WASH goes mobile

WASH goes mobile

SNV has seen the need to improve functionality of water services and infrastructure and as a result streamline operations and maintenance to sustain access to drinking water for the 319,857 people living in volcanic Rwanda.

The concept of Mobile Phones 4 Water (M4W) has been piloted in eight districts in Uganda, steered in part by SNV Uganda and Triple-S learning programme among other partners. "The system allows water users to report a fault at their water sources by sending a text message using their mobile phones", read an article by the Uganda Triple-S Initiative in January, 2014. Using M4W, the water user sends an SMS to the district water officer about a broken pump for instance. The officer then transmits the message to the M4W system, managed by the District Water Management Office. The district then alerts the private operator (PO) of the breakdown. The PO then dispatches a technician to the site to repair the broken pump and restore the users' access to clean water.

Through M4W, SNV Rwanda aims to improve sustainable water supply service provision by both local government and the private sector in rural areas, where 43% of WSS (Water Supply and Sanitation) services are managed by private operators. 56 local technicians (11 of them women) have so far been trained and employed by private operators. SNV also hopes to improve districts' capacities in planning, management and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the WASH sector; in addition to the GIS & MS Project platforms that officials of the four districts of Musanze, Burera, Nyabihu and Rubavu are currently using for planning and M&E.

M4W will boost participation of water users in the water supply service delivery; empowering the 54% WSS that have functional water user committees. In the School WASH arena, as a follow-up to the WASH Charter that was endorsed by 322 schools in 2013, the SNV WASH team envisions mechanisms to invigorate the cause. Over the next six months, the team will breathe new life into 200 currently dormant school health clubs. They will also develop tools to monitor and advocate for the functionality of these health clubs to ensure they remain strong, functional and vibrant. The team has an awareness programme planned for 112,000 boys, girls and teachers, as well as refresher training for latrine use and subsequent handwashing with soap. Through these programmes, SNV Rwanda WASH sector will be playing its part in ensuring that Smart Development Works.