SOLIDAR SUISSE: forming adept professionals in Mozambique
The Julius Baer Foundation collaborates with SOLIDAR SUISSE in the area of Vocational Training and supports the partner’s activities in Mozambique, a country which has been struck recently by cyclone Idai. Jorge Lampião, the project coordinator on site, gives insights into the work of the organisation in his homeland.
SOLIDAR SUISSE, established back in 1936, is committed to achieving a socially, politically and economically just society by giving disadvantaged people a chance through professional training. The charity’s programme in Mozambique facilitates access to basic and advanced training for more than 400 young adults in the professions of construction, metal working and farming. The cooperation with SOLIDAR SUISSE is fully in line with one of the three core areas of the Julius Baer Foundation, namely Vocational Training (for further information, please refer to the box at the end of this article).
SOLIDAR SUISSE supports typically local professions in Mozambique, a country located in South-eastern Africa. In the countryside, most of the activities are related to agriculture, Jorge Lampião explains, whereas in urban areas, trades such as carpentry, wood- and metalworking, but also accounting are taught.
As Mozambique is a predominantly rural country, more than 70% of the workforce is employed in agriculture. Thanks to SOLIDAR SUISSE’s programme, young people learn to improve their farming expertise as well as the quantity and quality of their produce. The newly trained professionals then go back to teach others in their villages and sometimes even become entrepreneurs, providing employment to others. Apart from feeding themselves and their families, they sell their improved products also in big cities such as Maputo, the capital, or Beira.
Poverty, lack of education and political tensions as challenges
As Mozambique is a very poor country, education levels are low and illiteracy rates very high: roughly 50% of the people cannot read or write, with women being particularly affected. It is often difficult to overcome cultural traditions and explain to people the importance of a good education. On top of that, the country suffered political turmoil, and there was a time when SOLIDAR SUISSE’s representatives could not even visit their projects due to security concerns.
Individual success stories the most beautiful reward
Despite the working conditions in a difficult environment, Jorge Lampião likes his job and is proud of the trainees’ success to which his organisation can contribute. He recalls many positive moments, but is particularly fond of a young woman, who underwent SOLIDAR SUISSE’s vocational training courses, finished first in her agricultural school and received a prize. “That made me very happy,” he says. The success story ended with the young graduate going back to her district and assisting a cooperative with her expertise.
Cyclone Idai severly hitting Mozambique
Mozambique was severely hit by cyclone Idai earlier this month. Jorge Lampião witnessed the storm in the coastal town of Beira: “I have never experienced such a force of nature in my life. The damage is immense.” That is why SOLIDAR SUISSE is making 100,000 francs available for emergency aid and collecting further donations, because the need is huge. In a first phase, the drinking water supply is to be restored and water disinfected so that no epidemics break out. Donations can be made on SOLIDAR SUISSE’s webpage (link below).
Vocational Training – one of the three core areas of the Julius Baer Foundation
Following its repositioning in 2016, the Julius Baer Foundation focuses on three core areas, one of which is Vocational Training. The Foundation is committed to providing guidance to underprivileged youths (aged 15-24) through solid educational programmes for them to become self-reliant and responsible adults securing their livelihood independently and shaping their own environment positively. After thorough evaluation of the above-mentioned project, the Julius Baer Foundation has decided to support Solidar Suisse between 2017 and 2020, as the organisation’s concept is fully in line with the Foundation’s goals.