Since 2016, the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) has been conducting country-based data collection and reporting exercises on water and sanitation in Africa in response to the African Union’s Commission (AUC) mandate to AMCOW to document and report the continent’s water and sanitation progress to the Commission. This activity is a core part of the Pan African Water and Sanitation Sector Monitoring and Reporting (WASSMO) project funded by the African Development Bank under the African Water Facility (AWF).
AMCOW launched the WASSMO data collection campaign in June 2021 following a series of online trainings with member states, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other partners. To accelerate the process of reporting the WASSMO data by the member states, AMCOW paired countries with one another to enable them get mentorship and learn from each other through a “Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Learning” approach. The WASSMO P2P support is a collaborative professional learning network for Country Focal Points involved in the WASSMO data collection and reporting process across the member states. The P2P has a secondary focus on learning; the mentoring team shares practical examples of how they encountered and tackled complex problems in their countries.
AMCOW organised P2P meetings to support Liberia, Guinea Bissau and Sudan as they organised the WASSMO data collection and validation. A delegated officer from Ghana, Senegal, and Kenya joined the AMCOW team to support these countries.
“We made them understand that we have a structure in place to get the data,” says Mutala Abdul-Mumin, Principal Planning and Investment Analyst at the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resource of Ghana. “You don’t wait until data is requested from you before you go around looking for it – gathering data takes a process. Its not a one-off event. We established that Liberia must build a reporting system to gather the data and coordinate with other relevant institutions. Also, we went through the web platform to show that although every institution has a way of reporting, someone at the national level makes the final entry. We highlighted that sometimes, it is difficult to enter information directly into the system. Hence, the best approach is to download the Excel Spreadsheet and then fill in the information and upload it back to the server.”
The P2P team in Liberia, Guinea Bissau and Sudan engaged with a range of stakeholders to ensure that the appropriate technical expertise and relevant partners were involved in articulating these examples and spreading knowledge across the wide spectrum of humanitarian practitioners at the headquarters and in field operations.
“A critical aspect of our work is ensuring that citizens take responsibility,” Amb. Bobby Whitefield; Chief Executive Officer at the Liberia National WASH Commission said. “We have set up an approach for citizens’ engagement to ensure that they maintain our services. Because we recognise data as oxygen for development, we are demanding from the government and engaging the citizens in data collection to see how we can take the issue of WASH to the regional level.”
Eugene Caine, the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at the National WASH Commission of Liberia and who is also the WASSMO Focal Point said “the presence of AMCOW in Liberia and working with them – going through the WASSMO platform is a way of strengthening how we understand the techniques to provide the kind of report needed from our country. Initially, the challenge was to get everyone organised in a way and manner to gather the data and have it uploaded, verified, updated, and then submitted to AMCOW through the platform. These two days of training has helped strengthen capacity towards reporting on Water, Sanitation and hygiene indicators.”
Additional gaps in National monitoring processes include but not limited to: