April 14, 2015 Society

Improving Water and Sanitation Through Mobile Networks

Leveraging mobile infrastructure and technologies to provide energy, water & sanitation services to under-served communities.

Increasingly, mobile network coverage in emerging markets is outpacing access to improved water and sanitation services, as well as energy access. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that 125 million people have access to mobile networks, yet lack access to improved water services.

It is widely recognised that access to “improved” water services may still be unreliable, inaccessible, unaffordable, or un-safe. This represents a timely opportunity to leverage nearly ubiquitous mobile networks for improving and increasing access to water, sanitation and energy services.

In August, the IWA hosted a one-day workshop with the Mobile for Development Utilities Programme and African water and sanitation service providers. Case studies from ManobiAkvo FLOW, and mWater demonstrated how mobile is being used to services. Discussion among the water service providers  present revealed that many service providers are already using mobile to improve service delivery, for example by offering mobile payments, or SMS billing reminders.

However, barriers were also identified, such as system integration and customer education, and with this, a clear opportunity for building out more developed mobile-enabled water and sanitation services.

A New Phase of the M4D Utilities Innovation Fund Opens

The GSMA M4D Utilities programme is pleased to announce another phase of its Innovation Fund. Previously, this fund was competitively awarded to 13 grantees trialling or scaling innovative models that use mobile to improve water and energy services. You can read about those grants here and here.

We are now accepting your Concept Notes for piloting or scaling innovative models that use mobile to improve water, sanitation or energy services for the underserved.

To increase our work with utilities, we’re excited to provide a Utilities Partnership Grant.  This is specifically aimed at technology partners/innovators working in partnership with utilities/government agencies.

The information about all of the grant types as well as the Concept Note forms are available here.

Concept notes for this first round are due by 7 December 2014. However, there will be another call for submissions, with concept notes due 29 March, 2015.

Finally, we look forward to providing feedback on your draft Concept Note before your final submission, if the draft is provided by Wednesday 3 December.

Please send all inquiries and Concept Notes to utilities_grants@gsma.com.

Ger Bergkamp

Past IWA Executive Director
Ger Bergkamp is the former Executive Director of the International Water Association. He held the post between the years, 2012 and 2017. Connect with Ger Bergkamp on IWA Connect.   Read full biography