14 September 2012

Transparency in the Water Sector

I participated in a public discussion on transparency in the water sector at the end of August. The forum was done on Google+ and hosted by Water for People. My role was to do a lot more listening than talking, but I was given the opportunity to kick things off before people who are smarter and more experienced than I continued the conversation.

In short, my point was to say that the developing transparency initiatives in the water sector are very exciting. Organizations are not only talking about it, but they are putting it into action. Technology is allowing for the near real time tracking of projects that serves as an accountability mechanism. More importantly, it signifies a shift in communicating the fact that development and interventions are long term. The building of a new well is exciting, but it is a starting point rather than the completion of a project.

As the conversation continued, the one area that I found most interesting was on the challenge of governance. This is a problem that continues to rear its ugly head in every discussion ranging from microfinance in Bangladesh to rape in eastern DRC.

I would highly recommend watching the conversation. Not because I am in it, but because of the conversation that takes place. In fact, skip right ahead to the middle to get to the meat of the discussion and when Patrick Moriarty of IRC begins discussing governance.

Panel listing (Speakers from left to right):

Anthony Franco, EffectiveUI
James Leten, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
Jennifer Platt, WASH Advocates
Patrick Moriarty, IRC
Rachel Cardone, Independent Consultant
Tom Murphy, A View from the Cave blog
Ned Breslin, Water For People
Binayak Das & Alexandra Malmqvist, Water Integrity Network