Situational Insights into Water, Sanitation, Energy, and Waste from Southern Africa
We are embarked on a five month journey to experience the people, cultures, customs, and the diverse flora and fauna of Southern Africa. Influenced by our professional backgrounds in engineering and economics and driven by our interests around social innovation, water and sanitation, and technology, we view our trip as a great opportunity to collect data and engage with stakeholders within these ecosystems.
Through this project, we seek to understand how different social structures and institutions influence the adoption of innovative technical and human solutions in the development and use of basic infrastructure.
Using open source software provided by Ushahidi, a Kenyan based organization that emerged in 2008 with the aim to report the post-election violence, we have created a deployment, that we will use for collecting data. The platform will enable us to compile a structured dataset from our mobile devices, updating our experiences with basic infrastructure in near real-time onto a mapping platform as we travel along our route.
Data is not sufficient to understand the reality and breadth of complex social context. Therefore, we also aim to develop a set of interviews with different people and stakeholders engaged in the various thematic fields of research. Through interviews we aim to develop a better understanding of the social, economic, and cultural context behind the data points. Talking to people we hope to uncover personal stories, individual thoughts and learnings.
We know that our research will not be representative of the 8 countries we will visit. Instead, we will provide experiential insights based on the 15,000km of our route.
Areas of focus:
We will explore the nexus of society and the environment by looking at four key types of basic infrastructure, throughout the life cycle. Water // Sanitation // Energy // Waste Management
Intersection of approaches:
We want to create content that considers the opportunities and limitations of basic infrastructure by taking a dual approach; technical and social sciences.