About Mobile 4 Water

Approximately 20% of water systems in Uganda do not function at all, or operate significantly behind design expectations with failure rate high for hand pump based technologies. The project aims at improving the functionality of rural water points through actionable and timely information. The districts where implementation has been carried out include Arua, Kasese, Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Masindi, Amuria, Lira. Over 15,000 water points are being monitored. These include Shallow wells, Deep boreholes, Protected springs and Public taps.

The M4W project uses SMS messages and openXdata application (http://www.openxdata.org/) on Java-based mobile phones (approx. 50USD) and web interfaces to collect information. Once collected, the data is uploaded to a customized District Water Management Information System(DWMIS) that is hosted on the internet. This data can be accessed and viewed by all relevant stakeholders. Three categories of data are collected as explained below:

Baseline data is collected by the district at a snapshot of time. The project enables collection using mobile phones based on current datasets from MWE WATSUP system. The data collection processes mirrors existing local government procedures where data is collected by the Hand Pump Mechanics (HPM) and approved at the sub county before it stored as a record. current information on water points is collected HPM. An HPM is assigned the work by the DWO just by a click on the DWMIS . This work is delivered to the mobile phone of the HPM who completes the form and sends information via MTN network. An SMS message is then automatically sent to the Extension worker who approves it and a record saved in the database. The ease of collecting baseline data ensures that DWMIS is kept up to date


A member of the community or any member of the public can report a fault by sending a coded SMS with the ID of the water source and problem to 8888. The system creates a ticket and notifies the HPM and DWO for action. HPMs are able to report about the assessments and repairs undertaken. Figure 1 provides a brief illustration of the process of reporting and responding to a problem coordinated by the M4W system. All water sources are being mapped and assigned unique identifiers. Once faulty water sources are reported SMS notifications are sent to responsible stakeholders. Furthermore, status of water points can be viewed for particular locations in form of reports.


Health Assistants (HA) are able to carry out inspections and send information to the system. When collecting information, an HA needs to specify the ID of the water source. The information collected is based on the MWE guidelines for Inspection. The status of water points can be viewed in the DWMIS.

In rural areas and saving time needed to inspect water sources by supporting target inspection of problematic water sources. All information is available online and can be collected through an SMS instruction from the DWO.
The districts have been relying on outdated information on functionality of water that is compiled quarterly. In addition some communities have had to travel longer distances in search for safe water due to delays in responding to water system failures. Through the baseline data collection, it has been discovered that overall 19% of the water points are faulty. Additionally we have received over 30 SMS messages from community members reporting water point problems.
Using the system new insights into the problems affecting the water sector are analyzed and appropriate action taken. Decisions like allocation of new water sources, management of water points, training needs and support for HPMS, etc. can be made based on comparisons and trends of the information received.
By providing timely reports on status of delivery of water services to rural communities. Monitoring the work of DWOs, Extension workers (e.g. number of water points visited in a period of time, or reports on repair for funds disbursed) in order to hold them accountable to their supervisors and the general public.
It is worthwhile noting that baseline data collection was already being undertaken by the MWE. Information from this effort was compiled into the Uganda Water Atlas ( http://www.mwe.go.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=139&Itemid=153 ). However due to high costs of such efforts, the exercise has been undertaken only twice since 2000, the latest being in 2010. This information which cost billions of shillings to collect is already out of touch with reality on the ground and the M4W project has been designed to fill this gap.
Provided a means of uniquely identifying all water points in Uganda. Currently we are working with MWE on the adoption of this approach with the support of the MWE technology to generate the Identities.
Project Stakeholders & Partners

There is need for accurate and current information about good Water Sanitation and Health practices in operation and maintenance of water and sanitation facilities. Analysis information on trends in integrated water resources management and appropriate technology options for sanitation needs to be shared communities and other stakeholders to facilitate behavior change and adaptation of practices that work. M4W provides a place where policy makers and implementer engage and collect evidence for what works in communities. The project aims at improving the functionality of rural water points through actionable and timely information. The districts where implementation has been carried out include Arua, Kasese, Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Masindi, Amuria, and Lira. Over 8,000 water points are being monitored. These include Shallow wells, deep boreholes, protected springs and Public taps. The M4W project received seed funding from African Transparency and Technology Initiative (ATTI - http://www.africatti.org/) to SCIT, SNV Uganda and WaterAid in Uganda that joined the consortium later through EU contribution.. The project commenced in July 2011 and is being implemented by the partners below:


The DWMIS is a centralised yet customised Information system that provides information relevant for management of water operations at the district and analysis of district needs. Once information has been received, it can be viewed by the DWO who gets a customized screen of the status in the district. A more summarised regional and national outlook together with integration with WATSUP is yet to be undertaken. This application can be accessed via the web using the link: http://m4water.org:8080/m4w/index.html. In addition, a website for M4W has been created at the link http://m4water.org/index.html. Where the status of water points is mapped and can be viewed. Users are able to visualize information about water points, functionality, management and inspection on a district map. In future, users will be able to download data in CSV format for further processing and analysis.
M4w Partners