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Tuesday, 13 March 2012
An app to fight sanitation problems
Six teams of IT experts and professors supported by the Water and Sanitation Program presented mobile applications or 'Apps' that can help support consumers and governments surmounting the water and sanitation problems in India. The event took place at Vigyan Bhawan on Tuesday.
The prototypes were presented to private firms such as Nokia, Vodafone and Accenture.
The waterhackthon event is one of many promoted by the World Bank and its partners. Its aim is to promote the use of ICT tools in solving water issues. The project has come up with suggested solutions that are beyond the imagination of most people.
Each of the six teams made their presentations and also emphasized the importance of serving the poor and making the applications simple to use.
For example, Team PeeQ demonstrated their application that helps mobile phone users to help locate the closest public loo.
US-based Tribal Technologies demonstrated how schools in Orissa have been provided with a cheap android phone that records students school attendance data and gives them points for attendance.
Parents, in turn, can redeem these points for food like dal and rice.
During the event, the government presented its latest mobile initiatives in e-governance and mobile technology.
Participants noted that mobile technology is just one aspect of e-governance, and data on water quality and sanitation should be made available to people openly.
"For hackers, this is a great opportunity to get information about government initiatives, like the government app store and other interactive ways to participate in better water supply and sanitation," said Yashas Shetty of the hacking team Jugaad Sensors.
"One aspect slowing down development of e-governance is the current procurement process, which is not flexible enough for new inventions," claimed Partha Sarthi Sen Sharma, Director of the Uttar Pradesh-based Midday Meal Authority.
"We already have the prototypes. We have the private sector to help us create a market for the solutions. And, we have the Government of India hungry for mobile solutions. Now, we are finally all gathered around the same table. So, this is a good start for discussions," said Shetty, whose team has created a kit for water quality testing and monitoring.