Towards Open-Defecation-Free Communities in Mozambique

15/03/2017
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When the African Development Bank (AfDB) partnered with other donors and the Mozambican Government back in 2010 to finance the National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program (PRONASAR) in Nampula and Zambézia Provinces in northern Mozambique, one of the ultimate goals was to achieve open defecation-free communities.

"Despite delays experienced in the implementation of this program, we are delighted to see that some communities in both provinces are now on their way to being certified as open-defecation-free. These outcomes are critical for the long-term health, hygiene, sanitation, and livelihood of targeted communities. As the program enters the final phase, we must ensure the sustainability of results for lasting impact on the Mozambican people,” says Osward Chanda, Officer-in-Charge of the Water Development and Sanitation Department of the AfDB.

PRONASAR was designed with the assistance of a grant by the Bank’s African Water Facility (AWF) in 2006. The program started in 2010 with a total pledge by development partners of US$ 179 million (UA 132 million), of which US$ 6.74 million (UA 4.98 million) was contributed by the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative Trust Fund (RWSSI-TF) and an African Development Fund loan of US$ 7.14 million (UA 5.27 million).

“Creating an enabling environment where governments, donors, civil society, and the private sector work together for access to sustainable rural water and sanitation through innovative approaches is central to the work of the RWSSI Trust Fund (TF).  In Mozambique, the TF grant was specifically used for training, capacity building, community mobilization, and awareness-raising campaigns. These activities empowered communities to take greater ownership in delivering on their sanitation and water supply needs,” says Chanda.

Over 100,000 toilets were built by households in both provinces through the Community Led Total Sanitation approach, contributing to the eradication of open defecation.

Access rate to sanitation in both Northern provinces now stands at 48 percent compared to 40 percent in 2010. Overall, roughly 490,000 individuals in about 1,200 communities have been reached and trained through community awareness-raising campaigns financed by RWSSI-TF.

Improving water supply in Nampula and Zambézia provinces was also central to PRONASAR. Through the complementary contributions of RWSSI-TF, the additional number of persons now accessing more reliable water supply is estimated at 200,000, according to the latest quarterly progress report of the program.

"RWSSI-TF has enabled the project to establish a register of communities demanding water supply services. This has created a sense of ownership, resulting in communities working harder to maintain the infrastructure,” says Boniface Aleobua, Project Task Manager and Principal Sanitation Engineer in the Mozambique Country Office.

The sustainability of rural water and sanitation services has become a paramount priority for communities, countries and development actors. This explains why this program placed a great premium on enhancing the sustainability of interventions. "Users are billed for water services and the money is collected at the household level. Four private water operators have been hired to manage the small water supply systems constructed as part of the project," the AfDB Task Manager explains.

Other activities that are contributing to the sustainability of the project include the training of 125 community builders. These local artisans are now adequately equipped to respond to the repair needs of various communities and can also construct toilet slabs for the local markets.”

The AfDB has been supporting the water and sanitation sector in Mozambique since 1981.

Overall, close to 90 million people gained access to improved sanitation, and 135 million people had access to water in rural areas in Africa during the last decade thanks to interventions of the AfDB and other partners. Yet, the sanitation and water supply challenge in Africa is far from resolved. According to 2015 statistics of the United Nations Joint Monitoring Report, close to 480 million people out of 700 million living in rural Africa are without access to improved sanitation. 280 million are without access to clean drinking water.

In response to the urgency to tackle this challenge while ensuring the Africa Water Vision 2025 and the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved by 2030, the AfDB is stepping up its efforts to deliver water and sanitation to populations in rural and urban areas. Through its New Development and Business Delivery Model which prioritizes decentralization and proximity of services to regional member countries, the Bank is looking to achieve its new five strategic priorities. The new agriculture, human and social development vice presidency and the reconfigured water development and sanitation department are specifically mandated to deliver on two of the five strategic pillars namely: agriculture and improving the quality of life of Africans

Two of the Bank's flagship initiatives in the water sector are also retooling to better address the current challenge. RWSSI is at present developing a new strategy that would enable it to provide a focused and targeted response to the challenges of rural water and sanitation on the continent. The African Water Facility recently adopted a new strategy that would allow it to address the water challenges of Africa for the next ten years.