What Members and Water Experts Say About Blue Planet Network and the First Generation of our Online Platform, the Peer Water Exchange (PWX)

Sushil Bajpai, Watershed Organization Trust, India

What I saw in PWX took my breath away. I am truly surprised that the world of NGOs, their partners and funding agencies have not grabbed this tool and run. I was also moved by your vision, the power of the tool and its rooting in collaboration.

Rick McGowan, East Meets West, Vietnam

It is clear that there is a broad range of knowledge, understanding and experience among those who submitted proposals. I think that people who have more experience in the water development business have an obligation to help tutor and encourage those who have less experience, as we are all trying to do the right thing in the long run, right?

Bunker Roy, Barefoot College, India

The drawbacks of the current funding model is that it is too patronizing and it presumes that we need the knowledge, skills and wisdom of the North. The track record over the last two decades have shown that the solutions being offered by the North have been expensive, wasteful and indeed by and large they have failed. What we need is a more active, equal, respectful South-South exchange.

Joe Madiath, Gram Vikas, India

PWX does away with the bureaucracies involved in the conventional method and is of course transparent, gives scope for peer evaluation, is very effective in terms of resource use and provides cross exchange and learning. For an implementing organization, such platforms do help in putting forth ideas in a succinct manner and saves much time and resources in putting up lengthy proposals.

My strong hope is that other organizations see the potential of this network to shine a light on what is working in the water sector ... so that we all can do a better job while getting a fuller picture of what is working long-term.

Thomas Palgadhmal, Watershed Organization Trust, India

PWX is one of the most innovative and excellent methods of sanctioning project proposals through peer group assessment. NGOs have the opportunity to know more details of the excellent work carried out by the different NGOs. One gets an opportunity to know and interact with different partner NGOs of the world engaged in providing safe drinking water to needy communities.

Through PWX we had an opportunity to learn/know the different appropriate low cost and affordable technologies being used by partner NGOs in different parts of the world. Some of these technologies could be replicated in our areas too.

PWX system avoids the administrative expenses and additional requirement of human resources by the funding agency. In normal practice, the projects are submitted to the funding agency for the approval or sanction. The explanations and additional information is provided by the NGO to the funding agency, but the information and knowledge is useful only to the funding agency. But under the new developed PWX system the project proposals are scrutinized and assessed by the all the partner NGOs.

The PWX system is easy and computer friendly to operate. The progress reports and additional information of the project, photographs can be disseminated through the system.

Susan Davis, CARE, USA

PWX is an innovative way to address the issue of how a small organization can administer a great deal of funding without having to hire a huge staff.

PWX is straightforward to use, and the review process shows that it also has potential to serve as a forum for knowledge sharing and peer mentoring. Challenges will be keeping the review process streamlined and requirements reasonable.

Jesca Ochieng, Oywa A Solar Support Group, Kenya

PWX has the best approach to analyzing proposals in a very transparent manner. We thank the entire PWX team and Blue Planet Run for the unique initiative of scrutinizing applications and ensuring that even inexperienced groups like Oywa get a chance to participate in the process. We have really learnt a lot and expect to learn more with your continued support.

We only have some suggestions to enable rural and remote groups like Oywa to meet their deadlines. These include issues like enabling groups to acquire computers or laptops. This would enable them to communicate with you in good time. It would also mean the groups will spend less time in travelling to towns like Kisumu where such services are available.

Don Howard, Rotary, USA

Joining PWX paid unexpected dividends. The responses to my proposal posed probing questions that caused me to delve deeper into some of the water project planning. Our focus in looking at water projects has expanded to consider the economic, environmental, political and sustainability issues more deeply.

In evaluating grants proposed by other organizations, I learned about ways of structuring future grants more effectively. The experience was very helpful in many ways and I was happy to receive funding for one of our projects.

Carole Harper, El Porvenir, Nicaragua

The application requirements of some funders, e.g. C--- Canada, are so onerous and time consuming that our organization would have to take three or four staff members off of their usual work in project development, reforestation and health education, for at least a month, just to fill out all the forms and give all the workshops required in order to submit an application. Is this a good use of our resources? Is there an alternative funding source which does not require excessive forms, paperwork, staff time taken away from our real work?

Rob Bell, El Porvenir, Nicaragua

My impressions of PWX are on the whole positive. I certainly understand the point of view about the difficulty of evaluating projects where we have no experience; however, I think it is a good system, not too overwhelming with details, easy to use, and provides some good opportunities for sharing knowledge between partners.

A downside was that not all the partners participated equally, and for example one of the projects I reviewed, they never answered my questions and I had to mark their project low, in part because of my doubts, but in part because of lack of information. I hope more people will find the time to participate.

Carolyn Crowley Meub, Pure Water for the World

Getting people to discuss lessons learned, as PWX is doing, is like trying to 'herd cats'! Many people do not like to talk about failures or disappointments but they are a reality and they are really the only way forward.

Rahul Bakare, Director Programmes Arghyam

In India, sanitation efforts have failed miserably and everyone is trying to change behaviour at the beneficiary level. PWX is trying to change institutional behaviour change in the funding and implementing communities - analogous challenges. Its an important question: can the sector cause the impact without changing internally first?

What Water Authorities Are Saying

Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Congressman, 3rd District, Oregon
Co-Sponsor of the Paul Simon 2005 Water For The Poor Act
and 2009 Water For The World Act

This site has created a real breakthrough approach, providing the coordination, information and evaluation so critical for the success of water improvement projects. This community also provides easy access to best practices, helping water groups grow stronger and more effective through collaboration and peer review.

Dr. Peter Gleick, President, Pacific Institute
Author of the biennial series: The World's Water

What I've seen so far looks tremendous. I've seen nothing else like it, and think it offers serious potential for improving transparency, information available to users, and the ability to understand what really works in the real world.

Ravi Narayanan, Vice Chairman, Asia Pacific Water Forum
Director, Arghyam; Former CEO, WaterAid

BPR's initiative to use a peer evaluation process to assess and approve water and sanitation projects is bold in its conception and inclusive in its method. Bringing in organizations and individuals in different parts of the world to the process of project selection and approval is both transparent and cost effective. Other organizations supporting water and sanitation projects may well have something to learn from this approach.

Michael Kleeman, UC San Diego Institute on Global Conflict & Cooperation; Advisor, Red Cross; Former Senior Global Technology Partner, Boston Consulting Group

The PWX concept is powerful in its simplicity and reach. There are painfully few approaches that have both the appeal and effectiveness of PWX.

Isha Ray, Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley

PWX has shown that it is possible to scale and replicate community-based water projects around the world – this is hugely important when one of the major barriers to community – to – community learning has been cost and distance.

PWX nurtures water leaders, creates knowledge and serves society across the globe. That's adding value indeed.

 

People Quoted