Bristol Link with Beira

Beira Room in Bristol's City Hall

Bristol City Council has renamed 7 of its meeting rooms in City Hall after its twin cities including Beira, with the support of Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol who confirmed “I fully endorse the Friendship Agreement between Bristol and Beira, and support Bristol Link with Beira and its charity in their endeavours to increase awareness of urban issues in both our cities. I also aim to contribute to practical proposals for Commonwealth cities, including Beira, to work with national governments to put in place governance and finance to be more resilient to climate change.” The President of the Municipal Council of Beira responded: “We have learned that you have paid homage to our beautiful city of Beira, giving its name to a room in your municipal building. We feel very honoured by this great recognition by a municipality with which we have very strong friendship ties over many years. Finally, on behalf of the Municipal Council of Beira and Mayor Albano Carige Antonio in particular, we would like to thank you for this huge gesture”.

With the financial support of the Guild of Guardians, we have installed five panels in the room.

Beira’s green urban park was completed in 2023. The largest in Southern Africa, it includes flood plains and mangrove planting to alleviate the effects of flooding, and provides recreational areas.

Beira is a low-lying coastal city in Mozambique. It is one of the world’s most at-risk cities for climate disasters: vulnerability to cyclones has worsened due to climate change.

A holistic approach to flood risk in Beira, combining engineering and nature, has reduced the impact of previously annual flooding.

The Chiveve park creates environmental benefits by lowering temperatures, supporting biodiversity, and promoting cleaner air, while also retaining water and providing a public space for social and cultural activities. It has created employment opportunities, and established an area conducive for business in the city centre.

This is part of the city’s strategy of resilience, acknowledging that due to climate change, Beira is now in a ‘cyclone corridor’.

The networks and capacity built by the adaptation process have supported the development of a comprehensive disaster response plan following Cyclone Idai, and lessons are being shared with other cities with similar risk profiles in the region. For more information in this article from the LSE  

Bristol Link with Beira supports Amai Mussananhi (Women helping Women) committed to the cause of disadvantaged women and children.  Amai operates a pre-school for orphans and vulnerable children.

Amai Mussananhi (Women helping Women) is largely run by volunteers, committed to the cause of vulnerable women and children, in the context of a high incidence of HIV/AIDS.  Amai trains women for income generating projects, and operates a free pre-school for orphans and vulnerable children.  Additional fee-paying places make it more sustainable. BLB helped purchase buildings including a classroom which Amai to let out and provide income for activities. BLB have funded training for staff and volunteers, purchase of admin equipment, as well as activities for the children.

After Cyclone Idai in 2019, the classroom was destroyed and Amai lost rental income rental. Within 6 months, BLB funded building repairs were complete.  During Covid, BLB crowdfunded for sewing machines and materials to make facemasks at Amai.  More recently BLB have provided funds for catering equipment and to train the women to improve school meals.

“We thank the BLB partnership for the rehabilitation of the association’s house, the preschool food program, the sewing machines and masks. We are grateful that the people who serve us at ADEL Sofala treat us very well!” Luisa Zenebo, Director of Amai.

 

Bristol Link with Beira supports Matacuane Primary School with building repairs, equipment and teacher training. The staff, in their white coats produced a video on YouTube voicing their appreciation.

Matacuane Primary School operates in three shifts, to maximise use of the buildings. 40 teachers are responsible for 2,470 school students and 230 adult learners. The school was severely damaged by Cyclone Idai in 2019.  Whilst the school occupied UNICEF tents, BLB arranged funds for emergency repairs and installed a water drinking station.  The building was finally rehabilitated in 2022 by UNDP, and BLB provided staff room furniture, equipment and teacher training in ICT.

BLB’s facilitates links between schools in Bristol and Beira, for students to learn about their peers in another part of the world.  The British Council funded an exchange visit for teachers from Bristol and Beira, to explore teaching methods and learn from each other. Schools in Bristol have raised funds for equipment to respond to requests from schools in Beira.  BLB has brought Mozambican musicians, storytellers, and dancers to Bristol schools.

This latest project [ITC teacher training] was a dream on our agenda. Our attitudes have changed. The teachers can now format and upload their own grades which frees up the Pedagogical Department who had to deal with it previously”. EPCM School Director.

ADEL Sofala is BLB’s NGO partner in Beira. ADEL’s mission is to contribute to social and sustainable economic development. They have facilitated women’s literacy classes using finance obtained by BLB.

ADEL focusses on poverty reduction, social and gender equity, and environmental protection; whilst strengthening partnerships to ensure community participation and commitment. ADEL identify community needs for BLB projects, particularly for AMAI Mussananhi (Women helping Women), Matacuane Primary School and AJOMAC youth group. BLB applies for funding in the UK, and ADEL facilitates the projects in Beira. 

ADEL also provide a Monitoring and Evaluation service on projects implemented for BLB by other organisations, such as: ADS Women and Girls projects, and Casa de Cultura Social Protection projects. ADEL also facilitates Bristol students on BLB placements, as well as BLB representatives whilst visiting Beira.

”The financial support from BLB is helping change the lives of teachers, pupils and communities in the city of Beira, through their kind donations and fundraising efforts, for projects that positively impact the lives of the most vulnerable children, youth, women and men in Beira. Thank you BLB partnership.” Moses Kakanu, ADEL Programmes Coordinator

Capulana Patches – this unique piece was designed and created in Bristol, drawing inspiration from the beautiful patterns and vibrant colours of fabrics used in Beira, Mozambique and across Africa.

This work was produced by Lorna Hayles of Colourful Shadez in Bristol to highlight the historic and ongoing positive relationship between Beira and Bristol. It was unveiled on Beira’s “Dia da Cidade” on 20th August 2023.

In Beira, these African cloths are known as ‘capulanas’ and are used mainly by women, everyday as an overall or as a baby carrier; and on special occasions with matching accessories. They are used daily, either individually as a wrap or throw, or made up into clothing and other household items. Capulanas tell stories, mark moments in history and political events and are a symbol of belonging in Mozambique. The patterns on the capulana symbolise the beauty of Africa, with each one having its own meaning. 

The use of multiple patterns and colours across one canvas is intended to create an immediate visual impact and encourage engagement. A further intention is to symbolise how multiple individual components can be brought together as one in a joyful representation of African art and culture. In line with her personal values, Lorna hopes to influence further thinking in relation to difference and togetherness, particularly the need to celebrate togetherness whenever and wherever it is found and promote unity among difference today and in the future.