July 22, 2013

Cisco Awards Grant to Develop Tablet-Based Project Assessment and Management System

With hundreds of thousands of remote villages in immediate need of safe water, collecting the data to assess a community's profile, from the type of water challenges it faces, to the number of people without access, is time-consuming and cumbersome. With support from the Cisco Foundation, Safe Water Network will develop a mobile productivity tool that will enable our field teams to accurately assess a community's challenges so that we can mobilize the right resources quickly. 

This Tablet-based App will draw upon material in our Tools for Safe Water Stations, a series of standardized training modules for the design, construction and operation of a Safe Water Station. The Cisco Foundation grant of $75,000 will cover the phase one development costs focused on the community assessment module. Funded by the PepsiCo Foundation, these methods, approaches and techniques were developed, tested and refined in Safe Water Network's field initiatives based in India, Ghana and Kenya. 

"We are keen to help underserved communities benefit from the power of the Internet and communications technology," says Peter Tavernise, Cisco Foundation Executive Director. "Safe Water Network has already demonstrated a commitment to using technology to make a meaningful difference in people's lives. We look forward to seeing how better data gathering and analysis will make an even bigger impact." 

Earlier this year, Safe Water Network developed a tablet platform with the Merck Foundation and Dialogue Factory, to address the need to communicate the benefits of safe water through consistent, cost-effective messaging. The tablet program was well received by consumers and early results indicate substantial increases in household adoption. 

"Having 'tablets' in the field provides us with an opportunity to leverage them for other uses," says Paynter, vice president of strategic partnerships at Safe Water Network. "The Project Assessment and Management system will provide important support capabilities for our community assessment teams, as well as tracking data for management in our field offices." 

The Project Assessment tool will play an important role in our next phase of expansion (2013-2016) because our teams will be reviewing hundreds of potential villages to determine which will benefit from our locally owned and managed water system approach. The App will assist staff in the testing of water sources, sizing of systems, as well as determining the type of technology best suited to address the local water challenges. Reports generated from the App will identify a pipeline of qualified villages, as well as track where in the process each village is. 

A second phase of development slated for 2014/2015 will address the training support functions for local operators and field personnel, including instructional videos, interactive tools and assessments to gauge both participant progress and the effectiveness of instruction. We will also look to integrate our business analytics platform, developed with IBM, to put real-time operational tracking into the hands of our field personnel. 

This work is part of Safe Water Network's broader efforts to standardize our approach for broad replication at scale by our partners. To learn more about Safe Water Network's Tablet Platform activities contact: Nat Paynter, NPaynter@safewaternetwork.org

 

Peter Tavernise, Cisco Foundation Executive Director
"We are keen to help underserved communities benefit from the power of the Internet and communications technology."