The death of blogging has been announced many times and other platforms like Twitter and facebook have taken their toll. But there does seem to still be room, particularly in the community of researchers, for sites that add thoughtful commentary and metadata to the latest WASH news. And there are clearly some excellent blogs in the WASH community that stand out to me:
- Saniblog appears to cover current news and has some emphasis on technology. It has also been around longer than most, going back to 2008, the International Year of Sanitation.
- Akvo is one of my favorites, having met many of these folks at World Water Week 2010. The blog has more of a news/advocacy focus and the organization works to unite donors and projects more directly using technology. Akvo also maintains the very innovative akvopedia, a wiki for water and sanitation information.
- The Daily Wash, as the name is implies, is updated each day with news spanning policy, environment and health. Follow them on twitter to catch the latest issue.
- Duncan Mara's Sanitation blog has a focus on the professional aspects of sanitation engineering. He has a particular emphasis on simplified sewerage as an alternative to the ecosan approach that was popular several years ago. He also has the honor of being the first individual blog result on a google search for WASH blogs.
- However, if ecosan is your thing, Ecosan Kenya has a nice site with frequent colorful updates on implementing Ecological Sanitation in rural Africa.
- IRC also maintains a group of blogs on WASH technology, on jobs, and with the help of USAID another news oriented site called Sanitation Updates. Perhaps the blog closest to my interests here is the not-too-frequently-updated WASH research blog.
- Although not devoted solely to WASH, Rose George (the author of the must-read book The Big Necessity) has a website that frequently contains thoughtful commentary on WASH issues.
- For the more health-oriented, Defeat Diarrheal Disease has a nice blog with frequent updates.
My approach to this listing was to include sites that appear to be motivated by a real person or group's interest in exploring WASH issues. Of course, all the organizations in my previous post have newsfeeds or blogs integrated into their sites and some of them are quite good even though they tend toward press releases and self-promotion at times.
In this new blog, I am trying to approach the issue as an open minded yet rigorous researcher. I see a need to use systems engineering thinking to convert much of the raw data from scientific, social, and public policy efforts into directions for the future. We need ideas that are validated and integrated with the natural environment for countries, donors, and researchers to make the right decisions for sustainable development to occur in water and sanitation. That is where I will try to focus my efforts in this blog.
Please comment at http://washsys.posterous.com/on-to-the-blogs with sites I have missed!