“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capacity to provide essential services, such as access to adequate water and sanitation facilities, leaving outdated infrastructures severely overwhelmed.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.
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.
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.