Innovative Financing Models Can Impact Health In Low-Income Urban Communities

“Having just returned to New York from Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, I’m reminded how lucky we are in this city to have reliable water and sanitation services,” David Winder, chief executive of WaterAid USA, writes this post in Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “Increased investment in providing access to safe water and improved sanitation dramatically impacts child survival,” but “[i]n low-income areas of cities like Maputo, that is often a complex task,” he notes. “Often in low-income urban neighborhoods, the provision of piped water to homes is simply too expensive for ordinary families to afford,” he continues.   

“One way of tackling that problem is by helping local residents band together and negotiate affordable payment plans with water service providers with the help of local [non-governmental organizations (NGOs)],” he adds and highlights a community water users’ association (ACODECOS) in the community of Costa do Sol, on the northern periphery of Maputo, established with the help of WaterAid and local partner organization ESTAMOS. He goes on to discuss “a pilot project managed by WSUP (Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor), an organization working closely with WaterAid,” which “shows how offering loans to small businesses can help with the development of affordable waste management services.” He concludes, “These experiences show how innovative financing models can impact on health in low-income urban communities” and “also show the importance of linking larger systems — such as pipes for the water utility or waste management and sewage systems — with community and household-based needs and approaches” (8/15).