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New partnership will create citizen monitoring of water supply in Zanzibar

Page history last edited by Rosemary 11 years, 5 months ago


UN-Habitat and internet giant Google have entered a partnership aimed at improving services offered by the Zanzibar Water Authority, by establishing citizen-based participatory monitoring techniques to support and empower targeted communities.

Using mobile phone networks to report faults in water supply systems and track maintenance efficiency through a web-based information system, the project aims to improve access to information on water coverage, assess customer satisfaction, and evaluate efficiency in the authority’s service delivery.

In the project’s first phase, 50 water points have been built in schools, hospitals and other public facilities in the western part of Unguja island and will be managed and maintained by local communities.Inaugurating the project in Makadara in early January, UN-Habitat Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka urged residents to ensure the facilities are well maintained.

In many countries, inadequate funding for providing water services means that many citizens, particularly those living in informal settlements, do not have access to clean water. Conventional approaches to monitoring access focus on tracking investments rather than assessing the results of the investments, with limited feedback from feedback from citizens and communities on the level or services received and on the performance of service providers.

Information about service coverage that is accessible and easily understood can help improve water governance, and help make sure money is invested in areas of greatest need. Informed communities are better able to demand improved services from utilities and other providers and help identify alternative approaches to meeting their water needs.

Current attempts to improve monitoring approaches have been hampered by the lack of reliable information at the local level. The UN-Habitat/Google partnership has developed new systems for collecting geo-referenced data that is broken out by gender and socio-economic group, and supported by information on the health and environmental status of the target groups and project areas. It has also established a system of benchmarking service providers that will improve service coverage and efficiency and enhance accountability to customers.

This story is adapted from a UN-Habitat news release entitled Google and UN-Habitat Partnership to Improve Data Collection, datelined Zanzibar Jan. 14, 2010.

The picture shows UN-Habitat Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka washing her hands after inaugurating a new water point, built under the new partnership,in Makadara location of Zanzibar. Mrs. Tibaijuka was accompanied by Hon. Mansoor Yussuf Himid, Zanzibar’s Minister for Water, Construction, Energy and Lands (extreme right). (UN-Habitat photo)


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