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Zim and UNICEF bags global award for mobile innovation in rural WASH

By Almot Maqolo

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The Government of Zimbabwe and UNICEF have become an official member of the Million Lives Club, an initiative that celebrates innovators and social entrepreneurs who are scaling up impact and improving the lives of those living on less than US$5 a day.

Zimbabwe with support from UNICEF developed a mobile-to-web-based monitoring system which captures and stores water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) information in real time. The Rural WASH Information Management System (RWIMS) provides quick access to current data on rural WASH infrastructure.

The innovation has been lauded for improving response times to address service delivery constraints at water collection points including information such as the functionality of the water supply system, groundwater levels and water quality.

“The SMS-based RWIMS interface enables communities to report changes in the infrastructure functionality by text messages directly delivered to government representatives”, said Laylee Moshiri, UNICEF Zimbabwe Representative.

“This allows for quick responses to problems that arise at community water points, such as the breakdown of a bush pump,” she said.
With the improved functionality of water points, women and girls don’t have to travel long distances to fetch water at alternative sites and have more time available to attend to their education, economic activities or family obligations.

RWIMS was established by the Government of Zimbabwe in collaboration with UNICEF and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation with funding support from UK Aid, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Government of Sweden.

“We are excited at being selected for the Million Lives Club award and commend the excellent work of Zimbabwe’s WASH National Action Committee for its effort in establishing RWIMS,” Ms Moshiri said.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Eng. Tinayeshe Mutazu said that “As an official member of the Million Lives Club, the Government of Zimbabwe looks forward to continuing supporting RWIMS and taking this initiative to higher levels.”

The Million Lives Club is an initiative inspired by members of the International Development Innovation Alliance and supported by a growing partnership of leading development organizations. It seeks to nurture innovation ecosystems by recognizing innovators and social entrepreneurs whose innovations have scaled to serve one million customers or are rapidly approaching this milestone.


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