Tracking WASH infrastructure in the schools of Solomon Islands with UNICEF
Prior to 2015, Solomon Islands had minimal up to date and reliable data on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure and practices in rural areas. This lack of data led to delays in decision making and confusion regarding which areas needed attention first.
Since 2015, UNICEF Pacific and Akvo have supported the government of Solomon Islands in conducting multiple national baselines relating to different aspects of WASH coverage. In particular, they have focused their efforts on ensuring the most vulnerable members of the population are served. In 2018, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) conducted the first ever national baseline of WASH in schools. The results will be used to inform policy, resource allocation and advocacy for the children of Solomon Islands.
Above: A UNICEF WASH training workshop in Solomon Islands. Photo by Stefan Kraus.
The Solomon Islands government strives for “all Solomon Islanders to have easy access to sufficient quantity and quality of water, appropriate sanitation and to be living in a safe and hygienic environment by 2024.” In order to achieve this, the government needs reliable data to serve as a baseline so that they can effectively steer programmes, policies and interventions.
Like much of the Pacific, Solomon Islands has historically suffered challenges when collecting and sharing reliable and recent data. This is partly due to the logistical challenges of reaching outer islands for data collection, and poor connectivity making online data collection impossible. Data relating to the WASH sector is no different. Once collected, the resulting data remains locked away in reports, rarely accessible to members of government or the general public.
Akvo has been supporting UNICEF Pacific and the government in designing data collection efforts and collecting WASH data since 2015. As a result, UNICEF Pacific and MEHRD were able to conduct the first ever national baseline of WASH in schools with support from the Water Centre at the University of North Carolina.
Akvo’s role was to support the visualisation of the data into a format that would allow users to interact with the data while maintaining MEHRD’s control over who can access the information. Akvo created the WASH in Schools data explorer, a customised mapping and visualisation platform which allows users to interact with the results of the survey against the specific WASH indicators.
A screenshot of the WASH in school data explorer, which will be officially launched later this year.
The first stage of the WASH in Schools data explorer has allowed ministry staff and UNICEF Pacific to engage with the results of the survey and get an accurate picture of the status of WASH infrastructure in schools. The platform is due to be officially launched mid 2019. The second half of 2019 will see the integration of monitoring data and targets so that users can clearly see progress over time.