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MUVA: female economic empowerment in Mozambique

MUVA is a programme that works to secure a brighter economic future for disadvantaged young women in urban Mozambique

Luize Guimaraes

Ligada, Luize Guimaraes

Webinar series: promoting women's economic empowerment. Click here for recordings

Despite impressive growth in recent years, over half of Mozambicans still live in poverty. Households headed by women are more likely to be among this number, with women’s exclusion from decent economic opportunities a major cause. Just 4% of the workforce are employed in the formal sector, and 19–24 year old females in Mozambique’s cities suffer the highest unemployment rates in the country.

It is this group of young, urban and largely economically excluded women that the MUVA programme (formerly known as Ligada) focuses on. We are leading a consortium to implement the programme, supporting the economic empowerment of adolescent girls and young women in several urban centres across Mozambique.


Recognising persistent barriers that limit access to decent work, MUVA develops innovative projects with local partners to build the skills that young women need to work, to develop the self-confidence and vision they need to pursue employment, and to create new job opportunities that match their aspirations and abilities. Our aim is to improve Mozambican women's recruitment and retention in secure, well-paid jobs, and to provide them with better access to markets.

We surveyed over 3,000 youth in two of Mozambique’s principal cities to inform our approaches to female economic empowerment and themes such as education, youth employment, and financial and digital inclusion.

Our team is working with a number of partners on the project, all with a specific focus on one of four interconnected workstreams. Each of these partners and workstreams will help the programme achieve its objectives and engender real change for young women in Mozambique. Elements of the programme include 'Strengthening Women's Access to Decent Labour', 'Supporting the Transition from School to Labour', and 'Increasing Women's Incomes in the Informal Sector'.


The programme is designed to identify, test, and disseminate approaches that decrease barriers to decent work for women in Mozambique.

After two cycles of implementation, MUVA’s approach to building women’s capacity by combining vocational training with soft skills training (such as team work and communication skills) has meant a noticeable increase in their employability. The evidence resulting from the approach has led to a number of requests by other organisations working in Mozambique for expanding and integrating the approach into several vocational training centres across the country. One of MUVA’s partners, the French NGO ESSOR, is working to replicate the approach in several other countries, including Guinea-Bissau, Chad, and Congo.

Read more about MUVA on the dedicated project website.

Explore our paper series, jointly written with the Institute of Development Studies: