Information sharing among water and sanitation providers: a study of Watsan portal: Kibera
As informal water and sanitation services grow, understanding how informal water and sanitation providers share and seek information throughout informal settlements becomes of increasing importance in understanding how to support these actors in helping the Government of Kenya to meet their Constitutional mandate of adequate water and sanitation for all. This study investigates the ways in which the emerging information communication technology of WATSAN Portal: Kibera assists water and sanitation providers in planning and implementing improved Projects. This research applies qualitative methodological approaches to understand the advantages and barriers to the use of WATSAN Portal. Qualitative desktop review identified and analysed information shared through the Portal. In identifying the information provided by the Portal, this study reviewed the content within this website in a first phase of research. The study applies desktop review to determine what information is shared through the Portal and how it enhances information sharing among water and sanitation providers. In the second phase of this research, four key Users of the Portal and nine other water and sanitation Providers in Kibera were selected to participate in-depth interviews to uncover characteristics of Portal Users, the types of water and sanitation information shared and sought, and the advantages and challenges to information sharing through the Portal. Combined, the study of the Portal, the Users, and other select Providers provides an understanding how new information communication technology supports water and sanitation development in Kibera. The study found that the information aids Users of the Portal in rapid information-gathering, information-sharing, and preliminary planning of water and sanitation projects. However, the technical and infrastructural challenges of NCWSC sometimes limits the presence of practical, functional information in the Portal. This barrier in information-sharing hinders outcomes, including: the ability of this Portal to alter relationships between water and sanitation providers and municipal authorities, and the improvement of how Providers and residents make decisions about project implementation. To this end, the study recommends municipal and County government include, engage, and support water and sanitation providers as essential to meeting water and sanitation demand. Additionally, this study recommends that the developers of the WATSAN Portal should explore alternative information communication technology that increases the accessibility of the information contained within the Portal to water and sanitation providers who have limited computer and Internet access.