Corporate Social Responsibility

Case Study: Akvo Field Level Operations Watch (FLOW)

Mobile technology improves access to clean water and sanitation

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Clean water and sanitation are basic necessities for good health and a foundation for economic growth. Developed with Cisco support, Akvo FLOW is a mobile tool that collects and analyzes data on water projects in the developing world. Aid organizations use FLOW to gauge the effectiveness of their work and its impact on people.

The Issue: Outdated, incomplete data thwarts water projects

Scarce sources of clean and reliable water and poor sanitation harm communities around the world. International aid organizations have worked for decades to provide solutions. However, because their projects are typically located in remote and dispersed locations, it is hard to gather the right information to determine if they are effective.

  • Every 21 seconds, a child dies from a water-related illness
  • 433 million school days are lost each year to water-related illness
  • Failure rates for water projects are as high as 60% in some areas

The Solution: Mobile technology improves data gathering and reliability

Information gathering in the field is often done manually and is not conducive to sharing or analysis. FLOW changes that by harnessing mobile technology.

  • Data and photos from water distribution points are gathered via mobile device and uploaded to a dashboard for real-time analysis.
  • Data can be collected even when there is no mobile connection; information is automatically transmitted when a connection is made.
  • Visual map-based reporting tools complement the data.
  • The mobile phone surveys save time and reduce errors usually associated with paper-based data collection.

Impact Multiplied

More than 200 organizations, including UNICEF, Millennium Water Alliance, and Water For People, use FLOW to report, publish, monitor, and evaluate their work in 42 countries. FLOW helps determine if water points are improved, if the majority of community members have access to them, if there is enough drinking water 365 days a year, and if the quality of water available meets standards.

With 3 years of data* now collected via FLOW, Water For People’s analysis of its projects shows such positive trends as:

  • 23% increase in water level of service
  • 33% increase in water level of sustainability
  • 43% increase in public institution level of service
  • 43% increase in household sanitation level of service

* 2012 to 2014