As countries consider how to meet their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), creating water supply services that are more sustainable – with investments that are longer-lasting – is a high priority. This is the case in many rural parts of Africa where today’s villages are quickly becoming tomorrow’s small towns, and demand is high for an improved system to develop piped water schemes. It’s certainly true for Benin, where I work.
So I’m in Monrovia this week running a 4 day writing course for twenty staff from across a dozen ministries and government organisations who will be working together to produce the 2014 Sector Performance Report (SPR). Today we did some fieldwork – the group split into three and each visited a community in or near Monrovia.
We wanted to collect some data to illustrate the opportunities and challenges of data collection, presentation and analysis. The first challenge came yesterday when I asked the group to agree on three questions, which would asked to at least 20 people at each visit site.
The first question to be agreed on was “Where do you get your drinking water?”. Pretty straight forward, except that this morning when I wrote up the questions I accidentally wrote “Where do you get your water?”. The consequence was interesting – one team asked about “water” rather than “drinking water” and they were the only ones where some of the respondents gave multiple answers: “Sometimes we get our water from the handpump, sometimes from the well, sometimes from the pipeline” said one woman, interviewed by Watara Sackor, from the Ministry of Public Works.