Posts byNick Dickinson

WASHNote is led by Nicolas Dickinson. He is an associate at IRC and has been supporting country-led monitoring and evaluation of water and sanitation services at national and district/municipal levels where government, civil society and private sector set the monitoring agenda and the questions to be answered. In addition, he has worked on providing training for decentralized data collection, data processing, and life-cycle costing. He evaluated mobile-enabled water, sanitation and energy services for the Mobiles for Development Utilities Innovation Fund as a Grant Panel member and supports the commissioning and procurement of technology for governments and the WASH sector. Along with his passion for the use of evidence, he worked on developing data exchange and technology standards (WPDx) and tools for service providers, governments, NGOs and financiers.

Sanitation dialogues between more than 35 African countries

This year more than 35 countries are reporting on the African sanitation commitments established with the Ngor Declaration. As an IRC associate, in partnership with UNICEF, I have worked with the AMCOW secretariate and partners to establish a new monitoring systems for the Ngor Declaration Commitments, pilot the system in Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal and finally support the baseline monitoring exercise.

IRC has been working with AMCOW and UNICEF in this process since 2016 to design and validate the indicators with African countries for each of the Ngor Commitments. My colleauge Alana Potter wrote about our reflections on the needs of the monitoring system based on the monitoring of eThekwini Declaration.

Soon sub-regional meetings will take place for countries to exchange with peers on their sanitation commitments and the actions they are taking to strengthen the enabling environment for sustainable sanitation in their country. We are now checking each country report, generating report cards and identifying focus areas and mutual strengths among country peers. This should lead into an exciting country dialogue process and culminate this monitoring round next year in February 2019 at the AfricaSan 5 conference.

A backbone for WASH service data

There are increasingly improved data, information and knowledge resources available for our work on water and sanitation. Examples include the open WPDx repository, Wikipedia and Wikidata, country WASH portals and data collection and dashboarding tools such as Akvo and mWater and cross-sector tools. WASHNote is committed to accelerating this movement and ensuring we have the required data and knowledge infrastructure to achieve universal basic and safely-managed WASH services.

I have been fascinated by information sources available through the internet and computers since the 80s. Amusingly this was originally in the form of the video games I played which were recorded on audio tapes and would mix game text, digital images, and analog audio. The amazing thing is that audio tape could load a game onto my Tandy TRS-80 machine and also play audio during crucial moments. Indeed, a simple machine that could only produce beeps, when connected to a tape machine was still able to trigger a multi-media experience. This led to my interest in connecting devices and coding my own games and experiences, starting with BASIC on the TRS-80.

Radioshack TRS80-IMG 7206.jpg
A TRS-80 Model 1. Source: