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Mulhovo, Hermenegildo, Class of 2009 Practicum Summary: Potential Determinants of Youth Violence in Maputo Neighborhoods

Despite the opening of governance to popular participation in Mozambique since the beginning of 2008 to the end of 2010, urban areas, especially the capital city, have been the stage of violent demonstrations and lynching practices by young populations. In his research, Hermenegildo aims to analyze the factors that influence the population from suburban neighborhoods of Maputo, Mozambique, in particular young people, to resort to violent and aggressive attitudes in solving their problems and claiming their rights, despite the increase in space for citizen participation in governance. To guide his study, Hermenegildo proposes a question, “What makes youth groups have a tendency to use direct violence as a way of expressing their voice, in spite of democratic institutions and channels created to assure citizens participation in local governance?” Through research, he discovers that there was an increase in poverty in Maputo during the past five years, characterized by the deterioration of living conditions of the urban population, an increased population, and the rising cost of basic services and products. His study also reveals that there is a severe limitation in current municipal programs regarding who the programs cover and how resources are allocated, which inhibit these programs from effectively combating poverty. Dependence on foreign capital and a restricted budget limit municipal programs from reaching their full potential, along with the failure to include citizens in the formulation of local development programs and public services. Hermenegildo concludes that youth groups are living in an environment where counter-satisfaction factors are dominant in creating an attitude geared toward violent practices and aggressiveness in solving their problems, which cannot be improved unless the local governments in peripheral areas are strengthened to bring legitimacy to its democratic institutions.