New mobile citizens and waterpoint sustainability in rural Africa
- Start date: 01 September 2012
- End date: 31 August 2015
Living in rural Africa has long been synonymous with being poor and water insecure. In 2012 more Africans will have access to mobile communication services than improved water services. Africa's rapid growth in mobile handset ownership and mobile network coverage can provide a key platform to resolve one of its oldest problems - safe and reliable water access. This project will work with the Government of Zambia and UNICEF to examine how a new technology developed by Oxford University that automatically texts information on handpump use can improve reliable access to water services for the rural poor. Our research aims to understand how the availability of objective and reliable information on handpump performance will influence the relationship between Africa’s ‘new mobile citizens’, communities, government and donors to accelerate and maintain improved water services, and to evaluate social and economic outcomes for the rural poor.
The project will generate technical data on handpump performance, and interview and survey rural water users. Workshops and interviews will be held with government, NGOs and donors. Findings will be published on a project website including open-access reports and academic papers. Local and international media will share the findings and implications to increase awareness and uptake.