CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

December 07, 2007 15:17 ET

The Government of Canada Supports the Work of the University of Victoria to Improve the Quality of Life of Mozambicans

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 7, 2007) - The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands, announced today, on behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, $1 million in funding to the University of Victoria, for a Southern Oceans Education and Development (SOED) project to promote and develop coastal underwater farming in Mozambique.

"Our support will allow the development of coastal underwater farming, helping Mozambicans to produce food for themselves and their communities," said Minister Oda. "Since Mozambique suffers frequent droughts, this project will provide much needed employment and increased food security."

"The Government of Canada is making a difference in the lives of the people of Mozambique and around the world," said Minister Lunn. "The people of British Columbia and all Canadians should be proud of the difference our academic experts are making in the world by sharing their knowledge and skills."

This project will bring together partners from the University of Victoria, the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Brazil) and Eduardo Mondlane University and the Ministry of Fisheries (Mozambique) in a way that contributes to Mozambique's food security. The Canadian International Development Agency supported a similar project in Brazil, which trained Brazilians in underwater farming technologies resulting in the enhanced ability of people to provide food for themselves and their community. To build on these development successes and share knowledge and skills, experts for this project will be coming to Mozambique from the University of Victoria and from Brazil.

"This partnership represents a transfer of development roles," observes Dr. Jack Littlepage of the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria, and a Co-director of SOED. "For more than a decade, the University of Victoria carried out aquaculture development projects in Brazil, and now we have the opportunity to work with Brazilian partners in university and government to bring to Mozambique the same kinds of benefits which flowed to coastal communities in Brazil: a secure food source, improved economic and social opportunities and above all an appreciation of the marine environment."

The program teaches Mozambicans the best ways to operate coastal underwater farming, and about the effects of pollution on shellfish and other marine life along the coast. With this understanding, the project participants will help change how the coastal environment is treated. As experienced in Brazil, farming done in an environmentally respectful way can rebalance the ecosystem and bring fish back into the area.

Not only does this initiative put more food production into the hands of ordinary Mozambicans - the best form of food security -but it also encourages the involvement of women, through workshops and women's cooperatives.

This support is provided through the Canadian International Development Agency under the University Partnerships in Cooperation and Development Program (UPCD), administered by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. For more information, please see the attached backgrounder.


BACKGROUNDER

THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA SUPPORTS THE WORK OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF MOZAMBICANS

Today, the Government of Canada provided funding of $1 million to the University of Victoria to conduct the Southern Oceans Education and Development project (SOED) in Mozambique. SOED will help communities in Mozambique to develop the skills and knowledge needed to expand aquaculture, drawing on a similar successful program previously conducted in Brazil and supported by the Canadian International Development Agency. Not only will this contribute to a more continuous supply of food for coastal communities, it is also an example of how innovative partnerships both emerge from, and contribute to, sustainable development.

Mozambique has demonstrated its commitment to eliminating poverty through economic reform and cooperation with donor nations. Despite its progress, Mozambique remains one of the world's poorest countries, with significant disparities in income and among regions and a pronounced inequality between men and women. The country has enviable natural resources, but drought and flooding threaten a steady supply of food.

To build on Canadian development successes in other countries, the University of Victoria is replicating in Mozambique a similar project that was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency in Brazil a few years ago. This project assisted in the reduction of poverty in artisan fishing communities of northeastern Brazil by providing training in underwater farming technologies. Brazilians who benefited from this training will partner with experts from the University of Victoria to assist in the training of Mozambicans.

The SOED project will bring together partners from the University of Victoria (Canada), the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Brazil) and Eduardo Mondlane University and the Ministry of Fisheries (Mozambique) in a way that contributes to Mozambique's food security. Through SOED, Brazil will deliver on its development assistance priorities by teaching educators from their own experience, helping the government build knowledge and policies to assist aquaculture and facilitating the development of programs at the community level.

The program teaches Mozambicans the best ways to operate coastal underwater farming, and about the effects of pollution on shellfish and other marine life along the coast. With this understanding, the project participants will help change how the coastal environment is treated. As experienced in Brazil, farming done in an environmentally respectful way can rebalance the ecosystem and bring fish back into the area.

Not only does SOED put more food production into the hands of ordinary Mozambicans - the best form of food security - but it also encourages the involvement of women, through workshops and women's cooperatives. Fishing is traditionally a male occupation in Mozambique, and can involve men being away for days at a time, often taking children with them. Aquaculture allows women to participate in activities close to land, so that children accompanying them can also continue with their education.

In addition, as part of the project, five Mozambicans are participating in a course at a modern shrimp-culture training facility at UFSC in Brazil. Other activities include improvements to the library and laboratory at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, and the development of a website - all aimed at sharing knowledge on aquaculture.

This project is funded through the Canadian International Development Agency under the University Partnerships in Cooperation and Development Program (UPCD), and administered by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Veronique Bruneau
    Press Secretary
    819-953-6238
    or
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534
    info@acdi-cida.gc.ca
    http://www.cida.gc.ca (electronic version of document)