WaterAid

Lessons from ICT projects to improve rural water supplies




Country
Kenya  Tanzania  Uganda 



Support
£81,000



“How can traditional water fetchers and water handlers – often women and children - use ICTs to get better information on their water supply and report concerns in a way that will lead to a government response? ” — WaterAid

#1

out of 9 people worldwide lack access to safe water

Start date
June 2014
End date
July 2015
Period: 14 months

Issue

750 million people – about 1 in 9 people worldwide – still lack access to safe water. WaterAid estimates that nearly one third of the water schemes that have been implemented in sub-Saharan Africa aren’t working, and a lack of information available to monitor the state of water supply at a local level means that lessons are not being learned about which water and sanitation projects work, and why.

Project

Making All Voices Count has partnered with WaterAid to understand how ICTs can be used to report breakdowns in rural water supplies, and how this information can be used to make governments more accountable and responsive when supplies fail.

Using in depth case-studies, the project maps existing innovations, investigates their success factors, and examines governance dynamics that affect both reporting and action on rural water service sustainability.

The project helps to provide a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t, and how traditional water fetchers and water handlers – often women and children - can use ICTs to get better information on their water supply and report concerns in a way that will lead to a government response.

Read the full report of the project's findings here >

Related projects

View all projects

Partner

WaterAid is an international charity that transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation.

Learning

Yes, there are some basic criteria for success

Six of the eight initiatives assessed were successful in using ICTs to get water point functionality reported to the relevant authority. The factors that contributed to success were mostly basic, common sense points:

  1. GSM reception was reliable in the project area
  2. Mobile phones could be charged
  3. The users were familiar with and preferred using the reporting mechanism (for example, SMS or phone application) over other mechanisms
  4. The costs of the reporting were not a problem for those making the reports.

Initiatives are more likely to succeed when operational costs are met by the local/national government or service provider

When governments or service providers fund the operational costs, there is increased ownership of the initiative and greater commitment to processing reports. Importantly, this also makes the initiative more likely to be sustainable in the long-term

Water points are more likely to be repaired when service providers are responsible for both processing of reports and repairs

Where a service provider or local government is responsible for all stages of the reporting and repair process, they are more likely to take ownership and commit to ensuring the initiative works successfully. There was, however, one result that was not expected... Crowd-sourced reporting does not seem to be one of them.

You can find the full research report and the policy brief below.

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