Mapping for Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) in Ethiopia

MacDonald, Alan ORCID:; O Dochartaigh, Brighid; Welle, Kathi. 2009 Mapping for Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) in Ethiopia. British Geological Survey, 24pp. (OR/09/013) (Unpublished)

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In this working paper we highlight ways in which mapping approaches can help Ethiopia achieve the Universal Access Plan for water supply and strengthen links between water and sanitation service delivery and pro-poor growth. The paper is based on experiences of using mapping approaches as part of the RiPPLE (Research-inspired Policy and Practice Learning in Ethiopia and the Nile Region) project, a five year Research Programme Consortium that aims to meet the country’s water supply and sanitation challenges by supporting evidence-based learning in the sector. Our main premise is that: The regular collection, organisation and use of spatial data on water availability, access,demand and use at all levels makes for more effective, sustainable, transparent and accountable WASH. Mapping is a useful approach for organising and using this spatial information for planning, analysis, advocacy, implementation and monitoring of WASH services. The first part of the paper sets out a conceptual framework for mapping. Mapping is more than just providing colourful pictures to brighten reports and offices – it is about collecting and using spatial data and information to provide the best available evidence to support decisions at all stages in projects and programmes. Within Ethiopia, there is growing evidence that maps can be an important part of the process of turning raw data into useful information and practical knowledge. There is great diversity in the types of maps and mapping approaches that can help to improve WASH. The main different uses for maps are: data analysis (particularly interdisciplinary analysis); advocacy; planning; implementation and monitoring. For a map to be effective, the use to which the map is to be put must be clear before making the map. Maps for different uses may require different data, combined in different ways, and displayed at different scales. Within this working paper we describe various examples from Ethiopia (mostly developed as part of RiPPLE) where maps have been used for each of these five purposes. Despite the obvious benefits of using maps within the WASH sector in Ethiopia, maps are not widely used. Perhaps the main reason is uncertainty about how maps can be used to inform decisions, what type of map is fit for purpose, and the process of gathering information to develop maps. We trust that the framework developed in this paper helps to bring clarity about when maps can be of assistance, and how to develop fit for purpose approaches. As discussed, maps are only part of the process of turning data into knowledge or even wisdom. They form the useful step of turning data into more readily interpreted information. However, to truly increase knowledge, they must be used. The second part of the paper highlights the practical challenges that exist when using mapping to support decision making in the WASH sector. In particular the challenges of data availability, data accessibility, poor data management and the capacity required to make maps and manage data. There is a great appetite for mapping in Ethiopia, but appropriate capacity must first be built before maps can be used routinely and widely by different WASH stakeholders. . The paper concludes by summarising the steps needed to integrate mapping in a WASH programme: 1. Decide whether a map is the best tool for the job, and whether the purpose is planning, advocacy, implementation, analysis or monitoring. 2. Carry out a careful analysis of data requirements and whether the data are available, or need to be collected from the field. Identify who will be involved in the production and use of the map; who will be developing the map (often this will mean building the GIS); who will be deep users of the map (able to manipulate or add data to the map or GIS); who will be shallow users (able to use and interpret the data); and who will be collecting and generating the data on which the map will be used. 4. Collect data wisely. Careful planning of data collection activities – e.g. water scheme surveys – will ensure the most useful data is collected. 5. Facilitate communication between users, developers and data collectors. All should be clear on the purpose of mapping and their role in the process.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2009 > Groundwater science
Funders/Sponsors: Overseas Development Administration
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed but not externally peer-reviewed
Date made live: 08 Feb 2011 14:53 +0 (UTC)

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