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Digital approaches in sanitation

This compilation presents examples of digital tools and innovations to foster sanitation at the scale used in GIZ projects or related sectors and country contexts. Most of the examples of this compilation consist in or contribute to advanced mapping of digitized data. 

Digitalization enhances the interaction of data collection and global networking; it hence has the potential to contribute to a global transformation towards sustainable development if framed and shaped accordingly. Despite digitalization not being mentioned in the SDGs, digital transformation processes can contribute enormously to attaining SDG targets. Given that approx. 2 billion people do not have access to information- and communication-technologies, predominantly developing countries and particularly the poor do not properly benefit from digitalization, but in contrast suffer from its drawbacks. This calls for digitalization to be oriented towards inclusive and scaled-up development and ex-ante regulations that prevent digitalization from being a multiplier of existing inequalities (WBGU, 2018).

Shortcut to the clustered solutions:

GIS Tracking

Mobile Applications (Apps)

Data Information

GIS Tracking

Tracking Faecal Sludge Services


Purpose: To promote & regulate the faecal sludge (FS) emptying & transportation sector

Use: GPS tracking of service providers offers insights in the size of their market segment, their areas of operation and transport routes.

Link here

Toilet Finder Apps in India

Purpose: Help find facilities and support the push for improved sanitation.

Use: The apps show the closest toilet facilities and provide directions with.


Link here

Facility Management & Maintenance/Hausmeister

Purpose: Ensuring sustainable operation and maintenance of public institutions.

Use: GPS tracking of service providers offers insights in the size of their market segment, their areas of operation and transport routes. 

Link here

Maji Data Base in Kenya

Purpose: Having key water sector information of more than 1800 low-income areas in Kenya enables to monitor access and coverage (of water infrastructure) for each location.

Use: Automatic upload and annual update of Maji Data base (with GPS GIS Software), merging of several data types to assess public infrastructure.

Link here

Container Based Sanitation (CBS)

Purpose: Provide a robust option for safely managed sanitation.

Use: The containers are collected frequently and transported to a treatment site. As a result, an important outcome for some CBS service providers is the contribution to the circular economy. CBS consist of Apps for data collection, route checking via GPS tracker, and supply chain tracking system with QR codes.

Link here

Mobile Applications (Apps)

Digital tools in WASH in Schools in India and the Philippines

Purpose: WASH in Schools self-assessment apps to monitor the school performance, featuring the real-time rating of the school as well as recommendations for improving the school to the next star/level. 

Use: School self-assessments, easy data collection and comparison in terms of school ranking to create demand for (self-) improvements.

Link here

A Marketplace for the SDGs

Purpose: The overview and use of innovations or strategies from other countries, sectors, and disciplines can help to tackle sustainable sanitation problems in specific settings.

Use: The platform allows to connect with innovators, firms, start-ups or organisations all over the globe whose ideas and approaches are gathered, sorted and made available by Sphaera.

Link here

Sensoring along the Sanitation Chain

Purpose: Allows objects to be sensed or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced human intervention

Use: When augmented with sensors and actuators, a technology can provide immediate (performance) data and can be monitored, managed and regulated remotely.

Link here

Menstrual Hygiene Management

Purpose: Helping people all around the world benefit from insights into female health.

Use: The app calculates and predicts a user's period, the fertile window, and premenstrual syndrome.

Link here

Curiosity App

Purpose: Promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents in Nepal by empowering them with the right information about their health and helping them adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Use: The application can be used offline i.e. without any internet connection after download is in the Nepali Language.

Link here

Data Information

Graphic Generator and GIS data for SFD Production

Purpose: SFD (Shit Flow Diagrams) engage sanitation experts, political leaders and civil society in coordinated discussions about excreta management in cities.

Use: The Graphic Generator allows to produce an SFD Graphic in just three steps: Data input and with a couple of clicks, the tool draws an SFD Graphic that can be downloaded for use in reports and publications.

Link here

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