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Global solution for local action: Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) in Mozambique

© UNICEF Mozambique
With Mozambican musician Stewart Sukuma observing in the background, a facilitator helps a community map out the areas used for open defecation as part of a process to build latrines and overcome the open defecation problem.

MAPUTO, Mozambique, 21 June 2011 – Between 1990 (the MDG baseline year) and 2008 (the latest available data year), efforts by governments, support agencies and people themselves resulted in additional 1.3 billion people worldwide using improved sanitation facilities, increasing the proportion of people using improved sanitation from 54 to 61 per cent, but this progress is far from sufficient. Diarrhea continues to kill more children under five than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, with lack of access to safe sanitation being the major contributor to this diarrheal disease.

According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), only 17 per cent of Mozambique has access to sanitation. The World Bank Country Status Overview (CSO) estimates that 8.3 million people need to be served with safe sanitation to reach the Millennium Development Goal targets for sanitation. In order to achieve this, UNICEF introduced the ‘Community Approach to Total Sanitation’(CATS) in 2008. CATS was introduced within the One Million Initiative rural water supply and sanitation program in Tete, Manica and Sofala. This US$ 43 million program, funded by the Government of the Netherlands, UNICEF and the Government of Mozambique, has as its objective to ensure that one million people in rural areas gain access to water and sanitation between 2007 and 2013. With the introduction of CATS in this program, over a million people have already gained access to sanitation between 2008 and 2011. A total of 470 communities have been declared Open Defecation Free (34 in 2008, 151 in 2009 and 285 in 2010).

© UNICEF Mozambique
In November 2010, the Government of Mozambique was awarded the AMCOW award for sanitation as a result of the implementation of Community Approaches to Total Sanitation.

The impact of the introduction of CATS in Mozambique resulted in the country being awarded the African Council of Ministers for Water (AMCOW) award for sanitation in November 2010, which was received by the National Director of Water and the Head of Environmental Health from the Ministry of Health. It also resulted in the participation of the Minister of Public Works and the Minister of Finance in the Washington High Level Meeting on Water and Sanitation in 2010, to commit greater financial resources to sanitation.

With the launch of the National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (PRONASAR), international NGO partners have undertaken visits to the One Million Initiative program with the objective of replicating the CATS approach in their own target areas. These international NGOs include CARE, the AGA Khan Foundation, WaterAid, Helvetas and Oxfam.

For more information, please contact:

Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email:  

Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email:  



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