Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Saturday inaugurated a water supply system in the town of Homoine, in the southern province of Inhambane.
Budgeted at 146 million meticais (about 2.5 million US dollars) the new system was financed by the European Union and UNICEF, in partnership with the government. The system has the capacity to supply water to about 39 per cent of the population of the town.
Addressing the Homoine residents who attended the inauguration ceremony, Nyusi appealed to them to look after the system and to avoid wasting water.
He recalled that when he had visited Homoine in October 2014, the residents had asked for an improved water system. "Today, I am here to say that the first significant phase has now happened. You are going to have water - not all of you, but we're getting there".
He praised the EU and UNICEF for their support, and thought it was a "happy coincidence" that the inauguration was taking place on the Day of the African Child. "I don't see that there can be a better gift to children than water", he said. "With water children can wash their faces, they can drink, they can bathe, they can prepare food".
The EU's first consul in Mozambique, Stergios Varvaroussis, stated that the project reflects the concern of the EU member states in promoting human rights. Complying with human rights, he said, includes "improving the quality of life in Mozambique, particularly in the rural areas".
The inauguration of the Homoine system marks the end of the Aguasani programme, which involved the rehabilitation and installation of water systems in three Inhambane districts - Homoine, Jangamo and Morrumbene. The project was budgeted at 10 million euros (about 11.6 million US dollars), and 90 per cent of the costs were disbursed by the EU.
Addressing a rally in the town later in the day, Nyusi renewed his appeal to Mozambican women to reject child marriage.
He stressed that children have the right and the duty to study, and parents have the duty to ensure that they go to school - and must not force them into child marriages.
Nyusi told the crowd "Let's not have anyone forcing girls to marry. Let's not have any man asking girls to marry them. Don't take our children to be your wives. We must guarantee that the girls grow up firm and strong to carry out the country's development agenda".