“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
out of 9 people worldwide lack access to safe water
June 2014 End date
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.
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.
WaterAid is an international charity that transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation.
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:
- GSM reception was reliable in the project area
- Mobile phones could be charged
- The users were familiar with and preferred using the reporting mechanism (for example, SMS or phone application) over other mechanisms
- 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.
BLOG |October 12, 2015 |Jen Williams
Responsibility leads to responsiveness: Lessons on using ICTs to improve…
BLOG |September 30, 2015 |Jen Williams
What we're learning about using ICTs to improve rural water…
BLOG |August 18, 2015 |Jen Williams
How do ICTs improve access to water services?
BLOG |August 6, 2015 |Jen Williams
Testing the waters: How ICT reporting improves rural water supplies