Harro Riedstra via web
National WASH mapping
In Ethiopia we collaborated with the government to map the WASH infrastructure of the dry Somali region in the East. The mapping exercise was supported by Unicef , who used the data to develop a maintenance plan to repair non-functional water points. We also produced a visualisation with Akvo Lumen that was presented to our key partners in Ethiopia in August (see RSR update: https://rsr.akvo.org/en/project/6451/update/20607/).
During that same visit we spoke to SNV and PSI about the Transform WASH program in the Horn of Africa and the role Akvo could play in monitoring and evaluation. This was followed by a Flow training to SNV Ethiopia staff in September for data collection of the above mentioned program.
In Mozambique we partnered with BTC and SNV to map WASH infrastructure with Akvo Flow in Gaza province, Nampula and Zambezia respectively. Meanwhile, we made a breakthrough with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation (DNAAS) regarding national WASH mapping. Initially the Ministry was planning to develop their own tool (mSINAS), but at the end of 2017 we heard they had finally decided to use Akvo Flow instead. From February 2018 onwards all implementing partners collaborating with DNAAS will use Akvo Flow to collect WASH infrastructure data and all data will be monitored and managed by DNAAS (who will also be the owner of the Akvo Flow instance).
In neighbouring Zambia we experienced a setback, when we were unsuccessful in our bid to complete water point mapping with Flow after ±50 districts had already been done.
In Rwanda the WASH sector also proved to be challenging. Akvo failed to get preselected for a call for proposals for the development of a national MIS system as the bid was only open to locally registered companies. We reached out to the preferred candidate, Hydrophil, but they indicated they wanted to use/develop their own tools. Currently the MIS is being designed and all WASH partners are expected to work with the tools to be proposed by Hydrophil. From our experience in Mozambique however, we have learned that development of appropriate tools can be quite challenging and there might still be opportunities for Akvo to step in, especially as we have built a good rapport with local partners like Water for People, SNV, UNICEF, JICA and the Ministry of Infrastructure. During a visit to our key Rwandan partners in autumn, we discovered that there is a need for M&E tools in the agricultural sector as the landlocked country is struggling to feed its growing population. We are now in negotiation with SNV Rwanda to collaborate in the HortINVEST project with Akvo providing M&E support.
In Tanzania, Akvo is supporting GIZ with M&E services in the IWaSP (International Water Stewardship Programme), which was reviewed very positively during GIZ’s international learning event in Arusha in October 2017 (see RSR update: https://rsr.akvo.org/en/project/6142/update/19929/). In the course of 2018 a decision will be made whether the M&E approach (using RSR and Flow) shall be up-scaled to the other countries in East Africa where the IWaSP programme is implemented. Another interesting opportunity in Tanzania is a potential collaboration with Twaweza and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation to map water quality in all districts of Tanzania (especially E.coli). Early 2018 a small pilot will be rolled out, using Akvo Flow and Caddisfly.
Supporting fragile states & national wASH mapping Uganda
Northern Uganda harbours many refugee camps with people who have fled from neighbouring countries like South-Sudan and DR Congo. One of the key challenges in refugee camps is providing safe drinking water. In collaboration with MSF Holland we are piloting the use of Akvo Caddisfly for field-based water quality testing. The Red Cross in Uganda has shown interest as well and we hope to expand the water quality testing to their camps in northern Uganda. Moreover, IOM is planning to use Flow to collect data on refugees coming into Uganda.
In the rest of the country there is also an opportunity to improve the provision of WASH services. That’s why we organised a one-day workshop in Kampala to showcase the potential of Akvo tools to six key stakeholders in the WASH sector: Welthungerhilfe, Ministry of Water and Environment, Stromme Foundation, KFW, ICCO & IOM. Together with the Ministry of Water and Environment and the German development bank KFW we are also exploring the use of Akvo Flow and Lumen for National WASH mapping (pilot of 60,000 water points). In South-Sudan we were asked by Welthungerhilfe to monitor their emergency aid programs with Akvo flow. We also learned about the challenging WASH situation during a meeting with South Sudanese government officials at the 2nd rural WASH forum in Ivory coast. Akvo gave a presentation during the plenary session on field-based water quality testing with Akvo Caddisfly and how it could be used to improve rural water supply. Representatives from governments and international organisations from all over Africa could also try out Caddisfly themselves. Finally, in 2017 we lacked the capacity to discuss WASH mapping with stakeholders in DR Congo. Hence, this activity has been rescheduled to 2018.
Additional activities: Tanzania & UN environmental assembly in Kenya
Fluoride contamination of water sources is a major issue for communities living in the Rift valley countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Akvo attended the EU-funded FLOWERED workshop in Tanzania to present the use of mobile technology for water quality testing that can detect among others contamination of water with fluoride (see RSR update: https://rsr.akvo.org/en/project/6451/update/21119/)
In December one of the biggest gatherings of environmentalists on the globe was held in Nairobi: the UN environmental assembly (UNEA). Akvo participated in a panel on water quality during the science business event and demonstrated field-based water quality testing (E.coli) at Nairobi river during an international media field trip. We were also present at the innovation expo and held talks with UN’s Global Environment Monitoring System for freshwater (GEMS/Water) to use Akvo Caddisfly for field-based ambient water quality testing in Africa (SDG indicator 6.3.2). We are currently developing a joint proposal for a pilot in Liberia and Uganda. See RSR updates: https://rsr.akvo.org/en/project/6451/update/20606/ and https://rsr.akvo.org/en/project/6451/update/20494/)