Virginia Gardiner is the CEO of Loowatt Ltd.; a grantee of the UK Government supported Mobile for Development Utilities Innovation Fund which awards grants to innovators who are testing and scaling the use of mobile to improve or increase access to energy, water and sanitation services.
As waste-to-energy sanitation innovators, Loowatt staffers are more accustomed to attending Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) Conferences than our first Mobile World Congress (MWC)—and we expect to meet a better dressed crowd, if equally friendly and international!
We believe that sanitation businesses have a lot to learn from mobile networks. Some of the biggest challenges across the FSM sector are about improving efficiency, and providing regulatory assurance across the sanitation value chain that waste is being handled properly. Mobile technology can help. More generally, mobile networks have developed myriad means for managing the intersection between private businesses and public infrastructure—issues that sanitation entrepreneurs in developing countries must also tackle to create impact at scale.
As part of the M4D Utilities grant, Loowatt is now rolling out a mobile app in Madagascar that will help us improve efficiency while tracking the safe movement of waste from household toilets on its short but crucial journey to locally sited waste-to-energy treatment centers. We look forward to presenting our technology at the Showcase Stage for Emerging Markets, and the Mobile for Development Seminar & Jumpstart.
Last month, we tested our new app in Manjakaray, Antananarivo, which has been declared to have the poorest sanitation position anywhere in Madagascar and where we are currently working to make an impact. We were blown away with the speed—not just the speed of the app, but how quickly our toilet servicers got to grips with using it.
We officially went live on 15th February and will be moving onto the next stage of our work, where we will optimize the mobile money integration and GPS route planning. We can’t wait to build this learning and build the networks to disseminate our work to more communities. We hope that MWC will never feel complete again without a dose of FSM!