Through a 2014 Innovation Grant the World Bank developed the beta-version of a software platform known as Ntxuva that provides visualizations and statistics from citizen provided information about urban services.

To overcome entry barriers for often marginalized and under-served periurban populations, Ntxuva will manage information from both designated citizen-monitors and spontaneous crowd sourced reports.

The platform is designed to collect information from citizens via SMS, mobile app, and Web Portal; a voice interface in local languages is foreseen to enhance access by less educated, poorer populations.

Ntxuva will be piloted in early 2015. Reports tailored to stakeholder needs and preferences will be provided to municipal service managers and governing officials, to firms providing SWM services, and to citizens and civil society organizations. Scale-up and roll-out are planned for 2015-16.

All service related information is publicly available through an Open Data API compliant with Open311 – a widely known standard for citizen reporting used in more than 60 US and European cities.

Ntxuva is based on existent Open Source solutions (Mark-a-Spot, a Drupal distribution for Open311 as well as VoIP Drupal for SMS integration) and its source code is publicly available via Github. The project also promotes engagement among the local software development/innovation community including firms, universities, and independent hackers/programmers.

About Maputo

Maputo, with a population of over 1.1 million people, is not only Mozambique’s capital city and largest city; it is also the gateway to the country for investors, tourists and immigrants. Maputo contributes over 30 percent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and has an estimated GDP per capita of US$1,457 compared to a national GDP per capita of US$332. However, it is also a city of growing inequality with approximately 70% of Maputo’s residents living in informal settlements and 54% living below the poverty line.
Based on Municipal Report Card research conducted by CMM between 2005 and 2012, the major problems identified in the city include substantially degraded urban infrastructure and service delivery, weak planning and regulatory capacity, and limited opportunities for citizens to be directly engage in local government action. The principle causes of the problems identified by the RC include the following:
• The low level of investment in urban areas of the city over many years has reduced the quality and quantity of service delivery, especially in the maintenance of existing infrastructure.
• The low level of institutional capacity, which limits the CMM’s ability to collect revenues and to implement public policies.
• Maputo’s municipal administration has historically been highly centralized and its bureaucratic organizational structure has led to fragmented and cumbersome planning and management functions. This has produced an inefficient administrative body that has great difficulties achieving the public policy goals of the CMM.
• At the neighborhood (bairro) level, there is a limited presence of state-run infrastructure and/or development projects. The majority of the city’s roads are unpaved and flood control is limited, which means that the annual rains have a disruptive effect on people’s everyday lives. Cholera and malaria are endemic, which has a high toll on the well-being of ordinary citizens.
• Historically there have been few formal venues in which municipal officials engage with citizens. Citizens have limited spaces to provide feedback on the performance of local authorities.
• The overall structure of political participation has also been limited mainly to formal elections in which citizens’ vote for elected officials in a highly centralized and constrained party system.
In sum, the weak organizational and financial capacity of the CMM combined with centralization of municipal decision-making and administration pose serious constraints for the planning and management of infrastructure and service delivery at the neighborhood level.
To complement conventional good governance initiatives such as efforts to reduce red tape, increase transparency, and combat corruption, ProMaputo emphasizes participatory urban governance pursued through the strengthening the role of local, e.g. sub municipal, institutions in planning, service delivery, and community development in low income neighborhoods; and the relationship between citizens and sub municipal structures. Historically the municipal districts were mainly political and bureaucratic units with minimal service provision or developmental functions. Their principle role was to maintain order at community level and to mobilize the bairro populations for ‘popular campaigns’, often related to health and sanitation.
With support from ProMaputo, CMM initiated a process of gradual deconcentration of selected municipal responsibilities to municipal districts, linked to a program of organizational reform and capacity building for district administrations. These reforms were begun during Phase I. The CMM’s deconcentration strategy includes not only the strengthening of administrative and technical capacities but also the improvement of sub municipal governance by strengthening the role of citizens and civil society groups in decision making, service co-production, and oversight, especially at bairro level.
Most interaction between citizens and municipal structures take place, or at least are initiated, at the bairro level. The quality of domestic and family life for most households depends on the physical environment and access to adequate public services in their bairro. Thus leadership and the quality of governance at bairro level represent critical elements in CMM’s strategy to improve municipal development and services so that the majority of Maputo’s citizens can see and feel the results. Participatory budgeting has been identified by CMM as its flagship initiative to address this accountability gap at the bairro level between the municipality and its citizens.

