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Thirty four communities receive prizes for best sanitation practices

© UNICEF Mozambique/Emidio Machiana
Community members participate in the construction of household latrines.

Dondo, Sofala Province, March 2009 – In February this year thirty four communities in Tete, Manica and Sofala provinces received prizes for having successfully involved all their households in the construction and use of latrines at their homes, adopting healthy habits of hygiene and totally eliminating defecating in the open.

The ceremony took place in the city of Dondo, in Sofala province, during the third review and planning meeting for the “One Million Initiative” programme. The event was attended by the Minister of Public Works and Housing, Felício Zacarias, and representatives of the Tete, Manica and Sofala provincial government, the Dutch Embassy and UNICEF, among other partners.

The prizes for the communities include the building of a water source or the rehabilitation of a classroom in the local school, and the distribution of a hygiene kit to each household. For the community leaders and heads of the localities with the best performance, the prize includes a bicycle, and the head of the administrative post receives a cell phone or portable radio.

Prizes were also granted to the six district government who showed most commitment in sanitation activities, namely Maravia and Angónia districts in Tete, Buzi and Nhamatanda in Sofala, and Gondola and Sussundenga in Manica.

The granting of prizes to the communities that set an exemplary example in the promotion and use of latrines, which began this year, is part of the strategy followed by the “One Million Initiative” programme in order to mobilise communities to improve sanitation conditions and adopt healthy hygiene habits.

This strategy is combined with the promotion of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), an approach which consists in the collective analysis of local sanitation conditions and of the actions needed to solve them. This approach focuses on awaking the community as a whole to change its hygiene and sanitation practices, rather than on the individual behaviour of households.

The first training on this approach in the country took place in October last year. Government staff at all levels attended, as did local authorities, civil society organisations and activists, who undertake community mobilisation activities.

As a result, more than 150 communities covered by this approach have introduced significant improvements in their sanitation conditions since October last year, and applied for the prizes.

The “One Million Initiative” programme was launched in 2007, as part of a partnership between the Mozambican government, the Dutch government and UNICEF. The programme is to last for 6 years. It seeks to bring, by 2012, clean drinking water and create adequate sanitation conditions for about a million people in 18 districts in Manica, Tete and Sofala provinces.

These are provinces where diarrhoeal diseases and malaria continue to contribute to high levels of morbidity and mortality among children, and where there are high rates of HIV prevalence. These provinces are also particularly vulnerable to emergencies such as drought and cholera outbreaks.
As part of this initiative, the construction of around 2,000 new water sources is envisaged, the rehabilitation of 400, and construction of around 200,000 latrines and the promotion of healthy hygiene habits. About 400 primary schools, covering a total of 140,000 children, should also have access to drinking water and adequate sanitation.

The programme also includes strengthening the capacity of the authorities and of the communities in planning, managing, coordinating and supervising integrated water, sanitation and hygiene programmes. Particular stress is laid on involving the communities in the sustainable management of water and sanitation infrastructures. 

Since the start of the programme around 333 new water sources, benefiting more than 284,000 people, have been opened in the districts reached by the programme. A total of 380 water sources were rehabilitated benefiting around 190,000 people. Some 67,080 traditional and improved latrines were built, benefiting over 335,000 people. These results mean that more than 30 per cent of the expected results have already been achieved in two years, advancing firmly towards reaching the target of a million.
About 42 million US dollars are being invested in the programme, of which Holland is contributing about 27 million dollars, UNICEF about 7 million, while the Mozambican government and the beneficiary populations are contributing with about 6 million dollars. So far 7.5 million dollars have been spent, representing about 18 per cent of the investment, in two years.



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