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Survey: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Findings of a household survey conducted in 9 districts of Mozambique

Mozambique, March 2009 – In 2008, UNICEF contracted the firm WE Consult Lda to conduct a household survey on water, hygiene and sanitation in 9 districts of Mozambique. The survey aimed to collect information for use as baseline data for 18 districts which are part of the One Million Initiative, a partnership between the Government of Mozambique, the Government of The Netherlands and UNICEF.

The One Million Initiative aims to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals with respect to access to drinking water and adequate sanitation for families and school communities. The Initiative is implemented in 18 districts in the provinces of Manica, Sofala and Tete during 2006 – 2013.


The sample survey is based on a rapid assessment methodology developed by UNICEF and WHO. For the household survey, the programme’s population was stratified into two groups, the target stratum including households in communities where the programme will start with water and sanitation interventions, and the control stratum covering all other communities. The survey was designed to cover 1,600 households, of which half were in the target stratum and half in the control stratum.

The school survey sample design was set up similarly, whereby two districts were selected for the programme, and a total of 80 schools, again stratified in 40 schools targeted by the programme, and 40 control schools.

Summary of findings

The vast majority of households does not use an improved water source: 85 per cent of the households in the project area use an unimproved water source (in most cases this is a unprotected well or water from a river or stream). In the target clusters, this percentage is even higher, at 89 per cent.

High levels of microbiological contamination: Microbiological samples were taken both at household level and at their respective water points. The results indicate a considerable increase in contamination from the source to the household. This emphasises the need to promote water treatment in households. DALY calculations returned values of 79 and 61 for target and control clusters respectively (compared to 49 for the whole of Mozambique). Initial arsenic screening showed 2 samples with values above the WHO recommended limit of 10ppm.

Women carry the highest burden when it comes to collecting water. The situation in the project area is far more skewed than for developing countries in general, with women in charge of collecting the water in 90 per cent of the households, against 64 per cent for all developing countries.

Open defecation still widely practiced: Around 54 per cent of all household members in the project area still practise open defecation, against 28 per cent for the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. Only 2 per cent uses an improved facility, whereas the MDG target stands at 63 per cent. There are significant differences between the three provinces, with Tete province standing out because of its high number of unimproved (traditional) latrines.

A need to build awareness on proper hand washing: The vast majority of household members practises hand washing, however only 1 per cent uses both running water and soap/ash.

More than 85 per cent of households uses adequate practices for disposing of children’s faeces.

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Full report

Survey: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

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