Planting seeds of knowledge, collecting smiles

Place: mozambique, Africa
Quantitative & qualitative enhancement of crop products Quantitative & qualitative enhancement of crop products
Total Budget: € 160.000,00 | Period: From July 2012 To


We foster improved food processing practices in the community, starting from O Viveiro centre for underprivileged girls. We train the community to improve the productivity of the soil via organic fertilizers and to process the crop, such as tomato, peanuts and sunflowers. We promote the respect of hygienic standards to preserve the products and the nutritional potential of each raw produce to guarantee resource sustainability. The products are locally traded and economically valued by a cooperative directly managed by members of the community. We trained them and their families to start producing pawpaw jam, peanuts cream, tomato sauce, sunflower oil and peanut oil. We taught 25 young girls to organise and manage the production and sale of agricultural products. We also support 86 children whose families joined the training program. In addition, we are engaging with primary and secondary schools in the district to expand our reach.


O Viveiro ONLUS - Italy

Lead applicant

O Viveiro ONLUS is a non-profit organization based in Italy since 2006, aiming at supporting the development of disadvantaged teenagers and youth. O Viveiro develops international projects to enhance bottom-up community development, favoring the personal and professional development of girls through education and vocational training. In the community where it operates, O Viveiro co-creates holistic solutions to foster local development by enhancing food security, health, education and entrepreneurship. Our international network afford us the opportunity to engage diverse partners and stakeholders, contirbuting to our project providing know-how, technology, finances, volunteers.

Holy Infancy Pontificial Mission - Italy

Initiative partner

Solidarity, support, sharing, development of children according to the teaching of Jesus Christ

The Nando Peretti Foundation - Italy

Initiative partner

The Nando Peretti Foundation provides grants to projects which fall into one of the following areas: Charity, Educational, Environmental conservation, Medical research, Construction, Cultural/Artistic. The categories "Campaigns" and "Historical Partners" include projects which are grouped according to various criteria.

Harambee Africa International Onlus - Italy

Initiative partner

We develop, deliver and support developmental project in Africa, focusing on education and health. We engage volunteers and raise awareness on pressing needs of the African continent through communication campaigns, report and an active blog.

"Città di Orvieto" Study Centre Foundation - Italy

Initiative partner

Agency for Executive Education

Bracco srl - Italy

Initiative partner

Private SMEs based in the north of Italy and already exporting their machinery to client worldwide. Focused on the production and mantainance of machinery and industrial plants processing edible oils.

Service for charity intervention to Developing Countries of Italian Bishop Confederation - Vatican City

Initiative partner

This entity delivers on the mandate received by the Italian Bishop Confederation of the Catholic Church to allocate funding to project in developing Countries

O Viveiro Tete - Mozambique

Initiative partner

O Viveiro Tete is the Mozambiquan non-profit organization running the activities around O VIveiro Centre for girls in Chitima, Mozambique. Since 2009, the Centre offers care and education to orphans and disadvantaged children and teenager girls from Cahora Bassa district, in Tete Province, north of Mozambique. Since its inception, O Viveiro Tete partners with the Italian not-for-profit O Viveiro Onlus based in Rome and other international organizations. The development of the Centre involves the entire community of Chitima and the neighbouring villages, attracting youth from disadvantaged communities. In the Centre they find learning opportunities in vocational training areas as well as a chance to engage in group and sport activities in a safe and protected environment. Through O Viveiro Centre, the NGO organizes capacity building training addressing issues of food security, food production and food processing for the community. The NGO facilitated the creation of a local cooperative to trade the produce of all the activities and foster the creation of micro-enterprises.


We focus on high-potential, technology-enabled innovation, driving social change. First, we analysed the ground, with the support of a certified laboratory in Italy, to identify the most appropriate area to grow sunflower seeds. Then we introduced agro-food machinery to process the extraction of oil, to produce edible oils; the waste is recycled into highly nutrient food for poultry. Due to this, the eating habits of the girls of our centre changed, enabling the change to spread to the whole community of the village. The collaborative approach and the knowledge learnt through experience are important components of our innovation. The imported machinery and the previously selected field allow for a scale of production that suits the needs of the community for consumption and trading. Men and women equally contribute to this process, though with different roles, fostering social cohesion and development.

