Ending the water, sanitation and hygiene crisis in Mozambique together.
Where did we work?
Our project in Niassa, Mozambique, aimed to increase equitable and sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services for 59,000 people in 12 communities in the districts of Cuamba and Mecanhelas. Before we began work, communities’ access to WASH services in these districts had been considered very poor. In Cuamba, just 53% of the 265,000 residents had access to clean water and 24% to decent sanitation. In Mecanhelas, the most populous district in Niassa, just 36% of the 370,000 residents had access to clean water and 24% to decent sanitation. Across both districts, this lack of WASH deprived people in many communities of dignity and left them unable to reach their potential.
What did we do?
The project adopted an holistic approach, involving: provision and good management of WASH infrastructure, hygiene behaviour change, promotion of rights to WASH services and improved governance. Its core components included:
- Constructing or rehabilitating WASH infrastructure to benefit communities, schools and healthcare facilities, observing the quality standards set by the Government of Mozambique.
- Promoting healthy hygiene behaviours in communities, schools and health centres, in coordination with the health sector at national, provincial and district levels. This included developing hygiene behaviour change promotional materials, based on a study of barriers to behaviour change.
- Empowering civil society organisations (CSOs) and local communities on WASH rights through: training, public debates, policy dissemination and promotion of district platforms involving actors in the WASH sector, and disseminating messages through community radio.
- Strengthening advocacy, planning and coordination in the WASH sector at district level through setting up multi-sectoral forums, promoting multi-sectoral planning with WASH sector actors, and supporting CSOs to participate in the platforms for adoption of WASH policies, in addition to supporting local governments to analyse water quality.
The project also aimed to contribute to an ambitious Mozambican Government programme to increase sanitation facilities and double rural access to safe drinking water by 2019, and was aligned with the National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme, known as ‘PRONASAR’ (2017–30), under the National Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation.
What did we achieve?
The project changed the lives of more than 68,000 people across Cuamba and Mecanhelas. As a result of the project:
- School absenteeism has reduced
- Prevalence of waterborne diseases has reduced
- CSOs and local communities are empowered to demand their rights to WASH
- The capacities of WASH sector actors at district levels have been strengthened and quarterly WASH forum meetings established
- Ten water supply systems were constructed (seven in Cuamba, three in Mecanhelas)
- One water supply system was rehabilitated in a village in Mecanhelas
- The water network was extended to one healthcare facility in Mecanhelas and another in Cuamba
- 20 dispersed waterpoints were constructed, ten in Cuamba and ten in Mecanhelas
- 55 waterpoints were rehabilitated, 22 in Mecanhelas and 33 in Cuamba
- Ten permanent handwashing stations were constructed in schools and health centres across the two districts
- 440 household connections were established, enabling 440 families to have taps in their backyard
- More than 5,000 people from 12 communities were enabled to build household latrines
The project focused on building communities’ awareness around hygiene behaviours, reaching more than 53,000 people with hygiene messages. About 35,460 of these people improved their hygiene facilities by installing handwashing stations and dish racks, keeping water and soap by toilets, maintaining a rubbish pit and keeping their yard clean.
The project supported local governments to put into practice WASH forums, which, although already in place, had shown no indication of being active. Quarterly meetings now include members of district governments, civil society organisations, private operators, community leaders and community representatives.
Rights to WASH:
The rights component of the project was designed to build communities’ awareness of their rights to WASH and ensure people could stand up for those rights and demand access to services. This was achieved through disseminating messages using community radio and training communities, civil society and community-based organisations on WASH rights, particularly on how to claim them. Messages on WASH rights disseminated through community radio reached approximately 280,000 people.
Olinda Eduardo, Pharmacy Technician at the Caronga Health Centre, told us: "Before we got water, during the rainy season we treated an average of 150 patients per day, and in the dry season about 50. But today, even when it’s raining we don’t have a significant number of patients. The reduction in diseases such as cholera, malaria and diarrhoea is remarkable at community level and we think this may be associated with the consumption of clean, safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene."
"The health centre now has water available all day and this is important for sanitising our working tools and for other domestic purposes. Previously, there was only one standpipe, which was shared between the population and the health centre." – Olinda Eduardo, pictured.
Unlocking people's potential
Alongside farming with her husband, Angelina Domingos, 31 (pictured), from the Muria Community in Mecanhelas, is a WASH community activist. After WaterAid training she embraced a mission to teach best hygiene practices to the whole community, advising on issues such as construction of latrines, landfills and pantries and on water conservation. Angelina has noted improvements in the living conditions of the people of Muria with the arrival of clean drinking water.
Valéria, pictured, gave birth to her daughter Pierpina at Mecanhelas health centre after the arrival of clean water. She said the birth was wonderful.
"I feel good that the doctor can wash his hands with soap and water, because by washing his hands, the doctor is preventing diseases, and I must do the same."
"Water saves lives. There is no life without water."
This project was part-funded by the UK Government.
Top image: Angelina Domingos, a 31-year-old farmer from the Muria Community in Mecanhelas, drawing water from a new community water point.
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