World Water Day is an opportunity to reflect on the vital role water plays in promoting human dignity and maintaining the health of the planet. Access to safe and reliable water and sanitation underpins the well-being and livelihoods of communities the world over. This year the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more clear that access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services is not a privilege only for wealthy countries or for those living in urban areas; rather it is a basic human necessity for everyone, everywhere, to survive, thrive, and succeed.
USAID congratulates the Government of the Republic of Mozambique on its commitment to providing universal and equitable access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services by 2030. Reaching this goal requires more than a government commitment to improving systems and services. The private sector must also be encouraged and enabled to invest in and expand water and sanitation services throughout the country. Mozambican communities must also be empowered to adopt water and sanitation behaviors that better protect their health and the health of their families. USAID is proud to partner with the government, the private sector, and Mozambican communities to reach universal access by 2030.
The challenges to achieving universal access to clean water and sanitation are significant. Currently, only half of Mozambicans have access to a clean water supply, and only 29 percent use basic sanitation facilities. Rates are even higher in rural areas. This lack of access contributes to high rates of waterborne diseases such as malaria and cholera as well as chronically high rates of malnutrition.
USAID water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programming focuses on increasing access to safe water and sanitation, strengthening WASH sector governance, and accelerating adoption of WASH behaviors at the community and household levels. As a result, more Mozambicans will have reliable access to safe water and sanitation systems that improve health, reduce extreme poverty, and make communities more resilient. Resilience is especially critical in the face of recurrent natural disasters such as a cyclones and drought.
Increasing access to safe water and sanitation: USAID programs support the rehabilitation and development of affordable WASH infrastructure in underserved communities with a focus on increasing access for women and girls. Recent activities include:
- Building and renovating WASH facilities (including hand washing sinks in hospital rooms; toilets for doctors, patients, and families; and cooking and cleaning facilities for families), in health centers in the Nampula, Sofala, and Zambezia provinces.
- Providing multi-use solar powered water systems, boreholes, sanitation promotion, and improved access to WASH at schools and health centers in communities affected by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth.
- Providing WASH facilities for schools, health centers, and communities in the Gorongosa Park buffer zone.
- Contributing $20 million over 4 years to the Mozambican government’s National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program (PRONASAR) to support increased WASH access through the building and/or rehabilitation of water systems and sanitation facilities in small towns and rural areas.
Strengthening WASH governance: USAID provides support to government water management institutions and private sector water and sanitation providers to improve the policy, regulatory, and investment environment for the WASH sector. Strengthened public and private organizations will be able to reach more Mozambicans with improved and functional WASH services. Recent activities include:
- Providing technical support to Mozambique’s Water Regulator (AURA) to implement licensing regulations to allow businesses to fill a gap in public water systems.
- Partnering with the Association of Water Suppliers of Mozambique to provide financial and technical training to private water providers.
- Providing technical assistance to the government to better track and mobilize financial resources for the WASH sector.
- Providing technical assistance to the Water and Sanitation Infrastructure Administration (AIAS) to develop legal and regulatory guidelines for setting up public-private partnerships for WASH investment.
Accelerating adoption of better WASH behaviors: For communities to reap the full health benefits of water and sanitation infrastructure, individual WASH behaviors must also be addressed. USAID programming supports education and behavior change efforts in communities throughout the country. Recent activities include:
- Community-led behavior change campaigns in Nampula focus on improving key hygiene behaviors such as safe disposal of infant, child and animal feces; safe household water treatment, storage and handling practices; handwashing at critical times, COVID-19 avoidance, menstrual hygiene management, and latrine usage.
- Development and implementation of improved WASH protocols for health centers in Nampula, Sofala, and Zambezia provinces.
- Conducting in depth research and analysis on gender, hygiene, and sanitation in Nampula and Zambezia to identify barriers and enablers to WASH access, and positive WASH behaviors.
USAID is committed to helping Mozambique reach universal WASH access by 2030. With approximately $35 million of current WASH support to the GRM, Mozambican businesses and local and international NGOs, and new activities coming next year, we know progress is being made. Only with continued collaboration, can we reach the goal.