Baby Safety Dangers and Wants in Cabo Delgado (December 2020) – Mozambique



The assessment aims to provide a body of evidence on the risks and needs of shelter and child protection (CP) in Cabo Delgado to support humanitarian planning and advocate for increased resources to address and mitigate the risks.


The humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado deteriorated rapidly in the first six months of 2020 due to the increase in violent attacks and insecurity, resulting in a significant increase in displacements across the province and, consequently, an increase in protection risks for the most vulnerable People – including – both the displaced and those who have remained in unsafe areas.

According to the DTM basic evaluation (December 2020), the current situation led to the displacement of 669,256 people, of whom 607,100 were internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Cabo Delgado, 59,960 internally displaced persons in Nampula, 1,084 in Zambezia, 978 in Niassa, and 134 in Sofala. The number of internally displaced persons has more than tripled since April 2020 when an estimated 172,186 internally displaced persons were identified in Cabo Delgado province.


The assessment was developed with the help of the Global Child Protection Area of ​​Responsibility and the Global DTM Senior Data Quality Expert using the Needs Identification and Analysis Framework (NIAF) approach. The NIAF respects the Protection Information Management (PIM) process and has been adopted by the Global Protection Cluster and Global GBV AoR. The NIAF describes the technical and coordination steps required to determine the need for child protection for strategic decision-making and outlines how proxy indicator data can be analyzed to interpret CP risk (rather than insufficient data without ethical considerations to collect reported sensitive topics). More information about the NIAF can be found on the CPAoR website.

24 CP specialists at the provincial and district level, NGO / INGO and UN employees were interviewed either in person or by telephone with the help of semi-structured interview guidelines with open questions. Single- or multiple-choice questionnaires were used to interview 1,337 heads of internally displaced HH and 111 KI, including local authorities, village and neighborhood chiefs, and other relevant stakeholders in 11 districts (and 84 locations) of northern Cabo Delgado province to be interviewed in Mozambique: Ancuabe, Balama, Chiure, Ibo, Mecufi, Metuge, Montepuez, Mueda,
Namuno, Nangade and Pemba. District prioritization was based mainly on accessibility and the number of internally displaced people. 6 districts were not included in this assessment because they were considered inaccessible at the time of the assessment due to uncertainty: Macomia, Meluco, Mocimboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Palma and Quissanga. It was possible to get qualitative information in the form of telephone interviews from CP specialists KI for Mocimboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Palma and Quissanga.


The predominant concerns of displaced HHs about the health and safety of children are access to food (88% of households), access to medicines (52%), education (42%) and health care (33%). The main needs of internally displaced persons expressed by AI are as follows: Access to food was the highest priority (92% of places), followed by shelter (88%), drinking water (31%), NFI (23%) and health, hygiene and Hygiene (19%). This shows that the immediate concerns are mostly about survival and education, rather than direct child protection risks such as violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation. However, it can also signal that there is a lack of awareness of CP risks for children or that these risks are underestimated compared to what is understood as “immediate survival needs”.

The CP specialists surveyed named segregation, sexual abuse and violence, child trafficking, sexual exploitation and child labor as the highest risks for child protection, followed by physical abuse and violence, neglect, early unions and lack of documentation. Existing main concerns and violations of the CP have intensified or are endangered by displacement.

Displaced children, especially children with disabilities and children under 10, are generally at increased risk of CP violations compared to children from host communities. However, there is a potential for increased risk of all forms of violence and crime to the children of the host community due to the influx of people and subsequent population growth in the communities and scarcity of resources. Teenage girls are most vulnerable to sexual exploitation and early unions.

According to KI, most of the unaccompanied minors are in Montepuez, followed by Pemba and Ancuabe. Most separated children live in Montepuez, followed by Ancuabe and Nangade.

Most of the breakups were unintentional / not planned.
Children at greatest risk of separation are children under the age of 10 and children with disabilities. The separation has increased the risk of other CP violations, including child labor, human trafficking, and physical and sexual abuse and exploitation.

While children would contribute to household chores and chores before the emergency, they seem increasingly engaged in household chores and small informal business to support the family and meet basic needs. CP specialists have raised concerns about the increasing number of children, especially boys, involved in street sales.

