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A conceptual framework for using information and communication technologies to improve service delivery in the rural water sector.

TitleUsing ICT for monitoring rural water services : from data to action
Publication TypeWorking Paper
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsDickinson, N, Bostoen, K
Secondary TitleTriple-S – Working Paper
Volumeno. 4
Pagination57 p. : 9 fig., 3 tab.
Date Published2013-04-01
Keywordsburkina faso, case studies, ghana, information and communication technologies, management information systems, monitoring, rural supply systems, sustainability, water supply services

This paper provides a conceptual framework for using information and communication technologies to improve service delivery in the rural water sector. This framework defines information systems and the information system users for monitoring rural water supply. The paper  reviews cases from the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre to illustrate principles and considerations that should help in scaling up the effective use of ICT for monitoring in the sector. It builds on previous IRC publications on sector monitoring, service delivery indicators and the service delivery approach. In addition, the paper takes two cases in Ghana and Burkina Faso to illustrate the conceptual framework and how it can be applied.

The cases showed the basis for using data to improve service delivery:

  • useful monitoring reports can be generated only if the right indicators are collected and reporting formats are standard
  • information improves service delivery only if it is targeted to those charged with taking action, their roles and responsibilities are clear, and the costs of maintenance are covered
  • an information system will be sustainable only if the recurrent costs for its management and analysis of data are budgeted

Flexible information systems for monitoring rural water supplies can be developed to meet sector information needs. It may require a shift in thinking on the part of governments, donors and other sector actors to ensure that money and staff are reliably available. The growing reach of the Internet, mobile networks and cloud services will allow people collect the information they need to improve services in even the most remote rural areas. However, it is up to sector stakeholders to ensure that these information systems are funded, designed, and used to reach sustainable rural water services at scale.


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