The Solid Waste Management System in Maputo


Solid waste management (SWM), e.g. garbage collection and removal, has been one of the most significant challenges facing the CMM as it has struggled to fulfil its legal responsibilities as an urban service provider. Even before the first elected municipal council took office in 1999, the struggle to keep Maputo’s streets clear of refuse has daunted local officials and consumed a significant portion of the resources available for service delivery.
The chronic problems with SWM were raised to a crisis level by the floods of 2000. Many low-lying neighborhoods, especially low-income informal peri-urban settlements, were inundated for weeks by waste-laden standing water. Municipal drains, including several major conduits, were blocked by accumulated waste which exacerbated the flooding. CMM’s reflexive responses to the crisis, including appeals to central government and donors for more money and garbage trucks, were not adequate to address the deficiencies of its SWM system.
A number of initiatives were undertaken at various levels beginning in 2001 to improve SWM in Maputo. With German financing, a GTZ technical assistance project (Apoio a Gestão de Resíduos Sólidos Urbanos, AGRESU) to CMM began a comprehensive program of management assistance and organizational development for the SWM sector. A new Councilor and Director for Health and Sanitation were appointed by the Mayor to lead these efforts internally. A private firm was contracted with a short-term injection of central government funding to collect and haul the waste. However, CMM was unable to maintain regular payments causing the firm to withdraw in 2002. In order to finance service delivery, CMM negotiated to collect a surtax on domestic electricity bills, administered by Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM), the electricity utility, which would generate earmarked revenues for SWM. Because improvements to waste collection were not evident when the surtax appeared on electricity bills, a widespread negative political reaction—including street protests—caused the CMM to suspend collection until the Municipality’s plans were further detailed and communicated to civil society.
During the same period (2000-3), community based responses to deficiencies in SWM at bairro level were initiated, often with the support of international NGOs. Local-level leaders and civic associations in peri-urban bairros felt the need to address the problems associated with accumulated solid waste. They also recognized that CMM, given its inability to establish adequate regular service in the urban core, was unlikely to respond adequately to the demands to establish SWM services in peri-urban areas, where they had never been extended beyond major trunk roads. As such, small-scale initiatives were needed to fill the gaps between municipal capacity and the needs of bairro residents for SWM services.
Pioneering neighborhood-based SWM initiatives were established beginning in 2001 in the Bairros of Urbanização—by a local association Associação para o Desenvolvimento de Agua e Saneamento de Bairro Urbanização (ADASBU) with assistance from Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF)—and in Maxaquene—by a local micro-enterprise Uaene Gama Serviços de Maxaquene (UGSM) with assistance from CARE. Again, stimulated by the floods and by post-flood community development assistance, these initiatives supported by technical advice from the AGRESU Project, established labor-based door-to-door collection using paid neighborhood residents and push-carts (tchovas). To establish a basis for financial sustainability beyond NGO assistance, bairro public meetings were held to establish household fees to fund ADABSU and UGSM. This “primary collection” required domestic waste to be manually hauled to collection points where municipal vehicles further transported waste to the CMM’s dumpsite. Thus from the beginning these initiatives were linked to the municipality’s own SWM system.
CMM came to recognize the effectiveness of the bairro-based approach to primary collection of domestic solid waste. However, the establishment of the city-wide fee associated with electricity bills provoked a crisis for bairro-based service providers in Urbanização and Maxaquene: residents of these bairros were being double-billed for the same service—once at bairro level by ADABSU and UGSM, then again by CMM through EDM. In response to complaints bairro fees were suspended and primary collection services were sustained for many months by international NGOs. However, this crisis in local service financing eventually produced a workable and sustainable solution: CMM signed contracts with ADABSU and UGSM to continue primary collection funded by the municipality itself, thus using the universal fee administered by EDM to finance the local level element of a coordinated SWM system supporting bairros with both primary and secondary waste collection.
The ultimate result of this innovative experience with mixed municipal and bairro-based SWM has been the adoption by CMM of this model for full-scale implementation in all peri-urban bairros. Beginning in 2006, World Bank assistance has allowed CMM to implement a variety of technical and organizational reforms recommended by AGRESU, including municipal contracting of private firms to provide performance-based primary collection in the urban core and secondary collection in outlying bairros. In addition, gradual increases in solid waste fees accompanied by the introduction of a progressive rate structure have provided sufficient resources to establish bairro-based contracts for primary collection to a much larger number of bairros. Since mid-2011 all 43 peri-urban bairros are benefiting from municipally financed primary collection integrated into this mixed model for provision of SWM services.

System Development


Being based in an Open Source solution, the first approach of the development process was to identify existing solutions that could properly address to the requirements identified during the design phase.

In any case, during the course of the development process, a set of features that were inexistent in Mark-a-Spot were developed by the team with the main purpose of:
• Respecting the requirements identified in the co-design phase;
• Adapting the technology to the local context: adapting the solution to the functioning of the Municipal system and of the SWM service stakeholders, adapting the solution to the technology readiness of people and to the technological means available to the main public.

In this line, the newly developed features were:
• A Front Page interface, with platform usage statistics;
• A Management section, where local power-users will be able to control the platform usage, moderate the community as well as have access to reports of the usage;
• A beta version of a Report section, allowing data visualization of the citizen reports according to the needs identified in the co-design phase;
• A Notification system, that alerts users via SMS and Email about updates in the platform;
• An SMS and Voice Gateway, allowing the interaction with the platform though normal cell phones.


