For our third the service learning day our group International Development visited another NGO: Coalizão. We were really well received and knew we would have a great and an enlightening day. We visited the Aeroporto neighbourhood, the Adeline market and Coalizão’s main office. It was really an effective learning experience for us all, as we became aware of the problems our community faces and how NGO’s are finding solutions to these problems.
We began the service learning day by visiting the Aeroporto neighbourhood; there we met with the “activists” from the Coalizão NGO. We visited two houses with them; there they explained their role in the Neighbourhood. When they visit these households, they aim to inform women aged 15-49 about family planning and sexual reproductive health as well as providing them with the means to access contraceptives. The activists fill out a “formulario” or slip for each woman they talk to, the slip contains information about the women and helps speed up processes at the hospital. We met a 15-year-old girl with a 7-month old baby, the girl told us she didn’t plan on going back to school. This was quite unbelievable for us.
After visiting the two households we went to the Adeline Market, where we were informed about Mobbiz. Mobbiz is a service provided by Coalizão, which gives people access to free contraceptives at any pharmacy. Mobbiz works in the following way, the Coalizão workers also known as activist approach people and talk to them about various health issues, later on they give the person a card that contains a code which that person must then send to the Mobbiz number 91013, by doing this the person is then registered to the service, he also has the possibility of sending SMS with any questions about the sexual reproductive health to the Mobbiz number.
Once the activists finished presenting Mobbiz, we walked through the Adeline market to a vegetable stand, behind it stood women who had received a help of 5000 Meticais from Coalizão in order to start up her own business. The woman was also a regular to a “safe support group”, a group for women to get together and discuss freely the issues they are facing. They meet once a week, and these meetings are led by a spectacular woman, she is strong and uplifting and is able to give advice to the younger and less experienced women of the community.
The last part of our Service Learning consisted of going to the Coalizão office where we got a valuable insight into the functioning of their digital services. At the office, they re-highlighted their goal, as well as how they are advancing towards it. They stressed that Coalizão focuses on educating about sexual reproductive health.
In conclusion experiencing issues related to the local populace of Maputo, first hand and in the field was eye opening in the sense that, usually we only view the situation from a numbers’ point of view, but being in the field, gave these numbers a name, a face, and story. It was inspiring and reassuring to see that there was help provided. We were tasked with a mission by one of the Coalizão workers, he asked us to spread the word, and make more people register to Mobbiz. He further explained that registration can be done by sending the term “juntar” to 92222!
We are eager for our next service learning day!
International Development Service Learning Team