Tag Archives: Sanitation Hackathon

How to … design a sanitation app

How to … design a sanitation app | Source:  The Guardian, March 22, 2013 |
Trémolet Consulting won the London leg of the 2012 Sanitation Hackathon. The team explain how to take your mobile app idea from concept to creation

As we write this, we’re contemplating the prospect of a trip to the Silicon Valley to meet potential investors for a mobile phone application (app) we’ve designed. The app aims to help answer one of the biggest unresolved questions for understanding sanitation markets in developing countries: how much do households invest in their own sanitation facilities?

How do you design an app that can find out how much households invest in water and sanitation? Photograph: Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images

How do you design an app that can find out how much households invest in water and sanitation? Photograph: Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images

It all started when we submitted a problem statement at the London leg of the Sanitation Hackathon, an event that took place simultaneously in 14 cities around the world in early December 2012. Hackathons are increasingly used by international agencies or governments to get computer programmers and app developers applying their creative brains to solve a social issue. The “watsan” (water and sanitation) hackathon dates back to 2011 when the World Bank organised the firstwater hackathon. Since then, mobile phone apps have made their mark in the water sector, particularly for water point mapping.

The idea we submitted to the hackathon stemmed from what we’ve observed as a lack of data on households’ investment and recurrent expenditure on latrines, despite the fact that they often represent a major proportion of total investment in the sanitation sector. It is critical to understand how much households are investing, and in what, in order to design appropriate policies and programmes to support them. We seized the opportunity of the London sanitation hackathon to see whether that app (a computer programme connected to the internet that runs on smartphones and other mobile devices), now known as ‘SIT’ (Sanitation Investment Tracker) had the potential to make a significant contribution to the way sanitation programmes are designed, run and monitored.

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Top 10 Finalists of the Sanitation Hackathon App Challenge announced

SanAppChallengeOn World WaterDay, 22 March, the World Bank announced the Top 10 Finalists of the Sanitation Hackathon App Challenge. The challenge is a follow-up to the Sanitation Hackathon, which attracted over 1,100 developers in December 2012 to solve sanitation problems.

The Top 10 Finalists apps are:

  • Empowering Girls monitors girls’ school attendance to track appropriate sanitation facilities.
  • LION Sync provides decision-makers with access to real-time data online and offline.
  • LooRewards promotes sanitary behavior by rewarding safe sanitation practices.
  • mSchool monitors the status of water and sanitation infrastructure in schools.
  • mSewage crowdsources the identification of open defecation sites and sewage outflows.
  • San-Trac reminds users about hygienic practices and gathers real-time data for trend analysis (winner of the People’s Choice Award)
  • Sanitation Investment Tracker tracks investment and expenditure in sanitation at the household level.
  • SunClean teaches sanitary and hygienic behavior through games for children.
  • Taarifa enables citizen reporting and tracks decision-makers’ feedback.
  • Toilight finds toilets in a smart and easy way.

For more information on the apps click on the video links above or go here.

The Grand Prize Award winners will be announced on April 19, on the eve of the World Bank’s Spring Meetings.

Source: SanHack Team, SanitationHackathon.org, 22 Mar 2013

Sanitation Hackathon Field Visits

US philanthropist aims to build 1 million toilets

John Kluge. Photo: EastWest Institute

The number of US philanthropists with a passion for sanitation has now doubled. Following in the footsteps of Bill Gates who launched Reinventing the Toilet, “Chief Toilet Hacker” John Kluge aims to provide 1 million toilets in the developing world. To kick-start this endeavour, Eirene, a company that Kluge co-founded with fellow toilet hacker, Michael TS Lindenmayer, is launching a global Sanitation Hackathon in December 2012.

For the Sanitation Hackathon, Eirene is teaming up with the World Bank’s Water Practice and ICT unit and the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), which hosted the successful Water Hackathon in October 2011. Other partners supporting this initiative include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gensler, IDEO.org and Columbia University.

At least 1,000 toilet hackers from across 9 countries are expected to join in.

We have dug into the problem at the most local level and have asked some of the greatest global minds to also tackle the issue as well. These toilet hackers come from all kinds of backgrounds. Engineers, material scientists all the way to street artists, micro-entrepreneurs and inventors of all stripes are all becoming toilet hackers

Forbes has identified John Kluge (29) as one of “philanthropy’s up-and-coming faces”. He is the adopted son of John Kluge Sr., “once the richest man in America, and is is committed to ensuring 95% of his late father’s assets go towards philanthropy”. His company Eirene focuses on tackling problems like sanitation that affect at least 1 billion people. Kluge is also a resident fellow at the EastWest Institute and a memnber of UNICEF USA’s Next Generation Steering Committee.

Follow John Kluge on Twitter @klugesan and the Sanitation Hackathon with the Twitter hashtags #toilethacker and #sanhack

Source: John Kluge, Hacking Toilets the World Over, Huffington Post, 25 Sep 2012 ; Forbes 400 Richest Americans – Ones to Watch – John Kluge