This past June, the US Embassy in Uganda sponsored the largest WPDx training to date in partnership with Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment. In Uganda, nearly 2/3 of people living in rural areas lack access to even basic water services. This training aimed to improve the Ministry’s capacity to utilize, analyze, and make data-driven water management decisions that ensure safe drinking water for all Ugandans. The three-day event was lead by Nick Dickinson of WASHNote and the water and sanitation expert from the US Ambassador’s Water Expert Program. A few weeks ago, WPDx had the chance to interview Nick and ask him about the training, his feedback, and more details of this significant event.
Date of interview: 2017/06/01
In June 2017, WASHNote spoke to Antonio Rodriguez Serrano, Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist and SIASAR team leader. We discussed how our water supply system was to be transformed, we spoke about barriers and about a vision for the future systems for water and sanitation services.
At the current rate of investments and infrastructure failure national policy targets and the SDGs are not going to be met. To achieve these targets we need to shift to providing services instead of infrastructure.
“We have to keep the current services functional. The most critical question is not how to breach the gap to 100% coverage, it is how to sustain the services. Data we collect should help us to understand the factors that affect the sustainability of water services in rural communities and address the problems communities are having in a certain area. Data that does not trigger action should not be collected.”
Furthermore, the aim of data collection and the responsibility one has when collecting data was discussed.
“Every data collection has a cost – a recurrent cost. If this recurrent cost is not justified by the use of the data to inform decisions the data collection exercise is not justified.”