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Despite being one of the world's fastest growing economies, with significant untapped coal and gas reserves, Mozambique continues to face high levels of poverty – the country's poverty rates are close to 55 %. For this reason, the UK government department, Department for International Development (DFID), with support from Irish Aid, has launched a national programme aiming at increasing the quality of health and education services in four different Mozambican provinces through promoting citizens' engagement and influence in the delivery of these services. Mozambique has made considerable progress in its health and education sectors thanks to strong expansion of access to e.g. hospitals and schools. There are, however, still considerable differences across the country and significant challenges in terms of quality of the services provided. The programme - and not least its success - is thus of great importance to millions of people. "CEP is in many ways a very interesting programme," says Consultancy Director in COWI Mozambique, Sandra de Castro Roque. "It strives to improve the quality of health and education services which are fundamental for poverty reduction and development in Mozambique, and it seeks to do so through producing innovative and creative solutions."
COWI, thanks to employees primarily specialised in the fields of economics, management and planning in the office in Maputo, is to make sure that citizens become aware of their rights and entitlements as a starting point for them to be able to engage in monitoring health and education services in their own country. For the implementation of CEP COWI will be managing the programme and leading a large consortium made up of Mozambican and international partners. The programme will be piloting initiatives for monitoring of services through for example the use of mobile phone-based technologies. In addition, it will seek to impact national policy through promoting new initiatives for knowledge management, dissemination and advocacy. Key beneficiaries of the project include women, men and children in the provinces where the programme is to be implemented. But also the government of Mozambique will be able to benefit from capacity building and information about quality of health and education services.