Final steps towards the MSc degree

by Jay-el

My research topic is entitled “Life cycle analysis of the technical costs and social costs for the provision of sanitation services in Maputo, Mozambique”. In an overview, it is divided into three main parts, (1) developing of scenarios for the development of Maputo’s sanitation system in 2025; (2) quantifying the total costs, technical and social, of each of the scenario; and (3) providing insights for their improvement and its consequent implications on the perspective of stakeholders.

One critical aspect of the research is the use of representative costs data, which must be Maputo-specific, for a more realistic calculated values. So visiting Maputo for a fieldwork was necessary. Prior to coming to Mozambique, for primary data collection, secondary data were used for the preliminary scenario modeling. Initial lists of the missing and uncertain data per process were prepared to aid the fieldwork.

However, data collection did not come as easy as expected. There were various challenges I encountered along the way, including language barrier and bureaucracy issues. I had to hire an interpreter during my interviews, who also translated my data sheets and credential letters addressed to respective offices. Signatures and stamps were very necessary or otherwise the letters would not have been acknowledged. Also, specific letters in each offices were required, to give an example, the social costs data collection at the district health office took one week in every step. From the submission of letter, to passing on to a specific department, until I was directed to a completely different office from district to national. In the end, I went back to The Netherlands with my data collection left unfinished. Thanks to my interpreter and friend, Fernando, for keeping up the process while I’m away. I finally got more data, still incomplete though, just this week.

Jay-el and Iana proudly showing-off their work.

Acquiring representative data remains as one of the limitations of my research. Substitute data from other country, adjusted through purchasing power parity considerations, were mainly used to complete the calculation. Now preliminary results are ready for a short presentation at the culmination meeting of my programme, Erasmus Mundus Masters Programme in Industrial Ecology, at Seggau Castle in Austria.

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