Knowledge sharing on mobile phone for water, sanitation, and hygiene (mWASH) applications

Knowledge sharing on mobile phone for water, sanitation, and hygiene applications

WASH SMS is an open-source communication and tracking mechanism that uses messages from mobile phones to develop crowd-sourced data on the status of water and sanitation services, resources, and related issues. The data is provided publicly in the form of maps and reports for use by communities, utilities, government agencies, NGOs, and the media. The team behind WASH SMS is interested in connecting with others implementing similar projects which facilitate information exchange and collection to support improvements in water supply, sanitation, and hygiene in the short and long term.

The WASH SMS system provides an immediate, transparent and multi-directional way for utilities and customers to manage existing problems and also better plan for the future. It allows for the development of data direct from the community as an alternative information source about the status of water at the local level. It helps develop and empower citizen voices to advocate for what they need, and assists local governments and utilities to meet community needs and plan for the future.

WASH SMS builds on successful open-source systems like Ushahidi and Huduma, and extends these to enable both reporting and information viewing by residents, focus on information for urban water and sanitation service delivery and long-term monitoring, and open up multi-channel communication among residents, utilities, local government, and the informal water sector. The features of the platform (currently in pilot development in two Indonesian cities) include:

-          Multi-directional communication

-          Community-driven list of issues

-          Support for unstructured report submissions

-          Automated responses to obtain more information for complete reports

-          Automated data mapping

-          Regional broadcasting function

-          Multiple report formats to meet multiple stakeholder needs

-          Data collection and tracking for use in short-term issue resolution, and long-term planning

-          An issue tracking website for system and participation monitoring to identify any system problems and track the number of participants by location and time

WASH SMS is being developed by Nexleaf Analytics (nexleaf.org) and Pacific Institute (pacinst.org), through a pilot project in Indonesia. We are interested in sharing the above enhancements with other implementers and developers in order to learn from each other during the development phase. If you are interested, or for further information about this project, please contact Misha Hutchings, Project Manager, at mhutchings@pacinst.org, or Meena Palaniappan, Project Director, at mpal@pacinst.org.

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