29% of people lacked safely managed drinking water supplies and 55% were without safely managed sanitation services in 2017 (JMP, 2019). This is a crisis.
And yet we are running relatively blind in the water and sanitation sector. Blind in terms of who is providing what services and whether they are up to standard. Blind in terms of the investments going into the sector. It is estimated that USD 114 billion / year is required to meet SDG 6.1 + 6.2 (Hutton & Varughese, 2016) while overseas development aid is close to USD 18 billion / year. Much more is needed.
There is a need to join everyone together to get more insight in water and sanitation services. By linking together all the WASH information in the WASH Web we can make it more attractive to work on WASH. Visibility of the real situation on the ground will stimulate the engagement of finance, civil society, and governments to meet the SDG commitments and other national development plans.
At WASHNote, we have identified three pathways to start to build a WASH Web ecosystem:
1. The WASH Web thesaurus of WASH knowledge in many languages to link knowledge sources together.
2. The WASH Web dataset of countries and currencies to be able to better track WASH finance over time.
3. The WASH Web registry of WASH organizations to know who is doing what.
The WASH Web will be where you go to easily find all the public information on what has happened in a service area. This will ensure users, civil society, new district staff, NGOs and the private sector all have access to key information and insights needed to discuss, plan and achieve the water and sanitation related Sustainable Development Goals.
Why call it WASH Web?
We believe deeply in open standards. The World Wide Web is built on collaboration of different institutions agreeing to set a standard way to share information and to “hyperlink” from one web page to another. It unlocked communication and information in unprecedented ways. Now we have Wikipedia, Google, Facebook, all building on this collection of standards. The WASH sector needs a way to hyperlink all the information that is already there and provide everyone from decision makers to water and sanitation service users access to key information on their service areas. Only then can we all accelerate action and collaboration on achieving the water and sanitation related Sustainable Development Goals.
WASHNote is committed to working with open source communities, standards organizations, and data providers to ensure an open WASH Web built on the best standards for data access, security and privacy.