WaterAid Australia

Changing the conversation: Simple smartphone technology for use in WASH program lifecycle monitoring

Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea

The overall aim of this project is to develop, test and disseminate, an efficient data collection and analysis system that will support WASH change agents to assess the impact WASH services have delivered for communities and vulnerable groups. Information presented through the project is shifting the focus of upward accountability from deliverables to demonstrable change and impact. This innovation proposal brings together initiatives and learning from WaterAid’s Civil Society WASH country programs into a comprehensive monitoring tool utilising Information Communication Technology (ICT). A particular focus is on strengthening monitoring mechanisms for equity and sustainability through mapping services, assessing service levels and enabling lifecycle monitoring.

The project is developing detailed household baseline surveys to:

  1. Identify the most vulnerable and marginalised members of communities
  2. Establish existing WASH service levels
  3. Assess access to external support for managing and maintaining services.

Comprehensive end-line surveys will establish (among other things), the extent to which:

  • Service levels have improved and national / international standards have been met
  • Households and vulnerable groups have benefited equally from that change
  • Access to external support been enhanced.

The ‘tool’ would be a smartphone based application for data collection that enables information to be analysed and visualized using open source software. WaterAid anticipates that this tool will provide greater accountability throughout all aspects of program work and for stakeholders interested in tracking outcomes (donors, government and practitioners). Once developed, the tool will be made available for other sector actors to use, and would therefore be possible to replicate.

WaterAid proposes an exciting partnership with the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) as research lead and mWater as a collaborating associate. mWater is a technology start-up that has already been supporting WaterAid in Timor-Leste to conceptualise what a mobile reporting tool could look like. IRC is supporting WaterAid and its in-country implementing partners to develop the monitoring tool, analytical framework and visualisation / mapping functionality with mWater.