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How can ICT initiatives be designed to improve rural water supply?

Published on: 13/05/2016

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) must take local context and existing reporting systems into account.

Making all voices count. Photo:WaterAid

Policy makers should think twice before agreeing to invest in information and communication technologies (ICTs). ICT can make rural water supply more efficient, but this only works well when ICT design takes local context and existing reporting systems into account. This is the main message from research carried out by WaterAid, ITAD and IRC as part of the Making All Voices Count initiative.

Two case studies gave clues to what does and what doesn't work. In Timor-Leste, the introduction of a national water and sanitation monitoring system was succesful because it integrated electronic and paper-based reporting. The Mobile for Water (M4W) project in Uganda proved much less successful because it used a technology that local people were not comfortable with.

ICTs on their own are not enough to make water supplies more sustainable. This needs wider reform efforts that depend on the social, political and economic forces that shape the way services are provided.

Read more in the policy briefing note:

Williams, J., Welle, K. & Pearce, J., 2016. How can ICT initiatives be designed to improve rural water supply? (Policy briefing / Making All Voices Count). Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies, WaterAid, ITAD and IRC. 8 p. . Available at: http://www.ircwash.org/resources/how-can-ict-initiatives-be-designed-improve-rural-water-supply

 

  

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