Custom WASH Management Information System for subnational water offices
The WASH SDG programme is a consortium of Dutch NGOs dedicated to sustainably improving water, sanitation, and hygiene services for more than two million people in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Its three-pronged approach consisted of increasing demand for improved WASH services, improving the quality of service provision, and improving governance of the WASH sector.
Above: Photo by Ravi Sharma on Unsplash.
Many of the countries had WASH monitoring systems at the national level, but struggled with collecting and sharing timely data due to the lack of financial, personnel and digital resources. The data was often out-dated by the time it reached sub-national entities such as district and municipal water offices. Also, the national level data tended to focus on generic performance metrics, and were not at a sufficient detail to be useful to the sub-national entities. As a result, sub-national water offices had very limited access to data and digital resources to accurately and systematically determine the most vulnerable populations, track the status of water and sanitation infrastructure and monitor the quality of WASH services.
Akvo developed a customised WASH management information system (MIS) for sub-national water offices in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal and Uganda. Design of the system was according to Akvo’s Task-Based Approach where every aspect was tailored towards the roles and responsibilities of the intended users. In particular, the MIS provides the insights needed for annual strategic and project planning, and monitoring the compliance of water operators. Furthermore, the WASH indicators are fully compatible with the national level, so the collected data can be aggregated by the national monitoring systems. Some of the critical features of the MIS included:
- Login access for three levels of users
- Ability to input data via webforms, spreadsheets and direct entry, and
- Storing and visualising changes to WASH parameters over time.
Above: A screenshot from the WASH MIS system for Nepal showing the main source of drinking water, the water service level, and the sanitation service level for the province of Surkhet.
An immediate impact was the desire and excitement of the sub-national water office to collect new data for the MIS. They recognised the benefit of the system for effective decision-making, and streamlined processing. All they had to do was collect the data. The MIS made it easy for data entry and analysis. With the new data, the water offices are in a good position to conduct their annual WASH planning for 2023. By collecting their own data, this also provides the WASH offices confidence in advocating for funding when discussing with national counterparts. The next step in 2023 is to handover the MIS’s to government offices. This includes moving the systems onto their servers and helping them to prepare the financial and technical resources to support the systems for the long-term.