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Water and sanitation initiative benefits one million people

© UNICEF/MOZA-01407/G.Pirozzi
Shakila, a 10 years-old girl from Murrua, a village in the district of Nicoadala in the central province of Zambezia, drinks safe water from a well built in her village with UNICEF support.

Maputo 9 February 2007- More than one million people in the central region of Mozambique will have improved access to adequate sanitation facilities and water sources as a result of the One Million Initiative. The 42 million US dollars programme was launched on 7 February in Tete by the Mozambican Government, Netherlands and UNICEF.

The programme will be implemented in 18 districts – six in each of the provinces of Tete, Manica and Sofala over the next 6 years. In those provinces, diarrhoea and malaria are among the main causes of child illness and death, in addition to the impact of HIV/AIDS and regular outbreaks of cholera and drought. 

“Access to safe water and adequate sanitation is critical for child survival and education. Water-born diseases are among the main causes of child mortality rates in the country. Improved access to water and sanitation also has a positive impact in school attendance and retention. This initiative will address this situation and bring tangible and positive impacts to the lives and well-being of children and communities”, says UNICEF Representative Leila Pakkala.

According to the report Childhood Poverty in Mozambique, released in December last year, water and sanitation are the main deprivations faced by children in the country. Despite significant progress achieved over the past years, more than two-thirds of primary schools still do not have water and sanitation facilities. Massive disparities also exist in the sector, mainly between urban and rural areas. Only 23 per cent of Mozambicans living in rural areas and 66 per cent living in urban areas use an improved water source.

It is estimated that more than 300,000 children would need access to an improved water supply and sanitation every year in order to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets for water in sanitation in 2015. The One Million Initiative is a step forward in accelerating the national efforts to attain the MDGs and the benchmarks set by the national Poverty Reduction Action Plan (PARPA).

In each district, the One Million Initiative programme will be implemented by local Government and community members, who will receive technical assistance to improve programme planning, implementation, monitoring and management. 

“Community activists have a crucial role in improving access to water and sanitation. Communities have the local knowledge and experience, and with the support from local and provincial authorities they can make sure that the needs of the community members are taken in account, particularly the most vulnerable”, says UNICEF Representative Leila Pakkala. 

In total, 2.000 new water sources will be provided and 400 will be rehabilitated. It is estimated that 200,000 new latrines will also be built and around 1.2 million people will be reached with information on safe hygiene. As part of the programme, 400 primary schools will have access to water and sanitation facilities.

From the overall budget allocated to this programme, 28 million dollars will come from Netherlands, 7 million from UNICEF and 6 million from the Government and the community.



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