March 13, 2014, Oakland, Calif.: The Pacific Institute, Nexleaf Analytics and Indonesia’s Yayasan Kota Kita Surakarta, aka Solo Kota Kita (English, ‘Our City Solo’) signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding to pursue joint research and development of WASH SMS in Indonesia.
John Taylor, director of Solo Kota Kita, Dr. Martin Lukac, CTO of Nexleaf Analytics, and Misha T. Hutchings, Pacific Institute Senior Research Associate and WASH SMS Program Manager, signed the joint agreement in February to transition management of SMS AIR (as WASH SMS is known in Indonesian) from the two U.S. based organizations to an Indonesian organization that will continue working with the communities and local government agencies in Malang and Makassar to maximize use of the systems for advocacy, customer management, planning, and surveying purposes. The organizations will also work together to conduct further research on the applications of the tool in urban settlings as well as to develop Solo Kota Kita’s capacity to offer SMS AIR as ‘software as a service’ to water and other utilities, local governments and communities throughout Indonesia.
Solo Kota Kita (www.solokotakita.org) develops spatial data and information tools for neighborhood advocacy and citizen planning in Surakarta (Solo), Central Java, Indonesia. The goal of Solo Kota Kita is to increase awareness of urban issues so residents can strengthen their voice as active citizens, especially in the participatory budgeting process known locally as musrenbang. Through their work since 2009, Solo Kota Kita has been able to demonstrate that making decisions based on information and spatial data can lead to a stronger connection between what residents want and need and how local government invests in the communities. Solo Kota Kita has also worked with local governments and NGOs in several other Indonesian cities, including Banjarmasin, Makassar, Padang, and Pekalongan, to develop survey and spatial data analysis capacity, giving Solo Kota Kita the vision, reputation and knowledge to scale SMS AIR to other cities in Indonesia.
Pacific Institute and Nexleaf Analytics have worked together since 2010 to develop and disseminate the mobile phone mapping application, WASH SMS, to assist communities and water and sanitation utilities to face access and service provision challenges. Nexleaf Analytics (www.nexleaf.org) develops unique technology solutions, primarily using mobile phones, to address environmental and public health data issues.With support from USAID and the Cisco Foundation, the partners developed the proof-of-concept and beta versions of WASH SMS with utilities, government agencies, local NGOs, and communities in the cities of Malang and Makassar, Indonesia, to collect and visualize information to strengthen the local governance process regarding the status of the water supply and provision of water and sanitation services, especially among poor urban communities.