Defender or Prius? When it comes to WASH technologies, are we asking the wrong questions?

In her latest blog post "What’s wrong with a free car?", Susan Davis of Improve International argues that giving away cars for free would not solve mobility problems for those on low incomes and that likewise, with WASH projects, giving away a capital asset does not help a 'beneficiary' if it leaves them with crippling running … Continue reading Defender or Prius? When it comes to WASH technologies, are we asking the wrong questions?

Remote water monitoring – no more excuses?

Improve International

By Susan Davis, Executive Director, Improve International

This might sound obvious, but when you build a water system for a poor community, the point of it is to provide safe water to those families, reliably, for a long time – if not forever.  That’s what charitable organizations are telling their donors, at least:  “$25 will save a life!”  Well, that water system is not saving lives if it breaks, is it?

So how does the charitable organization, or the donor, know if the water system is still working?  The customers in the community know right away when it breaks, of course, but they often don’t know who to call.  Governments in developing countries focus more on providing new water systems to communities than looking back to see whether old systems are still working. The organization that built it could send staff to visit the communities, but many say they don’t…

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