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Sending an SMS of accountabilty

posted 28 Mar 2014, 23:37 by Sekuma Peter


In 2012 a household listing for Bombo Town Council showed only about one fifth of the respondents were accessing information in relation to water supply. Most of the information received was in relation to maintenance of the borehole and the monthly contributions, when the piped water system was going to turned off and about the water bills.  A small of the respondents (11%) indicated the service provider had shared information on where to report a water related problem.  Eighty-four percent of the respondents wished to receive more information which included; cost of water connections, general piped water management, how to read a meter, how to install a borehole and water storage process. They needed to know how to receive feedback to their complaints and feedback from the scheme operator. This case study illustrates how NETWAS worked alongside Able holdings (Bombo Scheme Operator) to implement a Complaints and Response Mechanism (CRM) using SMS.

Defining the Problem

Following the many concerns from the holding listings like Negligence of the water board to avail water user’s receipts and account for their water usage, Poor communication between the water operator and the water users in Bombo, Very high unjustified water bills etc., NETWAS started a project in Bombo to Improving Governance in urban and rural Water Service Delivery through capacity building and use of a Community Score Card to improve the quality of water services. A concern from the community score card was that complaints and feedback from water users had not been documented or dealt with effectively. A need was identified for an accessible way to provide information and services to the communities through creating a one-to-one contact and engage rural, remote communities with the private operator.

Consequently, NETWAS Uganda through the DANIDA CSO fund partnered with a mobile value added services (VAS) Company (SMSONE) to set up a mechanism to which could people register issues that they encountered while using the water services in Bombo Town Council would be given. This aimed at meeting all information needs with regard to water service delivery by creating dialogue between water users and service providers using mobile phone text (SMS) for the overall improvement of water service in Bombo Town Council.