June 13, 2023

Enhancing Water Project Sustainability through the Well Beyond App

Long-term sustainability in the water aid sector is vital for any real change to occur in communities worldwide. With 60% of water projects in Africa inoperable at any given time, communities are too often forced to return to unsafe water sources. In a groundbreaking initiative, the Well Beyond App by Well Aware is a revolutionary mobile application transforming the longevity of clean water systems in East Africa. As the first and only patent-pending application designed to help community members maintain and diagnose their water systems after implementation, the Well Beyond App ensures clean water continues to flow for years to come.

Project Monitoring and Evaluation Made Easy

The World Bank has estimated less than 5% of water projects are visited after construction, and less than 1% are monitored long-term (World Bank, 2011). Installing clean water infrastructure alone is not the complete solution. 

With the Well Beyond App, reliable, ongoing monitoring becomes a reality. Since 45% of adults in developing countries have smartphones, and with 70% of sub-Saharan Africa with internet connectivity, the app makes this process accessible for our partner communities, enabling water projects to run for generations. Once initially downloaded, the app works offline, making it even more accessible for remote populations. Community members are able to run water system diagnostics, maintenance checklists, sanitation & hygiene (WASH) training, as well as access real-time chat support & remote expertise. Community members are able to take ownership of their water systems through the Well Beyond App, catalyzing growth throughout the community.

How our Partner Communities Have Found Success Through the App

Recently, while running through their regular maintenance checklist on the Well Beyond App, teachers at the primary school in Tututha, Kenya identified leaking from pipes and problems with one of the pumps. After reporting that information through the app, our team remotely helped them troubleshoot and repair the issue on their own.  This saved the teachers and the 1,000 students there from having to wait for a technician to arrive and fix the problem. As a result, the community was able to get the rainwater and UV filtration system back up and running in less than two hours, which is considerably faster than the usual two weeks it might take to resolve such an issue with a technician from Nairobi.

Several kilometers away, at Nthaani Primary in Makueni, Kenya, the Well Beyond App guided the staff through their routine maintenance on their rainwater harvesting system, and issues with their UV unit battery were discovered. Using the app, the teachers were able to get the batteries replaced and working before the system was no longer functioning, resulting in zero down days for the system in the middle of the school week.

Additionally, the Well Beyond App is being deployed in our benefitting communities that have additional development support from our NGO partners. Since 2019, Well Aware has been working with the KG Foundation, an organization focused on improving education in Machakos County, Kenya. All five KG school water projects have access to the app and are using the maintenance checklists and diagnostics to support their systems & infrastructure. With the help of the tool, these water projects have continued to have a tremendous impact on the health and quality of life of the students without interruption. More than 2,500 pupils at these schools now have access to clean and purified rainwater, increasing classroom attendance significantly, especially for the girls, as their hygiene needs change with puberty.

By using the app, our partner communities help the team at Well Aware foresee preventable issues. Notifications remind users to check the water system regularly and submit reports. This data not only saves in maintenance needs and system downtime, it’s also enabling our project growth at scale, and the regular contact with users is strengthening our relationship and mutual trust.

One partner community exemplifying these benefits is in Sweetwaters in Laikipia County. In 2021, Well Aware drilled a deep borehole well at Sweetwaters Girls School in partnership with Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The school of 500 has already seen dramatic improvements from the new water source, now growing acres of healthy crops and even raising livestock to further support the nutrition of the students, and generating some income for their education needs. But, as with any large infrastructure, they needed a tool to keep it running smoothly to avoid interruption in their only source of clean water.

With the app, the headmaster at Sweetwaters submits their monthly checklist completion for the Well Aware team to further review remotely for any impending problems. They are also using the tool to conduct and track sanitation and hygiene trainings, as well as impact measurement assessments for Well Aware’s reporting to donors of the project.

Water Project Sustainability is Possible & Necessary

The Well Beyond app is a game-changer in the realm of water sustainability, empowering individuals and communities to make a tangible difference, with more than 70 of our partner communities already actively using it. By emphasizing the importance of long-lasting water projects, facilitating collaboration, and providing tools for monitoring and evaluation, the app enables users to actively contribute to global water sustainability efforts. Sustainable water solutions require collective action, and the Well Beyond app connects communities and NGOs, bridging the problematic gap in accountability in the water sector.

At Well Aware, we believe that everyone deserves the right to clean water, and together, we can create a future where clean, sustainable water is a reality for everyone.

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