Creating national water atlases with five West African governments
In collaboration with national governments and international NGOs, Akvo has mapped water points across West Africa and contributed to the creation of open data portals where this information is openly shared. These open data portals feature interactive maps and data analysis features, allowing governments to make informed decisions at local and national level. This information also empowers citizens, providing them with the evidence they need to lobby and advocate for improved water resources.
Sustainable development goal 6 (SDG 6) calls for the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. Prior to partnering with Akvo, the ministries of water in Benin, Mali, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia used pen and paper for their data collection on water infrastructure. The result was that data collection was a slow, tiresome, and often unreliable process. What’s more, the state of WASH infrastructure on local and national level was almost impossible to monitor, since data wasn’t harmonised or aggregated at a national level. This made it very difficult for governments to keep track of their progress towards SDG 6, and for citizens to engage in dialogue with their governments for improved water services.
Akvo has been involved since the first moment these governments started to work on the inventory of water points with smartphones, and has over six years’ experience in national water point mapping. This put our team in the ideal position to give valuable input on effectively capturing, understanding and sharing data.
To save costs and ensure accuracy, Akvo Flow was chosen as the data collection tool. Akvo staff from the West Africa hub trained data collectors in using Flow and provided a number of services, from survey design to data cleaning, to ensure high quality data collection. With Akvo Sites, the ministries of water were able to create online water data portals. Akvo then trained the ministries in updating and maintaining these portals, ensuring the sustainability of the project.
The Sierra Leone WASH data portal
Working with Akvo Flow has enabled the ministries to replace the more expensive and less reliable pen and paper method of data collection. The ministries now have the skills and the knowledge to update their inventories, ensuring accurate and comprehensive data at every stage.
With Akvo Sites, the ministries of water of Benin (currently under maintenance), Ghana, Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone were able to create online water data portals, providing a point of entry for individuals, organisations, or governments to use this data for decision making. Since the creation of these websites, all progress on WASH infrastructure is being measured, analysed, and published, providing an important foundation for both SDG 6 monitoring and the development of the WASH sector in West Africa.