RWSN March Headlines

2015 Early Webinar Series + Rainwater Harvesting

What is a webinar? It is an online presentation where you can hear a presenter, watch their slides and have the opportunity to ask questions. If you cannot attend the live event, a recording is usually posted online.

RWSN has started 2015 with a series of ten webinars about groundwater, self-supply approaches and equality.  Presenters from more than 15 different organisations, working in over 15 countries are sharing their practical experiences and research findings.  Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, and meet others with similar interests. You can register for one, or several webinars by following the link:  http://tinyurl.com/RWSN2015A

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Visit to Water Missions – Deep South Innovators

Andrew Armstong at Water Mission headquarters
Andrew Armstrong at Water Missions headquarters

This year I was fortunate enough to attend the ‘Water & Health Conference’ at UNC, North Carolina, USA again. I was running a side event on WASHTech, and my partner in crime was Andrew Armstrong, Water Missions’ community development programs manager who gave a great presentation on the experiences of Water Missions in introducing solar water pumping and water pre-payment systems in Uganda.

On Monday 21st October, after the conference, I was in Charleston, South Carolina, standing in large a naval dockyard surrounded by towering steel cranes and fat oil depot tanks. On one side of the sparse car park was a sizeable array of solar panels and opposite was long, low warehouse on which the name “Water Missions International” was emblazoned in precise, blue lettering.

I was shown around the Water Missions International facility by Andrew. There are 27 staff based in this location and numerous volunteers. The building acts an office, workshop, storage area and display area, the latter being open to groups to visit and find out about their work.

Water Missions was created in 1998 in the wake of Hurricane Mitch, which devastated much of Central America, particularly Honduras and Nicaragua.  After running operations out of their environmental engineering firm for a few years, the founders sold their company in 2001 and set up the charity and today they work in Belize, Indonesia, Malawi, Mexico, Uganda, Haiti, Kenya, Tanzania, Peru and Honduras.

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WASHTech Burkina Faso : The final sprint has begun!

also visit the new TAF website: http://www.washtechnologies.net

WASHTech, THE project (2011-2013)

A few months remain before the end of the WASHTech project in Burkina Faso. The project team composed of the Burkina Faso Offices of Intergovernmental Panafrican agency Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA) of Water-Aid and IRC, steps on the accelerator to finalize the remaining activities before the end of the project in December 2013.

Among the key activities at the end of the project, there’s the organization of a national training workshop for actors in the WASH sector that will be driven by the the Department of Studies and Information one Water (DEIE). The objective of this workshop is to present the achievements of the project including tools Technology Assessment Framework (TAF) Technology Introduction Process (TIP) and strengthen their capacity to use these tools. The impacts of the project in Burkina Faso after three years of implementation will be presented. This national workshop is scheduled to take place in…

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NETWAS Uganda to sensitize stakeholders on need to have sector specific Guidelines for Technology Introduction

Uganda WASHTech update

WASHTech, THE project (2011-2013)

In Uganda the water and sanitation sector is not short of new and emerging technologies, however, there is no clear process of technology Introduction, adoption and upscale. Noticeable is Minimal contribution to the Millennium Development Goals. A key constraint to reaching the sector targets therefore appears to be the lack of systems to assess the potential of a technology and take it to scale effectively.

The Water Sanitation and Hygiene Technologies (WASHtech) project seeks to address the problem through research to assess the potential and sustainability of a wide range of technologies and design strategies for scaling up.

WASHtech has in the past 2 years conducted a stakeholder Knowledge Attitude and Practice (KAP) study aimed at assessing WASH technology introduction and approval process in Uganda, conducted a review of WASH technologies on their appropriateness and suitability.

Last year the project finalized the process of developing a robust Technology Assessment Framework…

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WASHTech at the IRC symposium in Addis Ababa

WASHTech presentation at Monitoring Symposium

WASHTech, THE project (2011-2013)

With two presentations and a pre-launch side event, WASHTech was well represented at the IRC Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery symposium. The symposium and side events took place from 9-12 April 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Introducing the TAF

André Olschewski (Skat) and Benedict Tuffuor (TREND Ghana) gave a general introduction to the Technology Applicability Framework (TAF) in a special session on the enabling environment. The session included a presentation on another tool, the Sustainability Monitoring Framework developed by the Dutch WASH Alliance.

Both presentations prompted a discussion about the number and variability of sustainability and how all these tools fit together. The presenters stressed that both tools fit in wider thinking around sustainability in the sector. Even though the tools are being developed in parallel, they both attempt to simplify the analysis of complex, variable data.

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Understanding the Technology Assessment Framework (TAF)

Update on WASHtech

WASHTech, THE project (2011-2013)

“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…

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

The Rope Pump - the Land Rover of rural water supply? (Photo: RWSN/Skat)
The Rope Pump – the Land Rover of rural water supply? (Photo: RWSN/Skat)

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 costs that they can’t afford. In planning WASH services we need to consider lifecycle costs.

There are also parallels in terms of technology choice: do you buy an old Land Rover, which will be unreliable but many things can be fixed by the owner (My neighbour and I changed a head gasket and a cracked cylinder head on my 20-year-old Defender, and I spent many happy – and unhappy – hours tinkering),  or do you buy a Toyota Prius that will be ultra-efficient and reliable, but when it does break will cost and fortune and needs specialist skills and materials.

What should water users in say, Nicaragua or South Sudan, choose for their pump? Would they be better with a handpump that is precision-manufactured out of the very best materials to make it as reliable as possible, or a Rope Pump or an EMAS pump that can be made cheaply from readily available materials, and can be easily fixed by the user if it goes wrong.

It may seem to perverse to compare the two situations where millions everyday around the world do not have access to safe water, let alone a vehicle. But I found Susan’s comparison a helpful one in explaining the value of a topic like lifecycle costing that at first glance can seem intangible and academic.  In the WASHtech project we, along with our project partners IRC, WaterAid, Cranfield, KNUST and Netwas, have embedded the findings of WASHCost from day one so that the assessment of the applicability of new WASH technologies tries to get the whole picture.

What lifecycle costing does is that it shows us that there are better questions to questions to ask than just “which technology is better”.  Instead:  for any given context, which approach to supplying a water service is the most financially sustainable? What are all the costs involved, not just the CapEx and OpEx? If water users and Government can be provided with that information, in a way that is clear and understandable, then they have a fighting chance of getting a system that works, and continues to work.

WASHTech Burkina : le développement participatif d’un outil d’évaluation des technologies d’eau et d’assainissement

Add your thoughts here… (optional)

WASHTech, THE project (2011-2013)

Des constats

Le secteur de l’eau et l’assainissement n’est pas à court de technologies nouvelles et émergentes, promues par le secteur privé ou les ONG et les bailleurs de fonds. Avant même d’être adoptées dans les stratégies nationales, ces technologies sont largement reprises  par le secteur privé et intègrent nos villes et villages.

Conséquence : La contribution des nouvelles technologies pour l’atteinte des Objectifs du millénaire pour le développement (OMD) est insignifiante. Un des obstacles majeurs à la réalisation des objectifs du secteur apparaît être l’absence de systèmes pour évaluer le potentiel d’une technologie et le manque de capacité à mettre de nouvelles technologies appropriées à l’échelle de manière efficace. WashTech propose un outil innovant pour évaluer les technologies dans un contexte spécifique. D’une durée de 36 mois, WAHTech est un Projet de recherche sur un procédé innovant pour évaluer le potentiel et la viabilité d’un large éventail des technologies…

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