Changing the way we change the world

Devex article: What’s the problem with WASH innovation?

Low-tech innovation: water service delivery mechanism in Ethiopia (photo by Susan Davis)

Susan Davis’s thoughts on water innovations are included in Kelli Roger’s recent article in Devex (you have to be a member to read the full article, sorry, but here are some excerpts).

…For years, Susan Davis heard the same reports of failed or broken water systems presented at water and sanitation conferences all over the world. Innovations presented at most gatherings, meanwhile, usually focused on gadgets or “things” — often versions of the latrines, filters or dispensers that were failing elsewhere.

…The issue, Davis and other WASH experts tell Devex, is not willingness to solve these problems, but the hyperfocus on gadgets to achieve sustainable results at scale. It’s data, service delivery, and overall process improvement that should more equally or more often claim the spotlight — and the funding.

…It’s “stuff that sounds simple and basic until you realize no one else was doing it” that is really going to change the WASH game, Davis said.

…In the meantime, Improve International’s Davis plans to continue to unearth WASH products and systems innovations that are working — “If you’re not asking the right questions, you’re probably never going to hear about it,” she said — and encouraging the sector to learn from its well-intentioned mistakes.

If you’re a Devex member, you can read the full article here. Get in touch if you want to learn more about WASH innovations.

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