Peace Clubs support families of ex-RENAMO combatants as they rejoin local communities.

May 7, 2021 – An important milestone in Mozambique’s peace process was reached today in Beira when members of the Government of Mozambique and the opposition political party, Renamo, joined with international partners and officials from Gorongosa National Park to launch a new ‘Peace Clubs’ initiative in the Gorongosa area.

The seeds of the Peace Clubs project were set in Gorongosa National Park in August 2019 when the Government of Mozambique and Renamo signed a peace agreement committing to a process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration for ex-combatants and their families.

Front row (from left to right): António Costa Moura (Ambassador of Portugal), Lourenço Bulha (Governor of Sofala), Stella Zeca (Secretary of State for Sofala), Pedro Muagura (Park Warden of GNP). Back row (from left to right): Mateus Meque (DDR focal point), Mualua Pais (Peace Secretariat), Artur Jaime (Renamo focal point) and Américo Boaze, Elisa Langa, Gil Mahara and Angelo Levi (all from GNP).

The peace agreement signed in Gorongosa National Park—by President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade—was the culmination of several years of negotiations and mediation efforts. Today, the Park is proud to support the ongoing disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration is a long and complex effort that requires liaison and cooperation between local government structures and the communities that will host ex-combatants and their families. The Gorongosa National Park team are well-positioned to assist with the process, thanks to over a decade of experience, knowledge, and relationships with local communities.

The new Peace Clubs are another important step in the peace-building process. The Peace Clubs will provide Literacy programs, as well as Children, Youth, and Adult Education programs. Eventually, ex-combatants and their families will participate in other services offered by Gorongosa National Park, especially in health care, agriculture, and sustainable development activities such as Gorongosa coffee, cashew, and honey production.

During the launch of the Peace Clubs on Friday in Beira, all participants—and in particular the Governor of Sofala Province, Lourenço Bulha and the Secretary of State in Sofala Province, Stella Zeca—highlighted the importance of the initiative so the reintegration process can be carried out successfully.

In his speech, the Ambassador of Portugal, António Costa Moura, expressed the commitment Portugal has for the new Clubs—to help contribute to a lasting peace in Mozambique. He also highlighted the ongoing partnership between Portugal and Gorongosa National Park. In the past, Portugal has provided support for the construction of the Park’s Community Education Center and Biodiversity Laboratory; helped fund the Park’s Master’s degree in Conservation Biology and the Gorongosa Coffee project; and offered opportunities for numerous Mozambican students to study in Portuguese universities.

About Camões – Cooperation and Language Institute

Camões, I. P., has the mission of proposing and implementing the Portuguese Cooperation Policy and coordinating the cooperation activities developed by other public entities that participate in the implementation of that policy.

Education, training and vocational training are widely recognized as one of the strengths of Portuguese Cooperation, fundamental for the development of human and social capital, for the reduction of poverty and for achieving sustainable development with multiplier effects in other areas of development.

About the Gorongosa Project

Gorongosa National Park (GNP) in Mozambique is perhaps Africa’s greatest wildlife restoration story. In 2008, a 20-year Public-Private Partnership was established for the joint management of GNP between the Government of Mozambique and the Carr Foundation (Gorongosa Restoration Project), a US nonprofit organization. In 2018, the Government of Mozambique signed an extension of the joint management agreement for another 25 years. By adopting a 21st Century conservation model of balancing the needs of wildlife and people, Gorongosa is protecting and saving this beautiful wilderness, returning it to its rightful placeas one of Africa’s greatest national parks. GNP has been described as one of the most diverse parks on Earth, covering a vast expanse of 400,000 hectares. In recent years, the GorongosaProject, with the support of Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas(ANAC), has ensured the protection of a recovering population of lions in this system, successfully reduced key threats, and has been recognized as one of National Geographic’s“Last Wild Places” and by TIME Magazine as one of the “World’s Greatest Places – 2019”.

If you would like to schedule an interview with those involved in the project, please call Vasco Galante at +258 822970010 (WhatsApp) or email vasco@gorongosa.net. For more general information, visit http://www.gorongosa.org. You may follow the daily activities of Gorongosa National Park here: https://www.facebook.com/gorongosa/.

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