This blog is by Susan Davis, executive director of Improve International, an organization focused on promoting and facilitating independent evaluations of WASH programs to help the sector improve. She has more than 13 years of experience in international development and has evaluated WASH and other programs in 16 developing countries. Her first career (8 years in environmental consulting) involved projects like combining databases across the 10 US Environmental Protection Agency Regional offices, which is where her respect for unique identifiers was born.
What is a unique identifier?
You probably don’t think of it, but you use unique identifiers every day. In the US, your social security number is your unique identifier for the government (which is why if someone has it they can steal your identity). Your bank account number helps the bank track all information associated with you.
What is a physical unique identifier?
Well, your house has one – in the form of an address. Your car has one – the vehicle identification number. The license plate might count but it is too easily removed. My dog has an identification chip embedded between her shoulder blades because her license tag could easily come off with her collar. A physical unique identifier needs to be permanent – long lasting in tough conditions, and not easily removed. Continue reading “Why physical unique identifiers on water points will improve sustainable services”
En sortie terrain du 05 au 09 septembre 2012, l’équipe du projet WASHTech Burkina font passer les technologies d’assainissement : VIP et EcoSan à l’épreuve du Technology Applicability Framework (TAF).
L’équipe de recherche a rencontré des partenaires étatiques (Direction Régionale de l’Agriculture et de l’hydraulique du Centre Ouest et l’ONEA), communales ( la commune urbaine de Koudougou) associatives (action Micro-barrage et agro action), des maçons, des artisans, des bénéficiaires de ces technologies, tous engagés qui dans le développement, qui dans la promotion des latrines EcoSan ou VIP.
I mentioned some cool new outputs from IRC’s Ghana programme in my previous post. These factsheets present a rich picture of water services and their governance based on a total survey in our three Triple-S focus districts in Ghana.
The fact sheets aren’t cool due to their content – which is actually rather depressing. What is cool is the technology used for the data collection, the way in which the indicators we used were developed, and the impact that the factsheets are having.
By Lydia Mirembe and Deirdre Casella in Lira, Uganda –
What started off as a commonplace lecture-like meeting in the Lira District Council Hall, ended up in a spirited discussion about a variety of issues around the delivery of water services in a decentralisation framework. Conditional grants for water and sanitation; mobile phones for water; as well as Hand Pump Mechanics Associations (HPMAs) were the key issues under consideration.
As argued several times in this blog, post-construction support is one of the keys to sustainability of rural water supplies. One element of post-construction support is monitoring of aspects such as service levels and the performance of service providers, through which the support providers can better target their assistance. The last few years have seen a boom in efforts to set up information and monitoring systems of rural water supplies in many countries. Some were in first instance a one-off mapping exercise of all water points in a country; others were developed with the aim of regular updating for ongoing monitoring purposes. Particularly, cellphone technology has been instrumental in speeding up this process, as it is used in systems like FLOW (Field Level Operations Watch). A key question that comes back in the discussions on the topic (see for example the excellent discussion on the Rural Water Supply Network’s
Yesterday I read an excellent report on how the water sector in Uganda has managed to build a truly national monitoring system. The report is written by the Rural Water Supply Network – RWSN – and so naturally focuses on the rural sector as it looks back at the detailed steps in the development of a framework which has allowed the sector in Uganda to be able to learn about its own performance and take steps to improve how it functions. It really ‘tells the story’ of what it takes to build such a monitoring system and gives insight into one of the most comprehensive monitoring systems that I know of in sub-Saharan Africa.
RWSN is currently hosting a 3 week discussion on ‘Cost Effective Boreholes’ as part of our Sustainable Groundwater Development Theme. Here are some highlights so far:
It is very interesting to read the inputs so far from Kenya, Zambia, Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Uganda.
From the discussions so far, it seems that the Kenya and Ethiopia have established regulatory frameworks for water well drilling (thanks Chrispine and Tesfaye). In the Kenyan case, government regulation, which is limited by capacity constraints is augmented by the monitoring of activities by the drillers association. It will be interesting to hear more on this from Chrispine and others in Kenya. In contrast Zambia (thanks Daniel) lacks any regulation with respect to groundwater resources. There is thus no registration of boreholes in the country whatsoever and even drilling records must not be collected. Although a water resources management act was passed in Zambia 2011 it still awaits launch and implementation. Perhaps there are also others with ideas for Zambia. In Sudan, we hear from Harm Bouta about a very fragmented drilling sector with no strict regulations in place, but that there are other initiatives taking place in Sudan from which we could learn more. Continue reading “Realities of water well drilling in Africa: e-discussion highlights so far”
Rain from the skirts of Hurricane Mitch lashed the ancient Landcruiser as it hurtled along the dark tar snake of the Pan American Highway. Cans of burning oil belched out black smoke and orange flames in a line along the carriageway to demarcate roadworks. Sodden policemen waved us on as workers tried to salvage their equipment from the storm. I had arrived in Guatemala.
A few days later I was standing by the shore of Lake Atitlan, in the town of San Lucas Toliman. I was staring down a large diameter well choked with electric cables and rising mains. Off to my a left a team of community members were digging a trench for a new 4″ PVC pipeline that would snake up the ridge behind the town and down to the scattered finca (coffee plantation) hamlets on the other side.
The foreman turned to me and asked whether their pump would have enough power to get water up to their people living on the side on the volcano. All eyes were on me. Not hostile, not friendly, just expecting an answer from this young gringo ‘expert’. I was gripped by fear. My stomach cramped, my heart-rate went through the roof. This wasn’t a university field trip, my career as a WASH professional had just begun.