This project’s main contribution to current similar platforms is the adaptation to unique technical and cultural features of the developing world, through the use of SMS technology, easy to use interfaces and the implementation of business process management features that allow issues to be redirected to the appropriate stakeholders.

Front Page
The new Front Page was designed to:
• Give emphasis to how the platform works;
• Show usage statistics of the Platform, establishing a first step towards the implementation of gamification tools to enhance user participation in the platform.
In order to do so, a set of actions were undertaken:
• Content restructuring with banner and call-outs, how does it work, how to participate and platform statistics
• Custom made Javascript that uses the Open311 API and displays statistics using CSS
• Loading script that animates the logo while the page is loading using jQuery

Management Section
One of the main aspects of the Platform future sustainability is the ability of local power users to interact and manage the community, having a specific area to manage citizen reports and to respond to the requests that were created.
These users don’t have, though, access to administrator feature that would allow them to change the look and feel of the platform or to other technical tasks. At this moment, the root user of the platform is reserved for the technical partner of the pilot experimentation.
To implement a specific section for Community and Platform Management, the team created:
• Custom area for “managers” (login required)
• Edit issues page with search and filter capabilities and quick edit feature for each issue listed
• View statistics page with custom dashboard
• Inquiries page with user groups and pre-defined messages and polls that can be sent via SMS

Report Section
A newly made section to allow local stakeholders to have access to data visualization about the Platform usage, getting a rapid snapshot of the SWM service status was created.
In order to implement this section, a new page was developed using Javascript that accesses data through the Open311 API and shows visualizations of citizen reports by neighbourhoods, category and date.

SMS Integration
In order to allow users to interact with the platform through SMS, a module called Ntxuva Open311 SMS was created specifically for Drupal. This module translates citizen written text in SMSs into commands that implement actions in the system.

Currently, the module allows users to:
• Report problems in waste containers (by writing a pre-defined code like the one shown in the picture below);
• Request information about a report, by sending the report id.


In an initial module, due to barriers in getting a free toll number and a short code in Mozambique, the SMS module uses a Smartphone with a local mobile phone number to receive SMS and interact with the platform through an online service called Telerivet.

During the last project mission to Maputo, a contact with a local carrier was established in order to unlock the barrier of getting a short code. For the pilot usage there seems to be the possibility of using a toll-free short code which will avoid the necessity of using a Smartphone and Telerivet as a gateway between SMSs and the platform.

VoIP Drupal and Open311 Integration

Apart from integration of SMS messages with Ntxuva, an effort was undertaken to allow users to interact with the Platform through Voice calls: a low cost IVR system that will allow users to report problems in the SWM system and show their voice messages as comments in the web portal.

In order to implement this solution, VoIP Drupal, a solution created by Leo Burd from MIT MediaLab was used. The usage of this tool in the pilot will depend on the capability of implementing a local VoIP line in Mozambique. Contacts with local carriers are being undertaken.

Notification System

One of the most important aspects to ensure that the Platform has the expected impact in the quality of service in short term is its ability to provide the right information to the right person at the right time through the right mean. In order to do so, all the stakeholders were involved in workshops to co-design the information flows of the platform and how the notification system would provide information to all stakeholders.

Workshops proved to be useful to create a better awareness of the role of an ICT platform in supporting the coordination of the operational response of the WMS among all stakeholders. At this stage, almost all stakeholder preferred to be notified by SMS. In future developments it is expected that email or API integration will be selected by stakeholders like CMM or Enviroserv, which will directly benefit from the having access to the information collected by the system.

Why Drupal and why Mark-a-Spot?

The selection of the Drupal distribution for Open311 Mark-a-Spot with the usage of VoIP Drupal modules for voice and SMS interaction was considered the best option to reach the project objectives and future scalability. Key advantages of Open311 plus Drupal include:
• The existence of a direct connection to the Open311 community;
• The fact that Drupal CMS allows the team to rapidly prototype a scalable pilot with resource efficient development effort;
• The existence of a set of modules and tools that allow the localization of the solution for the Maputo context.

Thus the technology supporting the PSMS ICT platform is a combination of Open Source tools that were selected to address the specific needs of the service in Maputo. Building on a project named Mark-a-spot which was based in Drupal and specifically designed to implement citizen reporting services in cities, a new tool was created: Ntxuva. This is the generic term for the software platform; a more specific branding exercise for the Maputo PSMS will be undertaken as part of the communication component of the field pilot.

Ntxuva is a combination of Drupal, Mark-a-Spot and Drupal VoIP, which enables users to submit issues identified in cities through a normal cell phone using SMS or Voice, but also through computers using Web Browsers or through smartphones using applications.

Ntxuva also provides total integration with external systems by respecting the Open311 standard and by enabling users to access its information following the Open Data philosophy.