Maputo — The European Union ambassador to Mozambique, Sven von Burgsdorff, has announced the grant of an additional 500,000 euros (about 560,000 US dollars), to be spent over the next 18 months for the water supply, sanitation and hygiene programme in the towns of Morrumbene, Homoine and Jangamo, in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane.
This programme, known as AGUASANI, began in 2008, and was initially budgeted at about ten million euros, It is an initiative of the Mozambican government, supported by the EU and by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Recent data from UNICEF indicate that only one in four Mozambicans have access to improved sanitation, and that access to latrines of any kind is so poor that two out of every five Mozambicans defecate in the open.
AGUASANI, which seeks to overcome the lack of water supply and sanitation services in the three towns, was initially planned to end in the second half of this year.
But speaking to reporters on Tuesday, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Jangamo water supply system, von Burgsdorff explained that the increased funding and extended time for the programme is intended to expand the number of households and institutions benefitting from it.
“I would like to mention that the European Union, following up the recommendations of the mid-term assessment of the project, has just agreed to extend the project by a further 17 months and to mobilize contingency funds”, he said.
Von Burgsdorff added that the positive balance of the mid-term assessment, witnessed by Leo Heller, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation, was one of the factors leading to the decision to extend the programme. Heller visited the AGUASANI projects in Inhambane three months ago.
Von Burgsdorff praised the “excellent work” done by the partners in the programme, the frank dialogue and willingness shown by the local authorities, as factors tending to maximize benefits from AGUASANI.
The UNICEF representative in Mozambique, Marcoluigi Corsi, stressed that children are a target group that should receive special attention from AGUASANI.
Each of the players involved in the Jangamo system, including the operator and the Local, Regulatory Commission (COMAL) should ensure a good quality and sustainable service, while the local government should ensure the political environment needed for the correct implementation of a public service.