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Tracking Change, Household by Household, in East Africa

Lifewater picks AKVO to help families with water, sanitation, and hygiene in Ethiopia.

 

Lifewater has deployed the cloud-based platform AKVO Flow to monitor and evaluate water, sanitation, and hygiene programs in East Africa by tracking healthy behaviors all the way down to the household level.

“This technology allows us to monitor the effectiveness of our community WASH promotion and education efforts in real time,” said Zerihun Hailu, Lifewater’s Ethiopia Country Director, who is overseeing the first rollout of AKVO’s FLOW software among Lifewater’s sanitation and hygiene promoters in the West Arsi region of Ethiopia. “When we are effective, we will know it, and we can work more efficiently by directing our efforts where we see more effort is needed.”

Lifewater is a California-based non-profit working to address the world’s water and sanitation crisis that leads to the death of over 1,600 children under age five each day. Since 1977, Lifewater has been working around the world to help vulnerable children and families lead healthier, longer lives through easier access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation, and effective hygiene behaviors. Last year alone Lifewater reached over 50,000 people in Africa and Asia with WASH.

AKVO’s Flow is a mobile software, which also functions offline, and allows those working with disadvantaged populations to track, report, and collaborate on infrastructure and services with current, accurate data. Lifewater is putting these tools in the hands of community WASH promoters who spend years working with households in their region to adapt healthy behaviors. WASH promoters can record and report on several indictors with their smart phones, including whether a family has adequate WASH access, whether they are demonstrating healthy WASH behaviors, and whether their health is stable.

With AKVO, Lifewater’s staff will be able to see whether their efforts are leading to long-term, sustainable changes in infrastructure and behavior. Photos and GPS coordinates also serve to authenticate data and offer more transparency in remote areas. “By putting these tools in the hands of our staff in the field, we are able to remove a lot of the human error that can occur between paper surveys and digital reporting,” says Dr. Pamela Crane-Hoover, Lifewater’s VP of Global Programs.

The real-time monitoring and evaluation tools also help program leaders adapt to the changing needs of the region, making investments more accurate and timely. Crane-Hoover reports, “We are able to engage in more critical thinking about our work with the data AKVO Flow allows us to collect. We can see what is working and why, and we can scale up our efforts and reach more households in greater depth.”

Lifewater’s President/CEO Justin Narducci claims, “AKVO’s platform is a really exciting development in the WASH sector, enabling real-time monitoring and evaluation tools to inform our strategies and help us serve more people, more effectively. We’re accelerating the pace of long-term change, and that is great news to those who still live without safe water or sanitation.”

Lifewater plans to expand its use of AKVO technology in Uganda and Cambodia during 2016.

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Lifewater International is a non-profit Christian water development organization dedicated to effectively serving vulnerable children and families by partnering with underserved communities to overcome water poverty. With experience in more than 40 countries since 1977, Lifewater serves people of all faiths, focusing on contextually appropriate water sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) development. For more information, contact Christine Zurbach (czurbach@lifewater.org) or visit www.lifewater.org. Lifewater International is based in San Luis Obispo, CA.