A critical area for development
While considerable progress has been made over the past years to bring water supply and sanitation to more people, water and sanitation remains one of Mozambique’s most under-developed areas.
According to the latest data available, only 43 per cent of the population have access to safe water and 19 per cent of the population have access to improved sanitation.
The situation in rural areas is far worse than urban areas with only 30 per cent of the rural areas having access to water and 6 per cent having access to safe sanitation. Additionally, Mozambique is prone to frequent emergencies due to hydrological disasters such as flooding and drought.
The poor and uneven access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is responsible for regular outbreaks of cholera, and diarrhoea is a major cause of child illness and death. A higher prevalence of diarrhoea is also found in drought-affected areas. Here children are more likely to fall sick from waterborne diseases when they start to rely on unsafe water sources such as rivers.
Improving the basics of life
The Ministries of Public Works and Housing and Health, with support from UNICEF and other partners, work to increase water and sanitation coverage, improve service delivery and reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea in rural and urban parts of the country with low coverage and high incidence of water-borne illnesses and HIV and AIDS.
An important strategy involves reinforcing government capacity to better manage the water and sanitation sector. UNICEF provides technical assistance to improve programme planning and implementation and monitoring and evaluation systems.
Partnerships are built with research institutions, development partners, NGOs and the private sector to develop innovative water and sanitation technologies. Civil society organisations, the private sector and community members are integrated into the implementation of projects where they provide the know-how and manpower to install boreholes, water pumps, water reservoirs and latrines.
Through UNICEF advocacy, gender and child centred approaches are used to promote youth participation and ensure that the needs of girls and young women are central in project implementation.
UNICEF and partners support the sector to rehabilitate or construct low-cost water and sanitation facilities in communities and health facilities. Community facilitators and activists are trained in community awareness-raising on safe hygiene and the importance of clean water and sanitation to fight off opportunistic diseases related to HIV infection.
Provincial authorities and NGOs, with UNICEF technical guidance and financial support, install or rehabilitate school water supply systems and separate latrines for girls and boys under the Child-Friendly Schools Initiative. Improved access to water and sanitation has a positive impact on school enrolment, retention and performance, especially for girls and orphaned children.
UNICEF supports the Government to develop pro-poor sectoral policies that focus on equity as well as decentralised planning, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. The aim is to create a conducive environment for the sustainable management of the water and sanitation sector.