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Neil Noble
I’m waiting in anticipation for KnowledgePoint to be up and running for the WASH sector. A Humanitarian Innovation Fund Small Grant Award has enabled the new collaborative information service to move towards a stage where its members can quickly and easily exchange questions and answers on all issues relating to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
Practical Action has been running an enquiry service since 1968 in one form or another and what we have come to realise is that not all the answers are in one place. In order to get the best information at the right time you need to have access to a good number of people, and ideally these people are going to have the experience to cover the most difficult issues. This is why WASH Knowledge Point makes sense, as it brings the expertise of organisations such as Practical Action together with that of WaterAid, IRC, RedR, EngineerAid and hopefully many more in the future.
In fact this allows organisations to focus on their areas of strength. For example: Practical Action has good experience in disaster risk reduction and in post disaster reconstruction but does not act directly in humanitarian relief work.
But by collaborating, the information service will be able to cover all these elements as a situation develops, helping in the transition from relief work to reconstruction and into more long term development issues.
KnowledgePoint has been envisaged to be flexible in how it operates. Each  organisation operates in their own particular way and so will come to KnowledgePoint with a  different requirement.
Practical Action is looking to make use of this new network within its regional and country offices where its project work is carried out but also supporting information provision to  areas where it does not have a physical presence.
And if this can work within the WASH sector then it could also work in the other sectors that Practical Action is involved in such as  energy delivery and shelter. This may be some way down the line but the potential to bring together organisations trying to tackle similar issues is huge. This is just the beginning.

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