As a millennial, I have to admit: I really enjoy technology and innovation. I love to read innovation blogs and to dissect innovation theory. So just over two years ago as I began researching how innovation intersects development in the world of handpumps, I felt a bit stumped. An estimated 184 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) today rely on handpumps for their domestic water and many of these use designs that were developed before I was born. Yes, that makes me young and maybe that make you feel old. But mostly, it made me sit back and think. Is this beneficial or is this concerning? At the time I was helping Water4 navigate the policy-sphere around new handpump integration. I wanted to know why certain handpumps have more dominance in certain areas and how innovators can pilot in the sector with both evolutionary and revolutionary designs.
In 2012 we learned the exciting news that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for drinking water access had been met, nearly 3 years ahead of schedule. Yet an important question still looms large: What will it take to ensure that those who have gained access continue to enjoy their water services well into the future? And how will sustainable water services be extended to the remaining unserved?
What will it take to create WASH sectors that work?
By Patrick Moriarty, Harold Lockwood, and Sarah Carriger
Over the past few months in a series of posts we’ve been advocating for a change in the goal of the WASH sector – from increasing coverage to delivering a service over the long haul; from simply building infrastructure to building infrastructure and managing it into the future to provide services worthy of the name.
And we’ve been calling for a change in approach— from piecemeal projects to strengthening the whole system that delivers services.
We’ve shown how we’ve gone about supporting this type of change in Ghana together with the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, and we’ll continue posting examples from other countries where we’re working.
For now, in the final post in this series, we’d like to talk more about what committing to this change calls for from…
For the last six years or so, primarily through our WASHCost and Triple-S initiatives, IRC has engaged deeply with the challenges of what it takes to provide sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services. We think that we’ve identified many parts of the puzzle (and so have many others working in the same direction – we’re keenly aware that we’re not the only show in town) and we’ve been sharing these regularly through our websites, papers and blogs. But, what does it take for these piecemeal findings to be taken up and to lead to wholesale change: ensuring that the post-MDG goals of universal access with sustainable WASH services can be achieved by 2030?
Small towns and peri-urban areas are by definition found in the grey area in between the truly urban and the truly rural. Also in terms of water supply, fifty shades of grey are found in these types of settlements. People living here often fall in between the cracks of urban utilities and rural water committees. Their water supplies have characteristics of both these service delivery models – though not necessarily the best of those two worlds.
By: Tyhra Kumasi, Senior Research Officer, Triple-S Ghana
Dora is a 33 year old teacher living in Agbedrafo in the Akatsi South District. She depends on the only handpump in the community for her daily domestic chores; however she laments the difficulties in getting access to fetch water. According to Dora “even though fetching is on a first-come-first-serve basis, people bring very big receptacles and containers that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for others to get the opportunity to fetch. Because of this I am sometimes unable to fetch enough. In such a situation I borrow from a neighbour and replace later”. The problem with the borehole is that, after fetching the first few buckets it becomes difficult and hard to pump, one has to wait for a while, about 15 minutes to resume pumping for water. This is worse in the dry season, when she has to…
Back in June and July of 2012, Triple-S underwent a mid-term assessment (MTA) by an excellent team led by Dr. Ben Ramalingam. The MTA was a hugely useful exercise, allowing the Triple-S team and our partners to take some time out from our day to day work to reflect on how we were doing. The MTA team held up a mirror to us as a project and process – in much the same way that Triple-S seeks to hold up a mirror to the rural water sector – allowing us to have a long hard look at ourselves.
“Let’s invite WASHTECH to apply the TAF tool on this Household Water Treatment and Storage (HWTS) technology, the communities choices system, to determine whether it needs to be scaled up”. This came up at the 26th edition of the National Learning Alliance Platform meeting, which recently took place in Accra on theme, Household Water Treatment and Storage Strategy in Ghana.
Members of the WASHTech learning alliance at the meeting had to respond by further explaining and updating stakeholders on the project and the TAF. Abu Wumbei of the WASHTech Ghana team explained that the TAF was indeed a tool that could be used to assess the said HWTS technology, but that the tool was currently being tested on some selected technologies; and that these will enable the fine-tuning of the tool to suit the local situation and context. Thereafter, according to him, the tool will be in full operation; owned…
A few weeks ago, an interesting email discussion was held on “water point mapping” D-Group of the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN). Part of the discussion focused on how much it costs to map or monitor all water systems in a country. Various figures were floating around in the discussion. But when looking at these in more detail, it was like comparing apples to oranges. Some of the costs mentioned had included the staff time of (local) government, others hadn’t, as they considered this to be a fixed cost; some referred only to a simple mapping of water points, others had done a more comprehensive collection of all kinds of data of the water points; some of the data were expressed in dollars per water point, others in local currency per person. So, no immediate sense could be made of the numbers. A former colleague once said: “an apple is…