Fundación Avina was in Mozambique, sharing our experience in community-based water management and sanitation in an effort to promote South-South cooperation between Latin America and Africa.
Our visit, from June 29th to July 16th, covered the cities of Maputo, Lichinga, and surrounding areas with the support of our local ally, Estamos, a community organization working in the country’s provinces.
The first knowledge exchange initiative took place when Feliciano Santos, CEO of Estamos, participated in the VI Encuentro Latinoamericano de Gestión del Agua Comunitaria (VI Latin American Conference on Community-based Water Management) this past September in Chile. Feliciano was especially interested by the degree of collaboration among community organizations in different countries.
Thereafter, Avina began to plan a visit to Mozambique to learn more about the country’s conditions in terms water access. Avina also promoted a workshop with community water managers and local support organizations to share our experience with collaboration in Latin America and to inspire this approach in Estamos allies’ agendas.
“We are initiating this meeting to coordinate and exchange knowledge with these water committees and advance with the Latin American community water managers, the Confederación Latinoamericana de Organizaciones Comunitarias de Servicios de Agua y Saneamiento (CLOCSAS) (Latin American Confederation of Water and Sanitation Services),” Santos emphasized during the “Fortalecimiento de los liderazgos de Agua” (Strengthening Water Leadership) workshop.
The main objective is to build capacities of the Comités de Agua (Water Committees) and create a committee network in the Niassa province.
“The proposal discussed at this workshop is based on adapting certain modules of the Programa Unificado de Fortalecimiento de Capacidades (Unified Capacity Building Program) to the realities of Mozambique and to promote coordination among water committees within and among provinces,” said Telma Rocha, a Fundación Avina Program Director who lead the meeting with Santos during this visit to African lands.
Thirty members participated in this action for Water Committees in the Mecula, Lago, Lichinga and Chimbunila districts at the Centro de Kuchijinji Desarrollo Rural (Kuchijinji Rural Development Center) in Lichinga city.
Also present were public works agents and representatives from organizations working on water and sanitation issues.
The Republic of Mozambique has 26,423,623 inhabitants, with a life expectancy of 53 years according to Instituto Nacional de Estatística. (National Institute of Statistics).
The Mozambican people still feel the impact of ten years of struggle led by the Liberation Front of Mozambique, Frelimo against colonizers which culminated with the independence of their country in 1974.
Mozambique is among those countries with the poorest conditions in terms of access to water and sanitation. According to UNICEF and World Health Organization data, just 49% of the Mozambican population uses improved water supply sources and 21% uses improved sanitation infrastructure. Over 40% of the population defecates in the open air.
Sharing Knowledge with the People of Mozambique
We met with Estamos specialist Manuel Alfredo, who is working to secure land in the Machomane, Litunde and Chambunila district. This action includes delineating community members’ services and, by doing so, avoiding future conflicts. It is worth noting these people build their houses in a residential zone far from production areas for yucca, tomatoes, and other products.
In the Litunde community
Telma Rocha had the opportunity to attend a training session via an exchange of social activists with community-based organizations Asociación Thandizo (Thandizo Association) and Asociación de Agentes de Cambio (Change Agents Association) in the Majune and Lago districts. Voluntary community leaders work on health issues.
Dialogue with activists
Three activists lead a community dialogue in an effort to understand the perception of local hospital services provided to the population. This activity is called CPC. The community complained of the quality of hospital care, maternity care, and lack of materials and adequate infrastructure. With this information, the activists will go to the hospital and request changes be made.