How Jesuits in Southern Africa are Empowering Youth in Mozambique Following Cyclone Idai

Credit: Beyond Cyclone Idai

Members of the Southern Africa Province (SAP) of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) have been reaching out to the youth in a Mozambican Province following the  Cyclone Idai, one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa, that ravaged parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in March 2019.

In an interview with ACI Africa, the Director of the Harare-based Jesuit Social Justice and Development Centre, Silveira House, explained how Jesuits of the SAP are empowering the youth in Mozambique’s Sofala Province through an initiative dubbed: Beyond Cyclone Idai.

“Jesuits in Africa initiated various projects including technical and vocational skills training for the youth as part of the post disaster reconstruction projects,” Fr. Anold Moyo said during the July 22 interview.

Fr. Moyo added, “In Mozambique, the project has been focusing on the construction of infrastructure, focusing on schools and community centers, as well as technical skills training and economic empowerment for the youth.”

The Zimbabwean-born Jesuit Priest said that the primary objective of the two-year project that is being realized in the Province covered by the Catholic Archdiocese of Beira is to “provide access to a good learning environment by reconstructing facilities such as community training centers and schools.”


“The second objective is the economic empowerment of young people, the rebuilding of livelihoods,” Fr. Moyo said in reference to the Beyond Cyclone Idai, the initiative of Jesuits of the SAP that is “meant to build resilience of young people to such future shocks”.

The focus of the project in Beira has been to provide the youth “with skills that will enable them to be able to engage in various activities, where they could position themselves to be employed, or to initiate their own micro enterprises through these skills,” he said.

Sofala Province that is headquartered in the Mozambican city of Beira was one of the worst affected areas by Cyclone Idai as entire villages were reportedly wiped out in the rural areas, crops destroyed, and over 90% of the infrastructure damaged.

In the July 22 interview, the Director of Silveira House said that the training of “100 youth that will graduate in August” under the Beyond Cyclone Idai initiative has been realized in partnership with “Young Africa”, an institution that offers training to the youth in Beira.

“We identified vulnerable youths from needy families within Beira and offered workshops where they were given the opportunity to choose from the available courses, and they made choices as to what skills they would like to be trained in,” Fr. Moyo said.

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He said that “the most common courses that they are being trained in are motor mechanics, refrigeration that is to fix refrigerators and air conditioners, sewing and dressmaking, bakery, food processing as well as electrical installation.”

“These are some of the courses that the youth are being trained on, as well as basic business management and entrepreneurship so that they're able to run their own micro businesses,” the Jesuit Priest said.

After the August graduation, graduates will receive “start-up kits so that they can then start practicing,” Fr. Moyo told ACI Africa, and added, “We hope that by empowering these youths economically, they will be able to support themselves and their families.”

Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.