“Because there is not a lot of water, children go to the river and this puts our health at risk.” - Domingo Sarmento Collette, community councilor
Like in most of the developing world, small towns in Mozambique are growing fast. This is in part thanks to rapid economic growth, as well as migration and natural population growth. But rapid expansion has outpaced local governments’ capacity to provide essential services, such as access to adequate water and sanitation facilities, leaving outdated infrastructures severely overwhelmed. This phenomenon is seen across much of Mozambique today, and has considerable consequences for the population, especially children.
1,400 children under five die each day from causes linked to lack of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene
NEW YORK, 22 March 2014 – Almost four years after the world met the global target set in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for safe drinking water, and after the UN General Assembly declared that water was a human right, over three-quarters of a billion people, most of them poor, still do not have this basic necessity, UNICEF said to mark World Water Day.
Estimates from UNICEF and WHO published in 2013 are that a staggering 768 million people do not have access to safe drinking water, causing hundreds of thousands of children to sicken and die each year. Most of the people without access are poor and live in remote rural areas or urban slums.
During a couple of weeks in May, the acclaimed photographer Ian Berry travelled in Nampula to document the problems and potential solutions to the lack of water and sanitation infrastructure in small towns in Mozambique, especially along the Nacala corridor in Nampula province. Mr. Berry, who is writing a book on water and waterways, is preparing the material for a multimedia film on the topic of small town WASH and UNICEF’s work in the field. The multimedia film will be distributed through global media outlets to highlight the issues related to water and sanitation in small town settings.
Photographer Ian Berry covering the drilling of a bore hole in Monapo, one of the small towns included in the NAMWASH project.
The Small Towns Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programme in Nampula (NAMWASH)
“NAMWASH is serious!” was the conclusion of one district administrator, when commenting on the role NAMWASH would play in terms of improving general living conditions and contributing to economic growth in his district. The NAMWASH programme addresses the critical area of water supply and sanitation in small towns in Mozambique. The programme is financed by AusAID, UNICEF and the Government of Mozambique, and its main aim is to improve water and sanitation in five small towns in Nampula. Between May 21 and 24, the programme partners participated in a field visit to the five towns covered by the programme, observing facilities on the ground and visiting stakeholders in the districts.
A derelict water pumping station in Rapale, Nampula, one of the small towns covered by the NAMWASH programme.
MIND THE GAP… It is commonly known that investments in water supply and sanitation are mostly mobilized either for rural villages (handpumps/latrines) or cities (large piped networks). The GAP is in SMALL TOWNS. Mozambique has more than 120 small towns with dilapidated infrastructure built by the Portuguese colonialists in the 1950s and 1960s. The infrastructure was designed to serve a population of less than 1000 and many of these towns now have a population of more than 20,000.
As the New Year unfolds, the water and sanitation sector looks forward to greater fiscal allocations as a result of the upcoming Sanitation and Water for All meeting in Washington DC. Countries are preparing the relevant evidence to demonstrate if, and how, they have increased government and non-government funds to this important sector despite the globally stretched economic situation resulting from the financial crisis.
The One Million Initiative of the Government of Mozambique aims at supplying access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation for one million people. The program has constructed hundreds of new boreholes and implemented trainings on sanitation in communities from three provinces. To evaluate the program, a panel survey design was set up with a baseline in 2008, a midterm in 2010 and an end-line in 2013. The survey covers interviews with 1600 households, focus group discussions about the community and water points in 80 clusters in 9 districts. To our knowledge this is the first rigorous evaluation of such a large scale program in the water and sanitation sector.
UNICEF Mozambique Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Programme is one of the largest UN water programmes in Africa. In partnership with the Government of Mozambique, the programme has a strong focus on service delivery through private sector civil engineering, drilling contractors and NGOs.
Everyone wants Impact. In the spirit of aid effectiveness, all water and sanitation development programmes are required to provide evidence of impact. This is beyond the conventional engineering rhetoric of number of pumps/taps or sanitation systems constructed and there contribution to the Millennium Development Goal Number 7.