Post-Cyclone Idai: Youth recovers his livelihood and helps affected communities to build stronger houses

Helder and other 155 local masons learned how to build back better through trainings and work opportunities on resilient construction, provided by UNDP Recovery Facility.

March 13, 2020

Hélder at the house he built during the UNDP trainings on community and resilience construction. Photo by UNDP/Brenda Hada

Before the 2019 cyclones in Mozambique, Hélder Felizardo Moisés, 26 years-old, had his family house by the coast of Beira city. After the disaster, he and the family moved to temporary shelters of the region, in schools and markets. Today, resettled in the Dondo District, he tries to rehabilitate the family income, which previously came from trade. “I decided to move here, because I could not find a job in the city after Cyclone Idai. Here I feel that my family is safer”, reports the father of two daughters.

Hélder's search for better job opportunities in the commercial area continued. In parallel, he joined the resilient and community construction working group in the settlement, established by UNDP under the Mozambique Recovery Facility – a five-year program in partnership with the Government of Mozambique, with support from multi-donors such as the European Union, Canada, China, India, Finland, the Netherlands and Norway.

Hélder and colleagues who attended UNDP trainings on community and resilience construction. Photo by UNDP/Brenda Hada

Through 30% theoretical and 70% practical classes, he learned about basic foundations of civil construction and, together with fellow carpenters, artisans and masons, he built his first model house. “I feel like everyone else. We are practicing the same activity and I am very happy for that”, says the young man who adapted the work routine. His physical disability in the legs  never stopped him from learning just as much as other colleagues in the community.

Adding the key mentoring of the NGO Young Africa, a UNDP implementation partner, the beneficiaries learned about disaster risk and sustainability aspects in order to build more resilient houses. Thereon, the model house gained fortified windows and a solar energy system.

Model house built by Hélder during skills trainings on resilient construction. Photo by UN Mozambique/Karel Prinsloo

Hélder gained the extra confidence and skills needed to work more seriously in the construction area. Together with other companions, he built the Community Prevention Center against Gender-based Violence in Mutua and rehabilitated private houses in neighboring districts. Now he earns a decent amount of money with his job. “I am capable of doing this job and it is satisfying to build homes for people. I know by doing so I will be supported back somehow”.

Furthering the impact of lessons learned, a group of 155 companions trained by UNDP are ready to join new construction projects. Hélder and other 20 people have been assigned to the construction of 40 houses in Chibabava District as the second phase of MRF program activities in the region. Such initiatives also count on the component of social inclusion to women and people with disabilities.

Hélder's greatest inspiration for now: Building new homes so that people become more resilient against future disasters, just like himself.

Hélder building a rural market in Chibabava District, funded by UNDP Recovery Facility. Photo by UNDP/ADEL Sofala