How these 8 teams will tackle water and sanitation problems with digital innovation

Bootcamp on water and sanitation promoted by six innovation leaders from 3 to 7 June 2019

The six organizations combining to take this WASH bootcamp to the next level

There are 17 distinct Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but they are all inevitably interrelated. Recognizing the overarching importance of SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals),the WFP Innovation Accelerator is taking the unique step of collaborating with not one, but five key leaders in the field, including UNICEF (our co-chair in the UN Innovation Network (UNIN), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and Arm to tackle SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), by hosting a bootcamp centered around Innovation for WASH in Urban Settings.

From 3 to 7 June, eight teams will come together at the WFP Innovation Accelerator in Munich, Germany. With 18 bootcamps under its belt (including one with the UN Innovation Network last month on several SDGs), the Accelerator is uniquely positioned within the humanitarian world to offer a robust bootcamp curriculum. At the bootcamp, teams will deep-dive into field-level challenges, ideate solutions and refine project plans with the support of specialized mentors. The Accelerator will introduce teams to innovation techniques such as human-centered design and lean startup methodologies, integrating WFP, UNICEF and Arm’s operational excellence.

In addition, each team will have the opportunity to present their solution to an audience of industry leadership, government donors and potential investors at a pitch night on Thursday, 6 June.

Bootcamp participants were all a part of a Gates Foundation Global Grand Challenge Exploration, and these promising eight teams were selected from 15 grantees. Six are from the African continent, one from Asia and one from North America. Curious to know more about who these teams are? Continue reading below to find out, and learn what big WASH problems they will be taking on:

Solar-powered water ozonation (Kenya)

This team is representing the University of Illinois (U.S.), and is focusing on increasing drinking water quality and accessibility via the use of solar-powered disinfection and monitoring systems in peri-urban informal settlements in Kenya.

Pit Vidura (Rwanda)

Representing Rwanda, Pit Vidura stimulates demand and cluster generation for urban pit latrine emptying services via targeted marketing (SMS) and reduced pricing to improve service delivery and operational efficiency.

A diagram of a typical pit latrine emptying service (photo via Pit Vidura)

Kampala Capital City Authority — KCCA (Uganda)

A digital reward system for sanitation in informal settlements in Kampala, KCCA incentivizes the delivery of pit emptying and waste collection services in underserved low-income communities for waste entrepreneurs.

H2Go (Mexico)

With the support of the University of Massachusetts (U.S.), H2Go improves demand tracking and optimized water delivery for vulnerable urban households through an algorithm/analytics-based smartphone app that connects supply and demand to capture, map and assess current service provision and integrate vehicular water delivery within existing infrastructure.

A man fills his water bottle on the street from a water delivery vehicle (photo via H2Go)

Community sanitation support system — CSSS (Cote d’Ivoire)

The global humanitarian organization CARE has a project in Cote d’Ivoire that features an electronic community sanitation support system (CSSS), connecting households in slums with microfinance institutions, sanitation service providers and municipalities, providing monitoring and quality assurance.

Urban WASH (Nepal)

Supported by OXFAM Nepal, Urban WASH improves the efficiency of local sanitation systems through the integration of ICT. This includes supporting local municipality capacity for waste management monitoring, private sector waste handling activities, waste to resources business creation with entrepreneurs and waste education for local communities.

Fresh Life Initiative (Kenya)

The Fresh Life Initiative aims to solve the sanitation crisis in urban informal settlements in Kenya, enhancing customer satisfaction and quality of sanitation services through the development and integration of efficient digital customer support systems, implementation of a customer support strategy and streamlining of waste collection.

Waste collectors in action in Kenya (photo via Fresh Life Initiative)

Safi Sana (Ghana)

Safi Sana’s solution involves the development and implementation of a data collection/monitoring system for circular waste management operations, creating evidence of impact and return on investment within sanitation (i.e. waste to value).

Follow each project’s progress at the WFP Innovation Accelerator’s bootcamp collaboration with UNICEF, the Gates Foundation, AAS, SIDA and ARM from 3 to 7 June on Twitter (@WFPInnovation, @UNICEFinnovate and @Arm), and please tweet along with us using #AccelerateWASH.

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The WFP Innovation Accelerator sources, supports and scales high-potential solutions to end hunger worldwide. We provide WFP staff, entrepreneurs, start-ups, companies and non-governmental organizations with access to funding, mentorship, hands-on support and WFP operations.

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