Using ICT for Sanitation; eSani, mSani? (ICT is Information and communications technology)

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Using ICT for Sanitation; eSani, mSani? (ICT is Information and communications technology)

Dear all,

I am Nick Veldwijk, programme officer WASH for development cooperation Simavi in the Netherlands. Here I am involved with programme management of WASH programmes (particularly in Southeast Asia) and my expertise lies in Social Entrepreneurship. My background is not quite technical - International Public Health. I love to see all the knowledge and experience being shared in all these posts.

Maybe I have not put my questions in the right category: I have some experience in using ICT (mobile devices) in health related topics in Bangladesh and within my current work we are working with akvo; a monitoring (reporting) and evaluation tool which is used in mostly all our programmes.

As a report from the Pacific Institute and Nexleaf states ([url=http://]http://pacinst.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2014/04/mwash.pdf[/url]):

- Technology is making it easier for people to access information
- Technology is spurring demand for information access and transparency
- Technology is enabling communities to coalesce around issues of concern
- Technology is making communication between stakeholders more immediate

I was wondering if there is any knowledge and experience available about using ICT (mobile devices) for Sanitation education, health informatics, marketing and other support systems. A lot has been done in Monitoring and Evaluation but I am curious what is your experience with this for other purposes.

[url=http://]http://pacinst.org/publication/mwash-mobile-phone-applications-for-the-water-sanitation-and-hygiene-sector/[/url]

Another main questions remains that, if available, how can ICT be incorporated within a sanitation business model. Within my experience within mHealth, this remains difficult since a lot of actors are still involved and acceptance of users is still taking a lot of time.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

++++++++
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  • eshaylor
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Re: Using ICT for Sanitation; eSani, mSani?

Hi

I have been using Mobenzi Researcher both in South Africa and now with Oxfam in the Philippines. With Oxfam we are using it as a survey collection tool for data collection on hand washing.

However in South Africa we used it as a tool for remote management of our social franchise programme. We developed an assessment tool that was loaded onto tablets this was used to carry out before and after assessments and photos of the facilities being serviced, it also served as a 'happy' form for the customer to say how happy they were with the service. However we found that getting the data collected was only one side of things it was utilising it once we had it.

With a team of software developers we used the data to generate invoices for payment, maintain our internal control sheets and to flag cases where there were serious failures in sanitation provision. When I left the team were working on automatic flagging of assessment forms that fell outside of set parameters and highlighting them to supervisors if there were any gaps in data. The information received was live as long as there was an internet connection so it allowed us to track how long teams were on site and that they were spending the right mount of time in each place.

By giving our franchisees the tablet it also increased the level of professionalism on site and allowed them to use the tablet for personal banking and preparation of documents increasing the efficiency with which they run their business.

The key lesson I have learnt in both places is that to make ICT reach its full potential and not just put your data into a spreadsheet, you need to work with software developers who can make your data truly useful.

I hope this helps
Esther

Esther Shaylor
WASH Communications and Knowledge Management Adviser
Oxfam GB
Working on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Phase 3 SuSanA project (see here: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )
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Re: Using ICT for Sanitation; eSani, mSani?

Dear Nick,

I wanted to pick up on this topic which you started a month ago. I think it's an interesting topic; I see from our health colleagues on the HIFA discussion group that they often talk about mhealth - using mobile phones to spread information about public health issues (right?)

We're probably not quite there yet with "mSanitation" but perhaps some things are moving in that direction.

I have taken a look around the forum and found four threads where we have discussed this in the past: Can you tell us if any of these other threads are giving you any clues or tell us more about your ideas?
Would the use of mobile phones to access sanitation-related content on Wikipedia also fall into this category?

What are barriers and opportunities in this respect?

Regards,
Elisabeth

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Re: Using ICT for Sanitation; eSani, mSani?

Hi Esther,

Your use of technology for remote management of franchisees is interesting! There's a lot of talk about mobile or electronic data collection (through programs like AkvoFlow), but not enough about other applications for sanitation business, especially sales management, financial reporting and record keeping, and monitoring for timely delivery and adherence to minimum standards. I think the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) in Indonesia are developing mobile sales management tools for sanitation, although I don't know how far along they are.

I'd be interested to hear more about your experience (and other people's experiences) using technology for social franchise management. There are a lot of potential applications for those of us working in sanitation marketing or sanitation as a business.

Emily

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Re: Using ICT for Sanitation; eSani, mSani?

Somewhat related, but I recently came across this interesting suite of SMS and automated voice response systems developed mainly for the health sector; but I can see a few ways how this could be really helpful for wash projects as well: instedd.org/technologies/

I knew FrontlineSMS and RapidSMS before, but the Instedd system seems quite a bit more flexible and easy to use.

Krischan Makowka
Microbiologist & emergency WASH specialist
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Re: Using ICT for Sanitation; eSani, mSani?

I saw an article about use of SMS in faecal sludge management in Dakar, Senegal, and thought of this forum thread (by the way, I have created a new sub-category on the forum called "mobile phones, ICT for sanitation" to keep it all together in one convenient place:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/197-mo...nications-technology ).

The article was in the Guardian and had the title:

'We want to turn poo into gold': how SMS is transforming Senegal's sanitation

See:
www.theguardian.com/global-development-p...s-senegal-sanitation

It is part of this Gates-funded project in Senegal that seems to be producing very good results:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/99-fae...tion-processing#5057

A section from the article:

Now the text service – comparable to the Uber taxi app – has a database of 65,000 customers who send an SMS whenever they need their pits emptied. The computer sends out a tender to all the pit emptiers in the vicinity, triggering a bidding war.

The “Uber-ification” of waste management has broken the back of the informal pit emptiers’ union that fixed high prices for an unenviable job not properly regulated by the government, says Mbeguere.

“In the first year of the service, the average cost of emptying pit latrines decreased from $150 to $90 a year. For someone earning less than $2 a day, that’s a big difference,” says Mbeguere, who says the target for the service is $60 per year.


Sounds really good. However, I am wondering a little bit if the pit emptying companies are "squeezed" so hard now that they may pay even less to their workers who are doing this unpleasant job? If the service has become cheaper, who is losing money now?

But anyhow, under the banner of mobile ICT for sanitation, this could be one interesting example?

Regards,
Elisabeth

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Re: Using ICT for Sanitation; eSani, mSani?

ICT and information data collection on mobile phones are important for analysis and data collection. ODK Open data kits sources are mostly used in data collection in WASH Projects. Mfield work and other platforms may be used including Mobenza researcher and opi data collect.
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