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WSP: Support to the development of national WATSAN portals for the integration and dissemination of data and indicators on drinking water supply and sanitation

Published November 2010

Despite the significant efforts already made to develop monitoring tools including national databases, following up progress towards the Millennium Development Goals on access to drinking water and sanitation, remains a major challenge for most African countries because of weak sectoral information and monitoring systems (SIMS).
The lack of reliable and efficient SIMS makes the problem of resource allocation and investment planning on a rational, transparent and fair basis. Therefore in response to requests from client countries, the World Bank’s WSP (Water and Sanitation Program) launched a regional initiative called the African "WatSan" for strengthening national SIMS. The project objective is the establishment of a platform for quick development and free hosting of national Web portals on water and sanitation. The WatSan portals, with advanced functions, customized according to each country’s needs, complement the existing sectoral databases that will be their sources of data.
They are effective and participatory tools for publishing and sharing data/information at national and local level on access to safe water and sanitation. Their implementation should help to improve: - Governance and decision making at all levels (government, local authority);- Monitoring of technical installations; - Effectiveness and efficiency of resource allocation.
The IOWater/EaudeWeb/Imedia group was chosen on tender by the WSP for the development of the WatSan platform and its implementation in the first 2 pilot countries: Uganda and Senegal. Imedia and EaudeWeb are managing the development and customization of the portal’s tools. IOWater, for its part, has provided its expertise in structuring the database, and helps countries to develop/integrate their data sets on infrastructure (wells, WSS networks ...) and on national and local statistics on drinking water supply and sanitation. The data integration work is underway in the first 2 pilot countries, and several other African countries have already expressed their interest to the WSP to implement their national portals.
This initiative is likely to become, in the years to come, one of the flagship actions for water data administration in Africa.