As African cities continue to grow at historic rates, basic services like water supply and sanitation are struggling to keep up. Sparked by the continuing challenges experienced by water utilities to connect poor communities to their networks, and to recover the costs of water supply, there has been a notable surge of interest in the use and implications of pre-paid meters for water supply service provision in African cities.
Lessons from a recent case study on informal settlements in Kampala, Uganda, where water services were expanded to reach the poor in less than a decade, indicate that pro-poor policies are critical to increasing water coverage for poor people. What is telling is that revenues and subsidies earned from serving the non-poor, combined with applying rigorous business principles, were equally important in sustaining these services.
In the case of Kampala, the utility improved its financial viability by more than doubling the number of connections from 59,000 in 2004 to 146,000 in 2009 and tripling revenues between 2004 and 2010. As a result of the policy, an additional 2,500 yard taps and 660 new public points were installed in the informal settlements. Although this was a small fraction of total new connections in the period, since they were shared, they reached 21% of the approximately 466,000 new people served during this period, those in the lowest socio-economic quintiles.
If a year ago you told me that I would be able to speak authoritatively on the technical aspects of sanitation, I would have thought you were crazy! Kenya is my home; I am 130% Kenyan and have lived here my whole life. In all this time, I never fully realized the sanitation issues in my country. True, I knew the statistics but until recently I didn’t fully realize how the impact was hitting my home.
The Sanitation Hackathon & App Challenge three grand prize winners, mSchool, Taarifa, and SunClean, flew over from their home countries, Senegal, Tanzania, England, and Indonesia to attend the awards ceremony in Washington, DC. With a 64inch touchscreen provided by Microsoft, the teams showcased their apps to sanitation sector specialists at the WB-IMF side event on Investing in Sanitation.
Personne n’ignore que l’essor rapide de l’accès à la téléphonie mobile a généré un nouveau support pour la prestation des services et la transmission de l’information, en particulier pour tous ceux qui vivent « au bas de la pyramide », soit avec moins de 1,25 dollar par jour. Notre défi, en tant que professionnels du développement, consiste à trouver des moyens pour exploiter la téléphonie mobile au profit de l’action citoyenne ; il s’agit de faire des citoyens des agents du changement, capables d’intervenir, dans leur communauté, sur les processus de développement et d’en prendre les manettes.
No es ningún secreto que el rápido aumento del acceso a los dispositivos móviles ha creado un nuevo vehículo para la obtención de información y servicios, en particular para las personas que están en la base de la pirámide, o quienes viven con menos de US$1,25 al día. El desafío que enfrentamos como profesionales del desarrollo es comprender cómo se pueden usar los teléfonos celulares para empoderar a los ciudadanos como agentes de cambio, de modo que puedan influir e impulsar los procesos de desarrollo en sus comunidades.
It’s no secret that the rapid rise in access to mobile phones has created a new vehicle for the delivery of information and services, particularly for people at the base of the pyramid – or those who live on less than $1.25 a day. The challenge we, as development practitioners, face is understanding how to leverage mobile phones in ways that empower citizens as agents of change who can influence and drive development processes in their communities.
Evaluating the existence and extent of droughts is not an easy task. Not only are droughts "slow-onset" events that creep into the physical, environmental, and social systems of a region, they also have effects that span numerous sectors of a society. The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), as recently described by Dr. Michael Hayes from the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) during a recent presentation at the World Bank, provides an example for other nations as they consider how to effectively manage this difficult endeavor of characterizing drought risks and impacts.
Open defecation – going outside without using a toilet or latrine – is one of the most important threats to child health and human capital, period; ending it must be a policy priority.