Making waves: tech for water in Sierra Leone

Nonso Jideofor

19 Apr 2018, 10 a.m.
Auditorium 1

Water in Sierra Leone is a complicated issue. On the one hand, availability is high: the country is surrounded by a significant water mass, has high rainfall, and boasts strong infrastructure including dams. On the other hand, access is low: in the capital city of Freetown, water is a scarce commodity, and the situation is worse in rural areas. Finally, while technology has played a role in addressing water challenges in multiple sub-Saharan African countries, innovative approaches to close the gap between availability and access are limited in Sierra Leone.

Through their Matchbox programme, the Engine Room partnered with Code for Sierra Leone to understand the role technology could play in addressing the water issues. Civic Technology work can sometimes overlook the need to involve and understand the human side of the solution. Sometimes it even runs counter to the goals of collaboration and engagement in governance and public service delivery. The Engine Room’s experience and assessment demonstrated that the most valuable method was the one that fostered collaboration and engagement.

This presentation walks through: The research method used in deciding the role technology could play; What the approach and findings reveal about the impact of technology and; How the research evidence supports / validates the research methodology.

Three plausible solutions were developed, using two methods: a hackathon/bootcamp and design research. This presentation compares these methods and their outcomes. It shows the tradeoffs between the methods, and their overall value to Civic Technology work.

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Making waves: tech for water in Sierra Leone (Nonso Jideofor - The Engine Room) from mysociety