“We realised it was a reality, our dreams were beginning to happen”

In Maputo, Mozambique, Luisa Ernesto Macamo decided to support the drive for improved sanitation with her own money.

WSUP has been working to support the Maputo Municipal Council to improve shared sanitation in the bairros, addressing the needs of women and involving women in the design of the programme. To promote financial viability and ownership of facilities, households are required to co-fund the construction costs.

“When WSUP came to talk about the toilets they were building here in the neighbourhood, and that it would improve sanitation conditions, people did not believe… many were suspicious and thought that it was people who wanted to steal money, and so didn’t want to contribute,” Luisa says.

But Luisa recognised that sanitation was a severe problem in her community: her old latrine was always getting full, despite paying regularly to have sludge emptied by an informal emptier.

“So when the opportunity came for this new shared toilet, I didn’t hesitate and I accepted…”

But Luisa had to persuade others to contribute – a shared latrine is usually for at least three households. At first, she was unsuccessful. “Realizing that I was going to lose the opportunity…I got the money and paid the first instalment on my own.”

Once the works began, interest started to grow. “My neighbours realized that it was a reality, our dreams were beginning to happen.” This encouraged others to invest in new shared facilities.

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