Thousands of remote villages are in immediate need of safe water, and yet, collecting the data to accurately assess a Safe Water Station’s daily operations is a time-consuming and daunting task. Most data is collected through paper-based logs and then manually input into Excel spreadsheets—this process results in considerable man-hours spent inputting data, and runs the risk of human error in data reporting.
To efficiently address these data challenges, we have created a simple, user-friendly tablet-based data management application for our station operators to input daily records of station performance, which can then be viewed in our field and country offices. This application will streamline the data collection process so that we can accelerate the assessment and diagnostics of our stations’ performance with high-quality, timely data.
Our India team’s data applications make it easier for field operators to capture different kinds of data on a regular basis. The data is uploaded to a cloud-based server and is accessible to our global team, providing necessary information to plan appropriate interventions for stations that need more support and understand the performance of stations over their lifespan.
Through a GSMA grant, our team in Ghana recently partnered with open-access database provider mWater to develop a tablet-based application that allows operators to input operational and financial data into a simple interface. This data is then aggregated and interpreted by our Accra and global offices. Initial findings from this work have suggested a significant reduction in staff time spent traveling to remote stations and confirming data with operators, as well as a reduction in the time it takes to deliver and report information to funders.
Recent advances in technology and associated reductions in cost have enabled Safe Water Network to demonstrate that tablet-based tools for monitoring and reporting increase efficiency and effectiveness. We now spend less time on data gathering and processing, and can focus on optimizing the delivery of safe drinking water to communities in need while improving our stations’ financial viability.
The next phase of this process will involve rolling out the application to all stations and relying on these tools to track Safe Water Station operations using a number of criteria—from plant performance and financials to water quality and capacity utilization.
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