In 2007, Mozambique was one of the first HALO programmes to employ female deminers. Since 2012, HALO Mozambique’s 91 female staff have held both operational and support roles, serving with distinction in a range of senior positions. Here are three stories from some of HALO’s female team in Mozambique.
Cecilia Tomas Macandza
When Cecilia first heard about a vacancy with HALO in 2007, she immediately applied and was hired to work at HALO’s headquarters in Maputo. She has always loved working with numbers and dreamed of becoming an accountant. Using her HALO wages to pay tuition fees while also supporting her mother, sister, and extended family, Cecilia began evening courses in accountancy. In 2012, after the 18-month course, she became the accountant for the HALO Maputo office. Two years later, Cecilia moved with the HALO headquarters to Chimoio where she now works as the Assistant Finance and Administration Officer for the entire programme. She hopes to further her studies in accountancy and audits at university. Following her HALO career, she sees herself working as an accountant in a large corporation.
Flora Manuel Flora joined HALO in March 2013 as a deminer. She was rapidly promoted to Paramedic Deminer and then to Section Commander, a role in which she acted as a mentor and role model for other female employees. Flora and her team were responsible for clearance at the Beira Power line and the Mozambique/Zimbabwe border minefields. These are projects which have delivered significant positive impact on both the economic situation and personal security of local populations. In 2015, Flora’s manual section was demobilised and she was given the opportunity to re-skill, attend training as a demining machine operator and join a mechanical team. She then became an operator of an armoured Hitachi excavator on the Dondo bridges and viaducts in Sofala province. These minefields represent some of the most challenging that HALO has worked on in recent years. Flora is a single parent and the primary supporter of three young children and her elderly mother.
"I am more empowered in making decisions about family life because I can plan ahead and know that money will come in. If you are willing to work hard, then you can get a job with someone like HALO and make a life for yourself."
Rosalina Rosario Rosalina was formerly employed as a HALO Paramedic-Deminer at the Mozambique/Zimbabwe border minefields. When the clearance work was completed, her team was demobilised. She benefited from HALO’s demobilisation programme which offers two month’s salary and a redundancy provision, plus training in other skills. Employees are offered the opportunity to attend courses run by the Instituto Nacional de Emprego E Forma ão Profissional (INEFP), a government subsidized vocational training institute with centres across the country. Courses range from auto mechanical repair to small business ownership or tourism and hospitality. Rosalina chose to study tailoring, learning how to operate and maintain sewing machines, as well as design and produce a range of clothing. When she can afford a sewing machine, she hopes to open her own tailoring shop. For now, she continues to hone her skills with other tailors in the local town.
Knowledge and skills
"I am thankful for the training course that HALO provided as I now have the knowledge, skills and opportunity to do something that I could never have done before."