Oct 29, 2010

Water for People Introduces New Mobile-Based Monitoring Tool

Organization will use new tool to track its projects in developing countries

Water For People, a U.S.-based international development organization, introduced a visual, open-source mobile-based data monitoring and mapping tool called Field Level Operations Watch (FLOW) at the annual Pop!Tech conference. The new mobile application baseline and monitoring tool allows the organization to capture, report and analyze real time and historical data on water-point and sanitation-project status in developing countries over time.

At the touch of a button, community members, entrepreneurs, industry professionals, partners, staff and volunteers can quickly report on the status of their projects, showing the world that water is in fact flowing or indicating that the water system is not working properly. This rapid feedback of information will allow Water For People to understand the long-term status of its work, build on programmatic strengths and proactively address weaknesses so that investments truly can transform lives with sustainable services.

"It's not enough to install a water point and celebrate the number of people with access to clean water on that particular day. We need to be accountable for the projects we put in place and ensure that they are operating for at least 10 years," said Ned Breslin, CEO of Water For People. "With FLOW, Water For People will be better able to evaluate its work, share the results and work toward more effective and sustainable programming. FLOW enables a faster response when problems arise and gives a voice to community members on the ground."

Utilizing cutting edge technology, including Android cell phone technology and Google Earth, FLOW enables Water For People to demonstrate real data as soon as it is reported. This wide-spectrum view into the organization's work will allow Water For People to be flexible and quickly respond when problems arise.

According to the International Water and Sanitation Centre in the Netherlands, of the 600,000 to 800,000 hand pumps installed in Sub-Saharan Africa over the past 20 years, approximately one-third failed prematurely, resulting in a wasted investment of more than $1 billion. FLOW provides the technology needed to transparently and accurately assess the status of programs to avoid future unsuccessful commitments. Water For People will use FLOW to move toward its goal of measuring the efficacy of programming results three, six, and 10 years from the project completion date.

Water For People will immediately begin using FLOW to track thousands of water projects around the world. Because the FLOW application is based on open-source standards, features will grow over time as other nonprofit organizations expand its capabilities into their areas of work.