IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre is leading a six-year multi-country learning initiative to improve water supply to the rural poor. Sustainable Services at Scale (or Triple-S) is an initiative to support a move away from project-based, stand-alone implementation of water systems to indefinitely sustainable rural water services delivered at scale (download factsheet). Triple-S started in 2008 in pilot districts in Uganda and Ghana.

In Ghana, the Triple-S Project is jointly implemented by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency and IRC, and has a focus on promoting a Service Delivery Approach to rural water supply. One of three selected regions to pilot the approach at district level is the Volta region in the Akatsi district.

Use of FLOW

For its project and sustainability monitoring needs, Triple-S chose FLOW as their main tool. Reasons were its flexibility in implementing and modifying surveys, the combination of centralised storage and the ability for users to download data, the ability to link to 3rd party systems, and its map visualisation capabilities.

The Akatsi District Assembly used FLOW to collect baseline data on functionality and sustainability of water services. Environmental health officials and members of the District Water and Sanitation Team were trained through the Triple-S Project as enumerators to collect data using FLOW.

The enumerators recorded data from over 230 water facilities checking for their functionality, reliability, governance, financial management and operations.

The field experience has shown that FLOW significantly reduces errors in data collection. It also increases the speed and convenience of collection, survey management and data sharing and analysis, as well as increasing transparency in the data flow. Teams were able to modify surveys while in the field, without the need for reprinting, and got real time feedback on data quality during collection.

Watch Mr. Godwin Dogbe, the Supervisor of the Akatsi District environmental health officers talk about his experience using the smart phone as a data collection tool. He also talks about how this technology if deployed nationwide can impact on planning.

Watch Marieke Adank and Nicolas Dickinson from IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre share their experiences with the monitoring of water services in three districts in Ghana using FLOW. The discussion following the talk can be viewed here.

Learn more about Akvo FLOW here.

Mark Westra is a programme manager at Akvo.