HANDS (Health AND urban Space in Chamanculo, Mozambique) is one of the 5 high social impact research projects of the Politecnico di Milano selected via the last edition of the Polisocial Awards to be financed by funds from the 5×1000; the theme of this year is “Vulnerability and Innovation”.

The project aims to develop medium and long-term actions to mitigate health and hygiene vulnerability in Chamanculo, an informal neighbourhood located on the outskirts of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, and inhabited by about 150,000 people.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of the population living in Chamanculo, which, however, was pre-existing due to the lack of health services, inadequate urban infrastructure (roads and public spaces), overcrowding and poor waste management.

The actions that HANDS propose to implement aim at a general improvement in the conditions of the neighbourhood by combining health and hygiene and environmental projects in a systemic manner: setting up a “Social Laboratory” to enable the production of Polichina sanitising gel, promoting better waste management and an energy production model appropriate to both urban and domestic scale, transferring technological skills to local stakeholders.

The multidisciplinary approach of the project is evidenced by the range of Politecnico departments involved: in addition to the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, headed by Scientific Director Camillo Magni, also the Department of Architecture, Construction Engineering and the Built Environment, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Energy and the “Giulio Natta” Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering. HANDS also sees the collaboration of AICS Mozambique, AVSI, Architects Without Borders Italy and Spain, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane.

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