Skip to main content
TitleSanitation service levels: assessing services in rural and peri-urban Mozambique
Publication TypeBriefing Note
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsPotter, A., Uandela, A., Naafs, A.
Pagination16 p. : 6 fig., 12 tab.
Date Published02/2011
Place PublishedThe Hague, the Netherlands
Publication LanguageEnglish

WASHCost has developed a range of indicators to cover service levels associated with sanitation facilities and used them to provide a wider ranging and more nuanced assessment of sanitation facilities available to Mozambicans than traditional measures which focus solely on the available toilet technology.

Scoring against these indicators result in one of four service levels (improved, basic, limited and no service) applied to four parameters (access, use, reliability and environmental protection).

Using these wider service level measures, WASHCost's findings from surveys conducted in 2010 regarding sanitation in rural and peri-urban Mozambique suggest the following:

Access: 7% of rural and 38% of peri-urban Mozambicans have basic access to a sanitation service.
Use: Unlike the findings of UNDP and others, WASHCost found that 99% of households with latrines used them. Findings with respect to use seem to vary in accordance with definitions of „use‟ and of latrines; lower „use‟ data is usually understood as „use of an improved latrine‟.
Reliability: 56% of rural and 58% of peri-urban Mozambicans have access to a reliable sanitation service.
Environmental protection: All rural sanitation services surveyed were found to have non problematic environmental impacts. This implies that latrines were not seen as a threat to water sources, and the disposal of sludge was not creating significant environmental pollution. In peri-urban areas however, it was difficult to establish the safety of sludge disposal.
56% of rural and 71% of urban Mozambicans have access to a limited or basic level of sanitation service, with at least a household latrine, with some type of platform separating users from faeces.
These four measures can be made into a composite indicator of service. Overall, taking into account these four elements of service, WASHCost figures reveal that 7% of rural and 40% of peri-urban Mozambicans have a basic sanitation service level.
The earlier Mozambique Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) found 5.8% of the rural population and 47.1% of the urban population have access to a latrine with a slab (National Statistics Institute, 2008). MICS‟ findings resonate closely to the composite valuation for the overall service level observed by WASHCost.

The difference between WASHCost service level results and MICS findings on the use of different sanitation technologies could support the assertion that more sophisticated technologies do not necessarily imply better services.

This assertion is further supported by the finding that taking into account the four parameters of access, use, reliability and environmental protection, all technologies aside from traditional latrines, can only achieve a basic service.

These findings support the contention that sophisticated technologies do not necessarily result in better service levels, and that reliability and use are more useful indicators of actual services received.

This Briefing Note describes and discusses these findings in more detail.

Citation Key75602
Back to
the top