There is a lack of data on child trafficking, but several CP specialists agreed that there is anecdotal evidence of human trafficking and that the risk of child trafficking has increased, especially for displaced, unaccompanied and separated children, teenage girls and children with albinism . The dire situation, the lack of food and the scarcity of basic services as well as the insecurity can lead parents or children to accept offers for children to work outside the home.

No data are available on child recruitment by non-state armed groups, but CP specialists for Quissanga, Ibo and Mocimboa de Praia counties mentioned this problem as a serious risk and provided anecdotal evidence.
CP specialists in Pemba, Ancuabe, Quissanga, Montepuez, Muidumbe, Palma Ibo and Nangade mentioned the risk of sexual exploitation in the form of transactional sex for food and money as a coping mechanism for displaced families. A CP specialist in Pemba was particularly concerned about transactional sex for humanitarian aid.

Adolescent girls and younger children, as well as girls with intellectual disabilities, are most at risk of sexual abuse. Long walks to get water and firewood increase the risk for women, girls and boys from sexual abuse, as well as other CP violations, including kidnapping and human trafficking. Sexual abuse can lead to early unions, with the tendency, as CP Specialists pointed out, for families to agree that the perpetrator will marry the girl if he pays the parents a “fine”. This practice is also used to save family honor.

CP specialists have expressed concerns that displacement could exacerbate neglect and abuse. Younger children can be left alone in shelters when parents are in search of income-generating activities, trying to fetch food and water, exposing the children to the potential dangers of violence by strangers.

Many households (HH) have one or more children with one or more disabilities. Based on the interviews with displaced households, it is estimated that 32% (428) of households have at least one child with a disability3.
A total of 721 cases of disability were found among these 428 households, which is at least 10-12% of all children. Walking and hearing were the most common impairments, followed by learning, speaking, and sight.
In addition, it is estimated that 3% of households have a child with albinism. Children with disabilities are particularly at risk during displacement due to mobility, communication and hiring barriers, more vulnerable to neglect, stigma and abuse, and harm if left unassisted as they may not be able to fend for themselves to flee from danger or to defend oneself in the event of attempted violence, as well as encounter barriers in reporting violations. Girls with intellectual and hearing impairments in particular were cited as being at increased risk for sexual abuse. In addition, children with disabilities can find it difficult or impossible to access food, water, sanitation, and basic health services.

Interviews with heads of household confirm that children in their households are affected by psychological problems and stress. All households surveyed stated that a child / children in their household has at least 1 stress symptom, and household managers reported that children suffer from headaches (41%), have withdrawn from family and friends (37%), cry excessively ( 28%), are slightly frightened (23%), have changes in appetite or eating habits (21%), new or recurring fears (16%), upset stomach (15%) and nightmares or sleep disorders (12%).

The limited presence of CP and social services or their current inactivity due to the crisis may have created significant gaps. According to KIs, the largest gap is in the provision of mental health and mental health services, with only 13 out of 111 locations (12%) having access to these services. Despite the high number of unaccompanied and unaccompanied minors, there are only 26 locations (23%) where there are services to identify these children and only 28 locations (25%). The provision of case management services is better in 47 places (42%), social workers in 50 places (45%), legal aid in 52 places (47%), and health care in 54 places (49%) but persists in more than not available in half of the towns surveyed. CP experts agree that the CP services are insufficient and that all services are currently overwhelmed. In general, services and local resources are limited and may not cover the local population as well as all internally displaced persons.

There are few specialized services for children with disabilities. Children with disabilities use the same services as other children, but face many challenges, including difficulties in accessing services and communicating their needs. In general, there is a lack of special training in working with children with disabilities. In addition, there is a lack of access to medical aids and specialized services from government sources / health services.

Housing is available to most internally displaced persons, but gaps remain.

According to local AI, none of the IDPs sleep outdoors in 62 locations, while “some” IDPs sleep outdoors in 22 locations, around half of IDPs sleep outdoors in 18 locations, “most” in 8 locations and all in one location. From KI’s demographic data, the number of internally displaced persons sleeping outside or in shelters is roughly estimated at 115,314 internally displaced persons (or 63% of the child population), which is therefore based on the type of shelter.

In 43 localities, where around 23% of internally displaced children currently live, the footpaths for displaced HH to get drinking water are longer than 500 meters. This poses a potential threat to women and children, especially girls, who, according to the AI, fetch water in 99, 28 and 13 locations respectively.

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