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Coping with the risks of conflict, climate and internal displacement in northern Mozambique: ‘We can’t just sit here with our arms crossed’

Case/country studies

Written by Caitlin Sturridge, João Feijó, Nelson Tivane

Image credit:Jessica Rennoldson Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

This case study focuses on Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique, where nearly one million people have been displaced from their homes, with most now living informally alongside local residents.

While the upheaval of conflict, climate and displacement is often paralysing, it can also drive the need to re-establish lives and livelihoods that have been turned upside down. This research finds that many Mozambican internally displaced persons (IDPs) are doing just this. They are rebuilding and diversifying their livelihoods across farming, fishing, artisanal mining, charcoal production, trading, small business, odd jobs and humanitarian assistance. While IDPs can therefore be agents in shaping their lives in displacement, many of these strategies are nevertheless short term and risky, characterised by a lack of choice and alternatives and a sense of having to do anything to survive. Under these circumstances, IDPs in Cabo Delgado are generally getting by, rather than getting ahead.

This paper is part of a two-year, multi-country research project that seeks to build evidence and raise awareness of the myriad ways in which urban IDPs respond to climate change, conflict and displacement.