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Gather uses data to transform city sanitation

Hosting the world's First data dive on urban sanitation for Lusaka, Zambia

Photo of team working on the world’s first urban sanitation data dive


On 22-23 March 2018 we were joined by 20 data scientists for the world's first urban sanitation data dive. The aim of this ground-breaking event was to understand how existing data could be used to improve sanitation in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, a city of 1.7 million people.

The Weekend

Lars Schoebitz, one of our expert advisors, started the weekend with a presentation on urban sanitation and the potential for data-led decision making. 

Our data scientists - who represented some of the best talent from leading universities and businesses across the UK - then formed four teams and looked at:

1. Assessing the validity and reliability of the data.
2. Using the data to estimate the coverage of sanitation services.
3. Using the data to assess health risks to the population.
4. Using the data to optimise waste collection routes.


In just two days our data scientists demonstrated the power and potential of data for decision making. They created a multitude of maps to visualise the current state of sanitation and interactive dashboards to provide insight into risk and service expansion. Most importantly, they assessed the quality of the data. They confirmed the need for better data strategy, management and use across the urban sanitation sector. Please contact us if you would like to read our report.

Next Steps

This data dive kick started Gather's work to create a data standard for urban sanitation data. We believe this new standard will reduce the burden of data management and improve the allocation of resources to increase access to urban sanitation services for low income communities. If you would like to join us in the creation of this data standard, please contact us below.

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