Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

  • F H Mughal
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Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) has developed a interesting game, called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation. The game, available at www.wsup.com/the-bottom-line/ , was produced by WSUP as an exploration of some of the challenges around involving the private sector in sanitation service delivery in cities.

The introduction goes like this:

“In the fictional African city of Bafini, 80% of residents have no access to a sewer connection, relying instead on toilets with pits or septic tanks. This creates a need for better faecal waste collection services, and a market opportunity for a smart entrepreneur. You run a waste management business in Bafini, and have just decided to expand into faecal sludge management. You have a positive cash flow, which you will need to maintain. Your business must impact positively on low levels of public health in Bafini, and work to get a sceptical city government onside. You cannot operate without their support! It's a difficult balance. Can you make a success of it?

How the game works:

Answer each question and try and keep your business going through the four levels. If any of your three scores reach zero, you lose!

Watch out for the random events - they can bring bad news, as well as good news.

What do the forum users think of games in sanitation? Do they stimulate interest?

F H Mughal

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  • ddiba
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Re: Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Dear FH,
Thanks for sharing about the game.
I have tried playing it a couple of times and got to the end but "lost" each time.
I think I still haven't quite got a grasp of the logic behind the game. I wasn't really sure how the "win" or "lose" result came about nor how the random events affected my next steps. Do you know if there is some sort of logical framework behind the game or it is just intended to drive engagement? Or perhaps if you know the contact person for the game at WSUP?

Regards,
Daniel

Daniel Ddiba
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Dear Mr. Daniel,

As I see it, the game is designed to test the expertise, and as you said, to drive engagement.
WSUP has a host of resource person. Have a look at: www.wsup.com/team/

Regards,
F H Mughal

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  • Guy
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Re: Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Hi FH, hi Daniel,

Thanks for playing! I'm (perversely) slightly pleased that you've not completed the game yet - we want people to play, but we don't want to give the impression that starting a sanitation business is easy...

As outlined in The Bottom Line's introduction, there are three 'health' bars: Government Support, Cashflow and Public Health. You have to make sure that none of those drop below zero at any point, or you lose. The choices you make will impact your scores in different ways, which you can see when the health bars go up, down, or stay the same after each question. Some of the answers are more obviously wrong than others, but some choices could help out your Cashflow (for example), but negatively impact Public Health (for example). There is a logical framework behind the scoring which guides whether you ultimately win or lose.

However, there are 'random events' that can help or hinder you. They are just that: random! So the choices you make in the game don't correspond to what random events appear - you could technically choose the most 'correct' options, but sometimes negative things happen that you can't control (like a cholera outbreak), and this can cost you points. If multiple negative random events hit you in a row, then you could fail.

It's based on our experiences delivering BMGF projects in Kisumu, Dhaka, Chittagong and Lusaka - so the questions, scores, random events etc. are based on real-life businesses operating in those areas. You can skip to the end of The Bottom Line and read more about why we've designed it this way if you go here: www.wsup.com/the-bottom-line/#more

But otherwise, we're very happy to go through the scoring framework behind it in more detail with you if you would like - drop us an email: erl at wsup dot com

Hope this helps!

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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Dear Dr. Norman,

For those, who have slow or unreliable internet, it will be helpful if the game can be downloaded, and saved on the hard disk.

Regards,
F H Mughal

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  • Marijn Zandee
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Re: Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Dear Mugal, thanks for posting.
Dear Norman, thanks for building the game.

I found it fun, and recommend everyone to play it at least once.

Maybe we should move it from the "Humor" category, to "Attitudes and behaviors -> Advocacy and civil society engagement" ?

Marijn

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  • Guy
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Re: Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Hi Marjin, hi FH

Thanks for your nice comments, though I want to point out that I shouldn't take any personal credit for developing this game: that was my WSUP London colleague Rosie Renouf, with support from Sam Drabble and Steve Metcalfe, and with graphics by Amit Patel of Count Creation and programming implementation by Highrise.

FH: it's an online application, and not possible to download, apologies.

Marjin, we agree that this would maybe make more sense under some other SuSanA topic heading, perhaps "Sanitation as a business and business models"?

Keep playing, and watch your bottom line!

- Guy
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Dear Dr. Norman,

My appreciations to your WSUP London colleagues Rosie Renouf, Sam Drabble, Steve Metcalfe, and Amit Patel, for producing such an interesting game.

Just 2 minor points:

1. Are there more games in the pipeline; and
2. Is there any monitoring/evaluation of the game, so as to see how the game has impacted the users in understanding components of sanitation.

Regards,
F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
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  • muench
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Re: Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Hi Marijn and Guy,
Just letting you know that I've moved the thread as per your suggestion.
Thanks,
Elisabeth

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum via SEI project ( www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • simon
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Re: Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

I tried the game and found it interesting. The feedback after every level is fascinating and to me it is not just a game to win but to draw tips about the key ingredients to sanitation business. It illustrates how important it is to consider the consequences of the next move/decisions on each of the three key areas - government support, cash flow and public health before acting.
Will play more to learn more!

Simon Okoth
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SuSanA Project Phase III, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
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  • cecile
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Re: Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Thanks Mughal for drawing our attention on this game! It takes about 15 minutes to complete and it is fun.

Congratulations to WSUP and their partners!

The 3 "health bars" (government support, cash flow and health) are inspiring for monitoring sanitation businesses given that programs often struggle in defining indicators to track their progress and potential for scaling up.

I encourage all forum members to give it a try!

Cécile Laborderie
MAKATI Environnement
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  • vissumo
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Re: Game Called The Bottom Line – Understanding the Business of Sanitation

Congratulation for this game, very instructive!
Can we join forces for showing the wastewater valuing business?
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