Moving from Maputo to Chimoio was a life change. As soon as I got to Chimoio, I realised how important my skills and my knowledge of sanitation water and hygiene would be fundamental to improve the lives of thousands of people in the peri-urban areas in Chimoio City. Chimoio is a small city with a modest economy, where retail and services are the main income sources for many people.
While the municipal authority is trying to make services accessible for everyone within the city, lack of resources is considered a limiting factor to reach out to everyone. One of the priorities is to promote and improve the best practices of sanitation and hygiene at the household level. Our first intervention targeted clean and safe toilets, by promoting the use of improved latrines within the most critical neighborhoods in the city. The work consisted of conducting a baseline study to understand the reasons why people wouldn’t invest in a cleaner and safer toilet. We found out that financial resources and lack of awareness on the implication of using unhygienic latrines were the main reasons.
Through the Frisian project, we launched a door-to-door campaign to promote a social sanitation program. The program consisted of training the so-called purpose-trained council officials as “activistas”. The officials would give advice on proper latrine maintenance and where decent quality latrines can be bought. After a few months, the officials would return back to the household for an assessment and it turned out that 20% of the beneficiaries had improved their latrines within three months after the first contact. By the end of two years, we have reached 30,000 families, the sales of improved latrine lids have increased significantly.