Producing Oil with a smile We produced sunflower and peanuts oil with a mechanical machine that does not make use of solvents nor chemicals. The seeds enter a cone to be blended at 70°C and separate the solid material which will be used as protein rich food for animals, from the oily part. We then filter the oil with cotton fabric sourced locally and leave the oil to rest for one day. Rivaldo, the production manager, was trained in Italy by Bracco engineers, the supplier of the machine to use it and clean it properly.
Rosalinda treating the peanuts We grew peanuts on a surface of 1,5ha. Despite being a common culture, its produce is underutilised due to the lack of processing machineries to obtain oil. Peanut oil and peanut butter are usually produced for family self-consumption. However, the culture was good and quite effective. We dried the nuts in a closed environment to avoid it being contaminated by insects and mice. As Rosalinda, all our girls were involved in the production and enjoyed the learning experience, engaging their families in producing peanuts and processing it to produce oil at out Centre.
Sunflower Happiness We grew sunflowers on 2Ha, having planted them in November, right at the time of the first rain, after preparing the soil with the help of oxen plough. We used organic fertilizer and the infesting plants were removed with a manual hoe. The dry weather protected them from parasitics. After collection, we dried and stored the seeds protecting them from insects and mice. Sunflowers cultures had been abandoned for many years due to the lack of appropriate machinery for processing them.
Seeding Knowledge, Collecting Smiles O Viveiro empowers young girls through education and experiential learning. We build capacity of the Community in Chitima by introducing simple technology-enabled food processing techniques. We afford families with opportunities to generate incomes through our cooperative and supporting micro-enterprises trading natural food produces.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Seeding Knowledge, Collecting Smiles in a nutshel Our Program in a nutshel: Its context, our innovation, the results, our beneficiaries, our change makers and our communication channels

The harvest of sunflowers and peanuts was abandoned in this area due to the lack of mechanical machinery for processing the seeds. However, sunflower is a highly adaptable crop, ideal to growth in the dried environment of Chitima and the District of Cahora Bassa, made worse due to the dam and intensive deforestation. Sunflower proved to be more productive than mais, and peanuts grow extensively in Mozambique, but the government never invested on peanuts processing, hence repressing entrepreneurial attempts.
The growing influence of Chinese products on the local market is affecting purchasing and eating habits of rural communities. Currently, the population utilizes a great amount of so called “vegetable” oil, which is used for deep fry cooking or used at its jelly status. The food results impoverished and unhealthy, causing people stomach problems, headache and diarrea, which can lead to deadly consequences


Production and Kapaja Market in Chitima The city of Chitima grew along the road connecting to Tete, capital of the Province. The core of the city is the Kapaja market where all women sell fish ,eggs, vegetables and fruits, whilst small shops may sell also building and construction material and clothes. The market is the focal point for all the "chapas" (the local means of transport). The environment lacks the basic hygienic conditions as there is no waste collection service, water nor protection for the food from any type of dust, pollution, animal.
The community in Chitima area Several children are orphans due to HIV-AIDS, malaria or TBC and grow up with their relatives or grandparents. Family members survive of products obtained cultivating their small plots, that may be Kms away from where the family resides. Children suffer of malnutrition due to lack of food or due to the consumption of dangerous imported products (you may see mothers feeding their children with Coke or Fanta instead of breast-milk). Several men are affected by alcoholism. The community generally follows believes in traditional magic, preached by the leaders of the community, who are highly respected by all the families.
The water in Chitima - the Nsanangue river 20 km away from Chitima is located the biggest Southern African damn, Cahora Bassa. However, Chitima does not have a water management system yet, therefore the community gets water directly form wells or digging holes in the river Nsanangue. Different holes are rigged to wash dishes, wash clothes, drink. Nevertheless, animals use the same for all their needs, dangerously contaminating the water. Very few people have the means to create their well, which is a limiting factor to agricultural development, exposing the whole community to food scarcity.

The introduction of crop and food processing practices in the centre contributed to build capacity and transfer knowledge to the community. Our girls, the families and workers involved learned by doing, acquiring of the best practices for efficient production, preservation and processing agricultural products. We empower women, enhancing their entrepreneurial spirit: they can now sell the oil to the market and earn a mark-up. They now have the opportunity to attend training on microeconomics, management, accounting and the use of Microsoft Office software. Besides sunflowers, new vegetables were reintroduced to ensure the rotation of crops to keep the soil fertile and productive. From the vegetables produced we make tomato sauce, pawpaw jam, sunflower and peanut oil and other productions for the self-consumption of the centre, including baobab juice, peanuts butter (highly nutrient for early childhood nutrition)and fresh vegetable soups.

Collecting "fruits" of hard work: Tomatoes Different seeds were planted in the plot. Some of them were previously planted under the shadow and protected with straw before being planted in the field. An important phase of the training focused on how to realise the furrows on the ground to protect the plants and facilitate the flow of water. The vegetable garden served to feed the girls in the centre and to start small scale sale to the community. The youth and adults trained there are now starting their own small farming activity to provide food to their families and sell their products in the market.
Processing Vegetables: Tomato sauce In light of the extensive production obtained from our tomato plants, we started producing sauce to preserve for the hot and dried season (40-46 °C). The girls learnt to wash and slice the tomato before accommodating them in the glass vases with few basil leaves. We needed to import the vases from Italy. We trained the girls to wash them and boil them to sterilize. For additional precaution, we cook the sauce before storage.
Processing fruit jam Papaya grows all year long, whilst Mangoes mature between November and December. However, children rush to collect it from the trees, to beat the others and eat it first. Fruit jam is an innovative product in the local market, particularly if compared to the canned red coloured imported jam sold in shops. Preparing jams is very simple and allows to capitalize on the high quantity of fruit available. It is good to spread on the bread to eat for breakfast or at school, for sweets and biscuits.

