of urban residents living in slums


Urbanisation rate per year


of people without safely managed sanitation


of people without even basic drinking water

Worked there since 2007 | Project locations: Maputo, Beira, Tete, Quelimane

Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. Half the urban population lives below the national poverty line and only a quarter have access to piped water. As the number of people living in major towns and cities grows, so does the need for better water and sanitation services.

In Maputo, the sewer system only covers a small part of the city. With no organised system in place to deal with toilet waste, there is a huge need to invest in better on-site sanitation methods so that waste can be safely collected and avoid contaminating water supplies. The lack of access to improved sanitation has a direct impact on health, dignity and economic growth in the poorest communities.

WSUP’s work in Mozambique is a mix of direct delivery to poor neighbourhoods which brings affordable, safe water and decent toilets to the urban poor, longer-term support building the capacity of utilities and service providers, and wider policy and regulatory improvements. This latter element includes a lengthy project with the Mozambican government’s national water and sanitation regulator, Autoridade Reguladora de Água (AURA), to develop and roll out a new sanitation regulatory framework which includes a sanitation surcharge to be collected at the city level to help fund essential improvements in service delivery. 

We provide technical support to the water utility in the capital to reduce losses through their pipe system, installing modern monitoring equipment to ensure the preservation of precious water supplies. In Beira, we’ve helped the city recover from Cyclone Idai and build a stronger and more resilient pipe network which should withstand such disasters in the future. This has included the construction and rehabilitation of 19.5km of water network in Marara Bairro which benefitted about 15000 people.

A further focus of our work in Mozambique has been the improvement of WASH in primary schools. This has been a combination of direct rehabilitation/replacement of facilities in about 16 large schools in the capital, as well as helping the Maputo municipal authority to develop their city-wide schools WASH strategy which aims to provide proper WASH facilities in all schools there by 2030.

Finally, we work with the national and municipal authorities – and international donor agencies – to develop responsible and sustainable sanitation systems in the country. This involves supporting the development of businesses providing affordable pit-emptying for low-income communities based on a model which we have found successful elsewhere, and which fits the conditions in Maputo. The target neighbourhoods are Chamanculo C, Unidade 7 and Aeroporto-B which are relatively close to the wastewater treatment plant and have a high number of low-income households requiring affordable faecal sludge management services. In addition to supporting pit-emptying, we also work closely with the National Directorate of Sanitation (DNAAS) to roll out Sanitation Planning and Improvement in Maputo, Tete and Quelimane cities under the Mozambique Urban Sanitation Project (USP) including revision of designs for the Maputo, Tete and Quelimane sewerage systems.

Our work in Mozambique

Connecting low-income communities to vital services

Extending climate resilient WASH services to low-income communities

Improving schools through action and policy change


Urban residents served
since 2005


People with improved water supply


People with improved sanitation


People who have received hygiene education


Nelson Humberto Nhantumbo, Maputo

“In my case, having relinquished 1.5 metre from my house, for which I had to rearrange some things, today I see that it was worth renouncing 1.5 metre so the street could be widened.”

Faustina Boachie, Ghana Water Company

The street where Nelson Humberto Nhantumbo lives, in the Chamanculo area of Maputo, has been widened as part of the Habitat Project, led by Arquitectura Sin Fronteras, with the participation of WSUP.

“This was so tight, I think this alley was less than one metre wide,” Mr Nhantumbo says. “After the project was 80%, 70% finished, we started to see that it was worth giving away to gain a bit of space here on the way, so we could walk.”

The improvements, which involved convincing residents to give away part of their house space so streets could be enlarged, are easily noticeable. For WSUP, the improvements follow the principles of integrated urban development, as wider streets were vital for the provision of basic services, including sanitation – and the transport of waste.

“Nowadays, we can have a wheelchair, a vehicle, put something at home, if you want to take it out you no longer have to jump from the neighbour. Now we can get out normally.”

A cramped neighbourhood, with houses too close to each other and only narrow alleys available for people to move, Chamanculo C has offered many challenges for its residents.

“When it rained, it was terrible chaos, people had to walk around the other side, the troubles were many, and they diminished,” says Mr Nhantumbo. “Now, when the rain comes, the water that comes from the mission, the school, runs and reaches the drainage ditch over there.”

He quickly dismisses any doubts about the residents’ decision to accept exchanging part of their houses for larger streets.

“In my case, having relinquished 1.5 metres from my house, for which I had to rearrange some things, today I see that it was worth renouncing 1.5 metres so the street could be widened.”