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The One Million initiative: Reaching a million people with water and sanitation services by 2013

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GONDOLA, Mozambique, 28 April 2011 – The One Million initiative was initiated in 2007 as a cooperative project between the Government of Mozambique, the Government of the Netherlands and UNICEF and has a planned duration of seven years. By 2013, the project aims at having established access to water and sanitation services for one million people in the central provinces. The three provinces continue to have high levels of diarrhea and malaria contributing to elevated mortality and morbidity figures, and these provinces are also vulnerable to both droughts and floods, as well as to cholera. On 28 April 2011, community leaders from the three central provinces were honored for their role in promoting good water, sanitation and hygiene practices in their localities.

The strategy for which the community leaders were honored, include the implementation of Community-led Total Sanitation or CATS, which involves the collective analysis of local water and sanitation conditions by the community and the development of needed solutions to any existing problems. This approach focuses on the involvement and behavior change of the entire community, as opposed to on individual or family level behavior change. As a result, the communities involved have seen great progress. Thus far, more than 430 communities within the target districts, covering a population of more than 350,000 people, have been declared open defecation free (i.e., with no defecation outside latrines that have been constructed by the communities).

As part of the One Million initiative, the construction of 2,000 new water points has been planned, as well as the rehabilitation of an additional 400 water points. Additionally, the construction of thousands of latrines in the communities is being carried out. More than 400 primary schools with more than 140,000 pupils will also have access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Importantly, the program includes capacity building of both authorities and communities in the planning, management, coordination and supervision of integrated water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs. In particular, great attention is paid to the sustainability of water supply infrastructure.

From the start of the program, more than 980 new water points benefitting almost a million people have been established. More than 200,000 latrines have been constructed in the same period. As a result of the work carried out in the central provinces, Mozambique was awarded the AFRISAN Prize for 2010 for the Government’s work and its collaboration with civil society organizations.

More than US$ 42.8 million will be invested in the program over the implementation period, of which the Government of the Netherlands provides US$ 28 million and UNICEF US$ 7 million, with the Government of Mozambique contributing the balance. Up to this point, some US$ 25 million, or 60 per cent of the total program cost, has been invested over a period of four years.

For more information, please contact:

Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email:

Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: