check out Voluntary Service Overseas. They also welcome donations, from small amounts up to the cost of maintaining a volunteer in a developing country. Also worth checking out is Travel People and Places and International Voluntary Service.

A way to volunteer without leaving home is via the Online Volunteering Service; it’s managed by the United Nations Volunteers Programme (UNV), which is the volunteer arm of the UN. Volunteers need reliable access to a computer and the internet, and some relevant skill or experience.

It’s sometimes hard to remember that the work of the massive international charities reaches down to benefit the poorest, and that they need our small donations. But it does, and they do. For making a general donation you could do far worse. Check which come closest to your interests. If it’s wildlife that appeals to you, then you’ll already know about the Worldwide Fund for Nature, which has a big presence in Mozambique and particularly in the Quirimba National Park. Below are some others.

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