We focused our intervention on the vulnerable groups of the community. Our first direct beneficiaries were the 20 girls hosted in our centre (12-17 years) and the other two girls we supported to attend University in Tete. We encourage them to spread their knowledge to their families, living in the surrounding communities, and we provide them with micro-finances to support their families, starting a similar process in their own village. Through our training we equipped 12 workers of OViveiro Centre  (17-35 years old) to become trainers in turn and spread their knoweldge to more members of the community. This mechanism allowed for the project to positively impact 15 families of six members each, on average, in Boroma area. With our educational and sport activities we engaged 150 children of the community (4-17 years) attending O Viveiro centre 3 afternoons a week. Thanks to the production of the Centre, they are given afternoon snacks, which may be their richest meal of the day.

Healthy playing, healthy eating Increasing food security by producing vegetables and fruits in our garden allowed for the development of sport activities to engage the youngest. We organise 3 training a week and competitions every Sunday afternoon, engaging 4 years old to teenagers, divided in different teams. At the end of each session we offer to everybody the snacks, that is their best chance to consume fruit. The favourite snack is bread with papaya or mango jam and baobab juice. Catering for over 300 children was a great motivation and incentive for our girls to specialise in producing jam, juice and bread on a big scale.
O Viveiro Family: workers and volunteers Several workers and volunteers from the community engaged in our project since its inception, contributing to it according to their skills and competencies. In addition, they took part in the training on agriculture techniques and food processing, which offered an advantage to the sustainability of their families. In the picture, the team is awaiting for the arrival of the wife of the Provincial Governor, who came to visit our centre to encourage the young girls and the women to continue their learning path at our centre.
Young testimonials: Our girls The first educational program directly addressed the girls hosted in our Centre since 2011. We offered them access to the public schools whilst supporting them in their studies and engaging them in different activities for their personal development into responsible and self-confident women. In the picture, they stand in front of the mill with the Director of the Centre, Dona Lucia Meque Muzuza. Since we started our activities, they have been the main promoters of our Centre to the community.

The project involves individuals with different backgrounds and origins. The Mozambican directors of O Viveiro Tete, Lúcia and Tomé, given their extensive experience in teaching and education, are responsible for the education of the youth, Rivaldo Cheva, director of pre and post-production, overlooks the whole process and coordinates the workers of the community. He is responsible for the machine oil, having attended an intensive training, in Italy by Bracco engineers. The project is coordinated by Emanuela Bonavolta, member of O Viveiro Onlus board. She has a background in architecture and a passion for project management. We capitalised on the valuable support of local workers and consultants. We focus on the young girls hosted in the centre, to inspire them, train them and support their development, allowing them to acquire practical skills and theoretical knowledge on food processing. This is a key area important to the development of the community.

Change Makers _ Rivaldo Cheva Rivaldo started as a worker, but his motivation and energy made him a leader, directing various activities. He currently looks after the production and post-production of food.
Change Makers_Santa Rosaria Gapito Santa is one of the girls who grew up in our Centre. She is elected Leader of the girls.
Change Makers_The Professionals From the left: Sultan Natha, Pedagogical Director of the Agriculture Faculty of The Catholic University of Cuamba; Cabral Dinis, Agronomist; Lùcia Meque Muzuza, Director of O Viveiro
Enablers of Change_The staff Our staff, supporting the activities of the centre. After having attended the training, they are now supporting the Directors to impart knowledge and competencies to other members of the community.

We built a water pump and an irrigation system for our crops, to support their growth despite the dry weather conditions. The lack of public transport forces workers (men and women) to move on small,,badly maintained private minibuses travelling without schedule, preventing the community to access larger markets. Due to this problem, we  started fundraising for a van which will be used for the distribution of our products on a regional scale. Low-quality, medium-cost imported products available in local shops, are considered substitutes to fresh natural products. Changing this perception required us to educate the community on the nutritional values of products. The civil war was one of the causes of a strong knowledge gap affecting intergenerational transfer of know-how, that schooling alone does not fill. To facilitate fundraising and gain legitimacy we registered “O Viveiro Tete”, lead by local experienced, accountable and reliable educators and project managers from the community.

