March 2019

Hello!

The first quarter of 2019 has presented Athena Infonomics with the opportunity to share its work on various global platforms. We pitched new and innovative solutions, particularly in the fecal sludge management space. In addition to these exciting events, we completed the first phase of our project developing a child friendliness index for India’s smart cities.

Informing the debate around inclusive sanitation: Athena at SAIS AECOM

Informing the debate around inclusive sanitation: Athena at SAIS AECOM

In December, Athena Consultant Kun Zhang presented our experience on monitoring City Wide Inclusive Sanitation interventions at the SAIS AECOM Speaker Series in Washington, D.C. The panel included experts from across the development sector, including USAID, the World Bank, Osprey Foundation and AECOM’s International Development Group.

During the discussion, Kun drew on our experience to demonstrate the challenges in achieving inclusive urban sanitation – such as the problems authorities in Kampala face in providing sanitation services to slums, and common challenges such as understanding how various sociodemographic factors influence the sanitation situation of different population groups. Kun also presented ideas on re-imagining the ways in which we can collect and use data to improve intervention design. You can watch the full discussion here.

FSM5 and AfricaSan5 conference in Cape Town

FSM5 and AfricaSan5 conference in Cape Town

In February, we showcased our work in the Fecal Sludge Management (FSM) space at the FSM5 and AfricaSan5 conference in Cape Town. During the 5-day program, our booth showcased the toolbox we refined for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on FSM. We also conducted a half-day workshop demonstrating the toolbox. The latest version hosts several new functions, such as the inclusion of rapid and pro variants of the assessment and planning sections. These allow for an assessment of the current sanitation situation and help plan improvements. The toolbox caters to the realities of Bangladesh, India, Senegal, South Africa and Laos.

Deepa Karthykeyan (co-founder and director) and Kowshik Ganesh (senior consultant) also delivered a presentation on a new approach to track desludging operations, without the use of GPS tracking devices.

Child friendliness index: project updates

Child friendliness index: project updates

We have completed the first phase of our project developing a Child Friendliness Index for India’s 111 smart cities for the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF). This included an extensive literature review on global child friendly practices, including how the participation of children will be critical to the development of the index. Additionally, we looked at national indices from the perspective of how they function and what the major themes are.

We also designed the project’s study tools and research instruments, which will comprise both qualitative and quantitative methods, such as In-Depth Interviews (IDIs) and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). These will include a variety of stakeholders, including parents, government/child safety officers, NGOs specializing in child protection, police, teachers, and children (including vulnerable children and children in orphanages). The children will be categorized into 3 age groupings up to age 18.

We additionally undertook a pre-pilot in Haridwar from 19th to 21st January. The feedback from which enabled us to revise the tools for the study. We then developed a framework on how to compute the index, along with a detailed sampling plan. We have also started developing the training tools for field enumerators.

Athena Infonomics is a data-driven global consultancy. We drive innovative thinking in program strategy and design, project implementation and impact assessment across the full spectrum of economic growth and development challenges. To support our clients, we focus on extraction and use of high quality data, social science research methods and new age technology.

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