© Helvetas

An Exemplary Water and Sanitation Committee for Good Water Sources Management

The Natuco Water and Sanitation Committee was selected the best water and sanitation committee of Mecufi District in Cabo Delgado Province of Northern Mozambique.
21. May 2018
© Helvetas

During the creation of the Water and Sanitation Committee of Natuco in Mecúfi district, only few believed that a group of 12 people could effectively and transparently manage the water sources in that village. Today, one year later, this Committee was elected the "Best Water and Sanitation Committee of Mecúfi District", indeed, a success story for community based resources management.

© Helvetas
One of the water sources managed by the Water and Sanitation Committee © Helvetas
© Helvetas
Members of the Natuco Water and Sanitation Committee verifying the monthly contributions © Helvetas
© Helvetas
© Helvetas

Two years ago, the women and men from Natuco village were not convinced about the approach to water sources management implemented by the local water and sanitation committee; only few contributed to the monthly maintenance fee collection.

The Committe, made up of 12 members including seven women, was revitalized in December 2015 with support from Helvetas.  As a result of its work, on World Water Day in an event organized by the District Service for Planning and Infrastructure of Mecúfi, the Committee was elected the "Best Water and Sanitation Committee of the District", amongst the 20 Committees that participated in the contest.

The Committee was elected because of their good performance, their regular accomplishment of account rendering to the community, the existence of cash in the cash box and the fact that it is the Committee with less faulty water sources.

The Committee of Natuco currently manages 15 water sources, out of which two are damaged. Almost six thousand people benefit from these sources.

«The award made us very proud and, above all, very eager to continue doing our work.»

Arune Caetano, Water Committee president

Natuco's Water and Sanitation Committee members' perception is that their work is recognized by local government authorities, and more. But it is also a way to stimulate them to develop their activities for the well-being of the community.

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Members of community are attending accountability meeting © Helvetas

Accountability: An example to follow

The Water and Sanitation Committee of Natuco is an example for good local governance. Every three months the Committee meets with the community and informs them about the status of the fund and the use of their contributions.

At the meeting on 15 October 2017, where 39 women and men participated, the Committee reported that 794 families contributed raising 7,940 meticais. They spent 2,240 meticais on the purchase of required spare parts and for the payment of the local mechanic, resulting in a current balance of 5,700 meticais.

On the occasion of that meeting, some community members raised questions and presented suggestions for improving the Committee’s work. Arlindo Naface, a resident of Natuco, said that most of the residents were unaware of the contribution modalities and suggested, that they would go from house to house to provide this information.

Eva Maria, another resident of Natuco, mentioned that some families benefitted from the water sources without their financial contribution, a fact that demoralizes other, contributing residents. Ana Maria Joaquim opined that only one committee was not enough to control all water sources as the village is populous. And she praised the work done by Water and Sanitation Committee, especially in terms of accountability to the community.

The people of Natuco are satisfied with the Committee’s work. "Every month we contribute 10 meticais," said Alzira Omar, a resident of Natuco, who also informed that the residentes earlier were afraid to contribute; they were not sure about the use of the money.

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It's increasing numbers of families with traditional latrines in Natuco © Helvetas

What is behind the success?

The Water and Sanitation Committee of Natuco is not only limited to collecting monthly contributions for the maintenance of water sources. It has also been cleaning up the sources, an activity that is carried out on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with the involvement of village residents.

In addition, the Committee conducts community awareness campaigns on hygiene and sanitation. As a result, the number of families with improved  traditional latrines, and garbage pits is increasing. "We have not had cases of diseases like cholera or diarrhea in this village," says Celestino Tomás, the Committee’s Secretary.

"Every three months the water committee is organizing a meeting where the population is informed about the fate of the money and the amount available," says Anifa Abdula, a resident of the village, adding: "This is very good and we thank them very much for their efforts".

One of the important points pointed out by the residents is that the Water and Sanitation Committee accepts food products in cases where families do not have the money. Once in their possession, the Committee sells the products and the money is saved.

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Part of Water and Sanitation Committee members of Natuco © Helvetas

Water and Sanitation Committee

A water and sanitation committee is responsible for the management and maintenance of water sources, in addition to promoting hygiene and sanitation in the community. A committee is constituted of 12 members (six women and six men) organized into three subcommittees (Hygiene and Sanitation, Fund Management, and Operation Maintenance). Helvetas, through its implementing partners, has supported in the creation and revitalisation of water and sanitation committees, ensuring their training and monitoring through regular visits. A self-assessment facilitates the committee’s strengthening with a view to improving internal governance.