A Learning and Knowledge Platform for Civil Society in Mozambique 

Challenge: Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) lack the resources, expertise, and cohesion to provide services to Mozambicans in need

AKF sees an effective civil society as key to improving the overall quality of life. The need for a strong civil society is especially true in developing countries, where public and private services and systems often lack the resources and ability to reach all citizens, leaving the most vulnerable behind.

In Mozambique, with approximately 50% of the population in poverty and a gender equality rank of 123/130 countries, the government recognises that CSOs are a major resource in the country, particularly in providing key interventions in health, education, housing, access to drinking water, employment, advocacy, and many others. CSOs play a key role in advocating for and delivering services, as well as ensuring access to information and knowledge about people’s rights.

In order to deliver services to those in need, especially the most vulnerable, CSOs must be effective and sustainable. However, major resource constraints in Mozambique, including a lack of reliable, long-term international funding, has led to instability for CSOs that threatens their ability to reach people in a timely and effective way.  

Due to the need to compete to raise funds, as well as many other challenges, Mozambican CSOs have mainly operated in isolation from each other. This means they lose out on the benefits of collaboration – such as innovation, a strengthened position for fundraising, and mutual learning – and remain limited in their scale and thus the ability to be recognised nationally as reliable, trust-worthy, go-to sources of development.  

Response: improve stability and effectiveness of CSOs by providing new ways to learn, connect, and collaborate

AKF began implementing the first phase of Juntosin 2014, with the support of La Caixa FoundationThe initial purpose was to enable CSOs to access, create and deliver cost-effective and engaging training courses to help them address gaps in knowledge and build their skills. This is done primarily through a blended learning approach, which incorporates electronic and online media as well as traditional face-to-face teaching, as this helps to sustain this type of training far into the future. 

Beginning with eight local CSO partners, Juntos! has steadily grown in both size and scope to include 27 partners and a wider mandate to: 

  • Increase the effectiveness and sustainability of Mozambican civil society when responding to challenges through collaboration amongst partners; 
  • Increase public trust and confidence in Mozambican CSOs; 
  • Become known at the national level as an innovative platform for learning; 
  • Act as a knowledge sharing platform for Mozambican civil society and community members. 

Juntos! represents the development sector’s move towards locally-driven projects and solutions in action. Partners on the ground drive the vision, mission, and activities of the platform; decide what their training and skills-building priorities are; and write and film their own blended learning courses that are tailored to local contexts and cultures. 

Through its 27 partners, Juntos! reaches target groups across the country: those in remote areas, women and girls, small businesses and farmers, etc, and works across many sectors, such as access to information, health, child welfare, education,  

Juntos! - in pictures

Key Juntos! achievements to date

  • Over 20,000 Mozambicans have been directly reached through trainings, events on key issues, and humanitarian aid in response to cyclone Idai. 
  • Over 5,000,000 have benefited indirectly through CSO partners strengthened by the project. 
  • Juntos! partners collaborated to provide 2,000 emergency kits to 10,000 cyclone Idai survivors.  
  • 27 CSOs have seen key improvements in their organisations, helping them better serve their communities.  
  • 20 localised blended learning courses have been created and used to build the capacity and sustainability of Mozambican CSOs, associations, and other community-oriented organisations. These include courses on Malaria prevention, early childhood development, health & hygiene, fundraising, financial management, facilitation, etc. 
  • Local CSOs are collaborating more than ever, enabling increased reach, efficiency, and the generation of new and innovative ideas to better serve the community. 

Lessons learnt

Although Juntos! is still in progress, key lessons have emerged: 

  • The value of Blended Learning courses – Blended Learning involves two components to complete a course: a) watching a set of videos intended to raise awareness and interest, inform, and illustrate situations on a given topic; b) face-to-face session(s) led to by a trainer with a group of trainees. This methodology has been key to sustainability, as the video courses can be used thousands of times at no extra cost, with limited face-to-face sessions required. It can also facilitate communication and collaboration, help build tech skills, and incorporate diverse teaching and learning approaches.  
  • Promoting local ownership and sustainability– given the many pressing demands faced by under-resourced CSOs, for trainings to take priority they must be seen as highly relevant and meeting immediate organisational and beneficiary needs. Juntos! asked partners to develop ideas for video courses that could be used in ongoing projects and could represent their work to donors as well. Partners are able to use their courses in projects funded by other donors and to share with other partners. They feel a strong sense of ownership over the content.
  • Localisation is key all blended learning courses are tailored to Mozambique, and sub-groups within it. While some courses were first made by AKF, these have been recreated using local talking heads and examples. Courses designed and created locally are highly relevant to everyday Mozambicans and the daily challenges they face. This increases the effectiveness of the courses.

Related articles, stories, and factsheets