Harro Riedstra via web
The East Africa region is experiencing various WASH challenges, ranging from frequent droughts to high levels of waterborne diseases and pollution of main water bodies like rivers and lakes. The East Africa hub aims in the D2D project to explore the ‘power of data’ to address these problems.
Our main objectives are to improve national WASH mapping & IWRM and to support fragile states with WASH management. In 2018, we will specifically focus on five key activities: developing national wash portals; in-situ ambient water quality monitoring; water-quality testing in refugee camps; WASH portals in fragile states and a pilot on the link between WASH infrastructure and cholera outbreaks in fragile states.
National wash portals to improve IWRM
A national WASH portal would provide a powerful tool for East African governments to monitor & manage this essential asset in a region where droughts are rife. In 2018, we are planning to organise two workshops on national WASH mapping with Akvo tools in Uganda and one other African country (Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique or Zambia), with participation from the government, local partners and international donors. The aim is to develop a plan for a national wash portal pilot and agree on how the initiative will be funded. During the implementation phase Akvo Flow will be used to collect data that will be visualised with Akvo Lumen. At the end of the pilot we will organise a feedback workshop to discuss the pilot outcomes and potential scale-up.
In-situ ambient water quality monitoring
We will also be looking at improving in-situ ambient water quality monitoring to reduce pollution of main water bodies that many communities in Africa depend on for drinking water and agriculture. The plan is to start a pilot with UNEP to help them monitor SDG indicator 6.3.2 (ambient water quality) all over Africa. They already have a lot of spatial data that they would like to improve with data collected ‘on the ground’. Akvo Caddisfly will be used to measure a standard package of water quality parameters in five pilot countries. If the first phase is successful, we will look at extending it to other African countries.
We will also investigate the role of citizens science in improving water management. With GIZ Kenya we are working on a plan to train citizens in the use of Akvo Caddisfly to test the water quality at different sites of Nairobi river. Better data should empower local communities to tackle pollution of local water sources they depend on. Finally, we are aiming to look for a partner country for rural water quality testing. In this initiative, we will look at using Akvo Caddisfly in rural settings, which often do not have access to reliable water labs, to test key water quality parameters.
Fragile states In East Africa often struggle to maintain WASH services for their inhabitants, resulting in high instances of waterborne diseases and outbreaks of epidemics. We are planning to explore the role of improved data in effective monitoring & management of this essential resource. There are three main activities. First, we will be exploring collaboration with MSF and the Red Cross in Uganda to improve water quality monitoring in refugee camps in Northern Uganda. The aim is to come up with a water quality testing solution that can be replicated in other emergency settings to safeguard water for refugee and IDP communities.
Second, we are planning to organise a workshop on developing a national WASH portal in a fragile state in East Africa (Northern Uganda refugee camps, South Sudan, Somalia or East DR Congo), with participation of the government, local partners and international donors. This should lead to a pilot to collect WASH data with Akvo tools, which should improve decisions on rehabilitation and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure in areas that suffer from poor public water services.
Third, we will be looking into the role of data in improving responses to Cholera outbreaks. We are planning to work with the regional UNICEF office in Kenya to develop an early warning system for cholera in Somalia or Yemen. We will collect WASH data with Akvo Flow and combine this with information on cholera cases to see if we can predict and pre-empt future outbreaks.
Specific objectives 2018
A1 Improve WASH monitoring & management at national level in eastern and southern Africa A2. Improve in-situ ambient water quality monitoring in Africa (SDG indicator 6.3.2) A3. Explore the role of Caddisfly in citizen science water management A4. Pilot water quality testing of rural water points (SDG 6.1.1) " B1. To improve in-situ water quality testing in emergency settings by establishing Caddisfly proof of concept B2. To improve WASH monitoring & management in fragile states B3. To reduce cholera cases in fragile states through an early warning system that links WASH and Health data (DHIS2)