During my initial days here in Mozambique, while Bernardo was explaining me Hluvuku’s background and current position, he mentioned investments in a soccer team. Immediately I remembered all the NGOs that operate in Brazilian slums and their effort to promote sports (99% of the time soccer) and music. I though that soccer worked in Brazil because of the fame it has and because many star players come from those slums. I never actually imaged how far it could reach and how thoughtful this method could be.

Hluvuku is divided in 4 departments, as below. The 3 profitable ones are committed to give 10% of their monthly profits to Hluvuku’s social department.

-       Microfinance: offering microcredit and micro-leasing

-       Services: offering services to clients (such as tractors to help in their harvest)

-       Production: raising cattle and selling meat in the region at a lower cost

-       Social: promoting the soccer team of Bela Vista village and other community gatherings and traditional parties (below a picture of Hluvuku’s social center)

I must admit that my first reaction as a Brazilian girl used to having men talking all the time about soccer was to think that the choice of soccer was mainly because of Bernardo’s personal taste or because most of Hluvuku’s staff are men. Those might even be the true reasons, but it doesn’t matter!! Today I realized that soccer is an incredible way of promoting social and economic development, in any where in the world.

The Bela Vista team is already playing for a year now, and because of their great performance as beginners last year, they were given the chance to play Mozambican’s national second division championship this year. Yesterday a couple of representatives of this championship where here in Bela Vista checking the field’s conditions, as there will be a couple of games played here! More than an opportunity for a few young men to play and do something on their spare time, this will be an amazing opportunity for the village to grow and become known again.

Bela Vista used to be an important city before Mozambican civil war, if you get any map of Mozambique, it will always point Bela Vista just below Maputo. But the war simply destroyed it: almost all the brick houses where put down or abandoned and 16 years weren’t enough to rebuild it.

This simply choice of a soccer team was all but a personal or naïve choice. It will put Bela Vista back in the map. It will promote economic development through increase in people flow. It will help all Kiva borrowers that have grocery stores and will help local lodges to develop (today there is just 1 guest house with 4 rooms). It will also promote social development through the sense of one unit country, no more local tribes that have never been to each other villages.

The championship will begin in April. I already have a team to support! I will let you know how Hluvuku Futebol Clube goes!!


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