Learning from ODF Districts in Mozambique

SLH Learning Papers 15
June 2023

With 30 per cent of Mozambique’s rural population still practicing open defecation (JMP 2021), the country urgently needs to accelerate results if it is to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6.2. After over a decade of work by the Government and key partners including UNICEF, six districts have recently been declared open defecation free (ODF).

This paper shares findings from a review commissioned by UNICEF in 2023 to understand the enablers and barriers to success in these districts, and inform national and global discussion on how sub-national systems can be better supported to drive progress towards area-wide sanitation.

Eight enablers were identified, ranging from government and community leaders’ commitment and active involvement to programmatic strategies and funding and local market and environmental conditions. The review recommends focusing on these enablers in non-ODF districts and continuing them in ODF districts (particularly across political and staff transitions), while increasing focus on sustainability and post-ODF support throughout.

Recommendations to accelerate progress towards ODF in non-ODF districts:

  • Focus on the levers of change identified through this research to accelerate progress towards ODF in other districts.
  • Support communities to build resilient latrines from the outset.
  • Continue to build the capacity of key sanitation stakeholders.
  • Conduct a study to assess the relative cost-effectiveness of PEC/DDT approaches.

Recommendation to support districts post-ODF:

  • Review the national ODF protocol and add a post-ODF component to it.
  • Continue support for districts post-ODF.
  • Ensure regular meetings between District Administrators and Provincial Governors continue.
  • Encourage new District Administrators to champion sanitation.
  • Encourage outgoing District Administrators to document commitments to sanitation.
  • Support sanitation forums to remain active.
  • Ensure SDPI technicians have resources to continue sanitation work.

Additional details

PublisherInstitute of Development Studies
RegionSouthern Africa
ThemesBehaviour change, COVID-19, Health, Leave no one behind, Monitoring, evaluation and learning
ApproachesCommunity-led approaches

Uandela, A. and Coultas, M. (2023) ‘Learning from ODF Districts in Mozambique’, SLH Learning Paper 15, The Sanitation Learning Hub, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/SLH.2023.008


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