Updated Oct 24, 2023: Go to washai.org to signup for an early preview. Launching soon!
Baobab Tech is spearheading the development of an innovative initiative known as WASH AI. This new project aims to leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance and optimize technical support, capacity building, knowledge, education, training and funding opportunities in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector.
WASH AI is an initiative born out of the challenges of the sector to provide effective data, information, knowledge products and services that truly meet the needs of those who need it the most, from professionals working in CBOs, Governments, INGOs and other private sector actors. The genesis of this idea came from the experience of Baobab Tech's founder, who has contributed to the sector for over 20 years in various capacities such as WASH technical advisor, engineer, project manager, executive and consultant, and has also helped build digital tools for the sector.
We aspire to create a comprehensive and globally accessible toolset with WASH AI. The platform plans to offer diverse services including knowledge transformation, technical support, learning tools, data analytics, visualization and funding opportunities - full access to the WASH ecosystem. At its core, WASH AI intends to harness raw data and existing information and transform it into actionable knowledge, empowering stakeholders to make informed, evidence-based decisions.
Acknowledging the significant gaps in data and professional support in the WASH sector, WASH AI is designed to deploy AI-powered tools. The goal is to improve the utilization of resources and accelerate the pace of progress in the sector, all while striving towards global sustainable development goals.
One of the most notable features of WASH AI is its potential to scale knowledge globally. WASH AI plans to transcend language barriers, offering support in 20+ languages 24/7, thereby broadening the accessibility of critical WASH information to users worldwide.
Moreover, WASH AI is designed to cater to a diverse range of users, from novices to experts in the WASH sector. Recognizing that users come with different education levels, experiences, and technical expertise, WASH AI adapts the complexity and presentation of information to make it relevant and comprehensible for each individual user. This approach is key in overcoming the traditional challenge of designing information products for specific user categories, enabling the system to meet the varying needs of a broad spectrum of users.
At the heart of the AI component is the goal to augment human capability, not replace it. The human element of support remains integral to the system, with the AI enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, making knowledge more accessible and personalized than ever before.
Another defining feature of WASH AI is its seamless integration capabilities. The system will be designed to embed easily within existing knowledge management tools and communication platforms that organizations already use, such as WhatsApp, Microsoft SharePoint, Slack, Intercom, and Telegram. This interoperability is vital as it lowers the barriers to adoption, facilitating a smooth transition for organizations and ensuring they can leverage WASH AI to its full potential without disrupting established workflows.
In building WASH AI, Baobab Tech acknowledges the dynamic nature of artificial intelligence technology. We are also acutely aware of the challenges within the WASH and other development and humanitarian sectors, where initiatives often run from project to project and risk stagnation or termination when funding dries up. We've seen valuable systems built only to become stale and obsolete over time due to lack of sustained support and advancement.
Recognizing these challenges, we are committed to ensuring that WASH AI defies this norm. The project is being developed using the latest advancements in AI, with a keen eye on the rapid pace of technological evolution and the risk of obsolescence. WASH AI is envisaged as a live project, one that will adapt and evolve alongside technology, remaining current and effective.
Crucially, we aim to establish a sound financial model for WASH AI that will ensure the initiative's sustainability and longevity. We're dedicated to building a system that not only serves as a valuable tool in the present but continues to do so in the future, with consistent updates and improvements aligned with evolving user needs. Our design approach is user-focused, guaranteeing that WASH AI remains a versatile, cutting-edge tool in the WASH sector for the long term.
For WASH AI, we are driven by a core set of values that shapes our work and influences the decisions we make:
Recognizing the diverse readiness and needs of different organizations, we also offer consulting services. We understand that not all organizations may be ready to fully adopt the WASH AI system. Therefore, we provide support for partial integrations, customizing solutions that are in sync with their current capabilities and future aspirations. Our goal is to help teams adapt to AI-friendly tools at a pace that is comfortable and feasible for them, allowing them to leverage the benefits of AI in a manner that aligns with their unique needs.
Currently, WASH AI is in private beta, collaborating with other organizations in the WASH sector to refine and strengthen the initiative and tools.
WASH AI is presently in the process of seeking funding. We are eager to engage with interested parties who align with our goal to revolutionize the WASH sector and are looking for investment opportunities in impactful projects.
WASH AI is not just a project; it's a transformative initiative aimed at revolutionizing the WASH sector. By using AI to enhance accessibility, efficiency, and knowledge in the sector, Baobab Tech aims to make strides towards the goal of safe drinking water and sanitation for all.
If you are interested in learning more about WASH AI, or would like to discuss potential collaborations or funding opportunities, please reach out to us here.