Breaking gender and disability stereotypes - Emergency Smile in Mozambique

05.July 2024

In November 2023, RED NOSES International's Emergency Smile programme undertook a three-week project in Mozambique in collaboration with Light for the World, aimed at breaking down gender norms and disability stereotypes.

In a collaborative effort to promote social change through art and humour, RED NOSES International’s Emergency Smile programme partnered with Light for the World’s InPower programme for a three-week initiative in Mozambique. Funded by the Austrian Development Agency, this joint initiative aimed to address gender and disability stereotypes while providing psychosocial support to rural communities.

The project, based in Sofala Province, involved a series of artistic activities designed to empower local residents, especially girls and people with disabilities. Through Clown Shows, Circus Smile workshops, and Humour Relief Workshops, our RED NOSES clown artists fostered a joyful environment that nurtured confidence and facilitated learning.

Collaborating closely with local organisations such as the Mozambican Association of People with Disabilities (ADEMO), Friends of Life Association (AMAVIDA), Mozambican community-based rehabilitation organization (OREBACOM), ESMABAMA Association and the Kuphedzana  Assocation, the initiative aimed to create inclusive environments at homes, schools, and communities. By leveraging humour and artistic expression, our RED NOSES artists facilitated meaningful interactions that challenged stereotypes and promoted gender equality.

The journey took our team from bustling urban centres like Beira to remote villages in Buzi and Gorongosa, where they encountered some logistical challenges but adapted creatively to ensure their impact remained uninterrupted. Despite facing illness among team members, our team persevered in their efforts, underscoring the commitment to sustainable change and community engagement.

© RED NOSES International Office - Craig Russell

The excellent collaboration with Light for the World and local community based organisations not only enhanced the effectiveness of our interventions but also facilitated cultural exchange and mutual learning.

Looking forward, we plan to continue our partnership with Light for the World, building on the successes of this initiative. Our goal remains steadfast: to use laughter as a tool for empowerment and social transformation in communities around the world.