by Rossa O’Keeffe-O’Donovan, Economics PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania.
Which factors predict the functionality of hand pumps? Do communities free ride on their neighbors’ water sources? Are there positive spillover effects in the maintenance of nearby pumps? And what does this all mean for practitioners? This post gives an overview of my ongoing Economics PhD research, which tries to answer these questions.
Note: this research is still in progress, and I am seeking survey responses to complement my quantitative work, and help understand and interpret my results. If you have knowledge of how decisions are made in the installation and/or maintenance of hand pumps, please take this 8 minute survey here: bit.ly/PumpSurvey
Over the past decade, a dramatic shift has taken place in the water sector that fundamentally changes the way that work is done. During this time, water point mapping around the world has accelerated at unprecedented rates. Dropping costs of technology and innovative software has enabled national governments, as well as funders, NGOs, academics, and others to inventory, share, and even monitor the work they have contributed to.
There is a lot of attention for monitoring, and rightfully so. New Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have opened great possibilities to collect data, store data and visualise data on mobile phones. Maybe some of you already have used mobile phones for data collection. New ICT has brought national scale sector monitoring within reach. It has been done in Liberia, countries in Central America, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Ethiopia and many others.
On behalf of the Water Point Data Exchange, we invite you to join a one hour webinar on Thursday, February 5 at 11:00am EST. This webinar will provide an exciting update on sector-wide efforts to support the sharing of water point data across diverse stakeholders.
This webinar will provide an exciting update on sector-wide efforts to support the sharing of water point data across diverse stakeholders. Harmonizing this data has the potential to provide unprecedented opportunities for learning from the past and managing water services well into the future.
Starting with a background on the objectives of this initiative, the webinar will also provide an update on the progress made to date and the next steps in the development of the Water Point Data Exchange. Participants will be introduced to the current draft standard and also learn how they can to help shape the standard as this work moves forward.
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…
Coming up with a convincing elevator pitch for our Sustainable Services at Scale (Triple-S) project has long been a challenge. Which, given the complexities of the rural water sector itself, is possibly not that surprising. Whether defining ourselves (at least in part) as a complexity informed water services development lab will help, remains to be seen – but for us it is progress!
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”