Beyond Prejudices: women and agriculture Cultural beliefs prevented women to participate in the collecting fruit and vegetables from the garden. The effort of our agronomist promoted a change of mentality. Traditionally, women were involved in the process from preparing the ground, seeding, taking care of the plants but they could not collect the fruits as their supposed impurity may have caused the death of the plant. The care and the commitment of our girls, under the strict supervision of Mr. Cabral lead to an extensive harvest that contributed to changing mindset.
Language and Communication: Portuguese Classes Majority of rural population doesn't speak nor understand Portuguese, the official language. Therefore, it was key to promote language classes delivered by Prof. Dona Lucia Meque and other local trainers who could speak Portuguese and the local language, Ciniungwe. Further lessons revolved around basics of maths applied to agriculture, accounting and fractions of products; personal and food hygiene, ethics, work organisations and first aid.
Transport Introducing the small cart and the two donkeys who carry it spread great joy among the youth. It helped to simply and efficiently solve the problem of transporting agriculture products. We utilise it for internal movements of organic fertiliser to the field as well as loading it to transport our harvest to the market. We trained alo the two odes to pull it to transport heavier loads, as water tanks. One of the shepherd of our centre is in charge of the cart, and may rent it to local families to reach the market or to go to their plots.

The animal farm of the centre provides the organic fertilizer required to increase productivity of the soil for our crops, respecting the natural equilibrium. Given the nature of the farm, and the lack of alternative sources of income, we declined the option of utilizing a tractor; rather we invested in training the local families to farm their own small piece of land. To foster soil productivity, we focus on educating the community on “crop rotation” techniques, broaden the diversity of products that can be growth. We already start growing legumes (beans and peas) and fruits, while continuing to have chickens for eggs and goats for milk. Finally, since cereals grow on our land and all around it, we activated a mechanical mill that offers the community access to flour, to bake bread and to prepare other local dishes.

Livestock and eggs production Rosa, 15 years old, proudly shows one of the many eggs honeycomb collected everyday in the Centre from the goose production. The eggs are utilised to feed the youth in our Centre, as well as to produce biscuits and sweets. However, the majority of them is sold directly from the Centre. In fact, the demand for eggs is very high as the few local owners of chicken preferred to focus on grow animals to sell meat.
Oil Production The press for sunflower seeds and peanuts oil divides the oily components from the solid ones, which is used to feed animals. We use it to feed 200 egg-producing gooses of the Centre. We could even utilise it to feed the 50 goats and 30 cattle or rabbits. Therefore, the process does not produce any dangerous effect for the environment. The oil has feeding purposes. Afterwards it is collected to produce soaps (with the addition of caustic soda and flour).
Ploughing with oxen The soil was ploughed with the help of oxen, to limit the impact on the environment. Afterwards, we spread exclusively organic fertiliser. Even the process to eliminate infesting plants was conducted without any chemicals, only using hoes and rakes. Particularly, the so called “capim” was extirpated several times and mixed in the soil to increase its productivity. The need for organic fertiliser incentivises livestock. Working on the soil with traditional methods was a great example for the community that had lost hope in cultivating the soil without chemicals and tractor.

Our project aimed at replicability since the beginning, targeting the entire Tete Province. Therefore, we focused on transferring knowledge and experiences: they can be transferred but cannot be stolen. If the community needs to relocate on different lands, losing everything they built their life on, knowledge and experience would be their weapon to replicate and to build a sustainable future. Furthermore, we built capacity by providing technology to process the product and by enhancing best practices for food post-production technique, with the support of professionals and of an Italian agriculture research centre. We leveraged our institutional position to strengthen our relationship with the Catholic Dioceses of Tete and its network of missions, which allowed us to engage with local communities to create endogenous development. To do this, we engage with community leaders and we align our programs with their requests, resulting in win-win relations.

Education: "To Change my future" [1] Some of the girls of our centre, in the classroom where they attend training and do their homework to be empowered and equipped with the necessary skills to grow as independent women and become change agents in their community
Education: "To Change my future" [2] I can choose To change My future
Education: "To Change my future" [3] "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" N. Mandela

Communication strategy highlights the results and the impact achieved by O Viveiro projects in terms of food security, health and creating enterprises in the community. Our goal is to share and spread information over results with a low-cost campaign, targeting our numerous stakeholders, such as institutions, private sponsors, donors and volunteers. We aim at engaging more stakeholders who can support, and eventually finance, our projects, particularly those focused on primary needs as food security, food processing, health and education. Therefore, we capitalize on the web for a holistic collection of all our projects, approaching our audience with targeted campaigns. We have an international website (Madeinoviveiro.com) that serves also as an e-commerce platform, an Italian blog (oviveiro.org) collecting institutional communication and news, and social media channels on Youtube and Facebook. We are now focusing on creating institutional events and offline marketing material.

Made in O Viveiro www.madeinoviveiro.com Our website and e-commerce platform to promote our projects and products. Food products will be available soon, and distributed from Mozambique, South Africa and Italy.