Integrated and decentralised service delivery to flood-displaced communities in Mozambique

Stove construction training in MassangenaIn a project carried out in Mozambique between 2004 and 2007, Practical Action Southern Africa applied a broad based livelihoods approach which aimed at improving the livelihoods of flood-displaced communities through locally managed and provided basic infrastructure services, as a solution to long-term development. It also aimed at building the capacity of partners and communities through training in water and sanitation (WATSAN), appropriate shelter technologies and improved cooking stoves.

This was in response to the February 2000 Elnino induced floods that hit the Gaza Province of Mozambique, resulting in at least 250,000 people mainly from the Zambezi, Save and Limpopo river Basins being displaced and vital infrastructure destroyed. The three year project, which ended in December 2007, was implemented in partnership with two local two local partners, ADCR and GTA in the three districts of Massangena, Mabalane and Chigubo.

The project increased the water supply coverage tremendously - Massangena was from 5% (660 households) to 45% (5,940), Chigubo from 15% (1,680 households) to 65% (7,280 households). Distances to the nearest water source were reduced from an average of 5km in all districts to 3km and 1km in Chigubo and Massangena districts respectively

Over 262 out of 11 200 households in Massangena district and 92 households out of 13 200 in Chigubo district adopted the improved stoves technology. The users of this new technology are enjoying the benefits of a smoke free kitchen environment and reductions in fuel wood use. The improved stoves economically empowered women who are now earning incomes of up to 2,800 Meticais (USD110) per month, from the construction of fixed stoves.

The shelter intervention saw the building of capacity in the production of building materials and construction methods. In Massangena, the trained groups were involved in the construction of an irrigation scheme serving at least 250 households. This project reduced the vulnerability of communities to floods as the brick houses are more resilient to withstand storms and floods. Community members are now economically empowered and are receiving incomes of up to 1200 Meticais (US$50) monthly from the sale of building materials and construction jobs.

Lessons Learnt

  • The development of self-organisational and inclusive planning capacities of communities at risk is an essential disaster risk reduction strategy as it enhances local resilience once disaster strikes.
  • A multi-sectoral and integrated in approach is essential to the planning and implementation of community based interventions to mitigate the multi-faceted challenges experienced by disaster-prone communities. ;
  • It is essential to bring the local stakeholders and community members to the same level of understanding through mobilisation and participatory engagement to ensure common understanding and visioning of development issues
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