I've always wanted mWater to be a social network for water, sanitation, and health. This week, that effort got much stronger with a few key updates in the mWater Surveyor app.
In the old fashioned world of monitoring and evaluation, the burden of proof was placed on why data should be made public. However, with the new, porous data environment where we are all connected in the real and virtual world, the burden of proof is on why data should be kept private. At a base level, people deserve to have access to data collected about them, their communities, and their water. At an organizational and management level, we can all make faster and better progress if we work together than if we silo ourselves apart in hard drives and file cabinets.
mWater was designed to collaborate with data. We created our apps and data portal to make sharing feel easy and safe, building in three levels of privacy.
Now, sites that are Protected and Public can be shared to social media with the new Facebook and Twitter icons in each site page. This means your team can update their online friends about their progress monitoring a site. You can keep funders connected with their assets through a Facebook Groups page. Also, sites now have permanent URLs so you can post a site page to a report, an email, or a funding campaign like GoFundMe. Custom users can pay mWater to create site pages unique to their organization, with their logo and special fields like user stories and budget tracking.
These updates bring monitoring sites like water points, sanitation facilities, schools, and health clinics into the virtual world. This allows for more opportunities to collaborate with your work. Most importantly, this allows communities where these sites are an easy access point to be educated of and involved in your work.
Social sharing and site URLs were the investment of Earth Echo, which is also using these features for the World Water Monitoring Challenge. mWater powers their app and map for global surface water monitoring. Check them out!
Your organization has a lot of data: forms, groups, sites, and dashboards. Now you can manage it all in one single place. mWater has been hard at work with WaterAid and Water.org to build a feature that is powerful yet simple to use. We think it will solve a lot of problems that come up when you have more than one team collecting data in mWater. In this post, we will introduce some of the key concepts. If you are ready to get started using this now, watch the video below where we set up a new organization.
What is an organization?
Previously, mWater recommended users with many teams and deployments to organize them with groups inside of groups. This solution can be very confusing for users and does not lend itself to collaborations with data. Instead, users now have the opportunity to manage their data in an organization chart similar to how they manage all other roles. An organization is a special group of users that has branches managed by a central head office. Every member of one of the branches is a member of the entire organization but certain users can have special powers to manage and view data. Branches can have groups of users called teams, and you can also add outside organizations as collaborators, allowing you to work together on shared monitoring projects.
How are they used in the mWater platform?
You can use an organization anywhere you would have added a user or group. This includes permissions for forms, deployments, sites, and dashboards. When you add a branch or a team to a permission, it will show the entire branch structure (e.g. WaterHelper->Kenya Office->Water Quality Team).
What are the special powers?
Most organizations have one or more admins in the central office that need to be able to edit forms, add or remove members, and make deployments, But you also have people who just need to manager or view data.
The Collaborators feature is designed for working with an autonomous organization or group that you do not have Admin over, but with whom you want to share data. Examples may be working with the local government to map sites like water points and monitor them over time; or bringing in a third party enumerator team to collect data for you. When you add a Collaborator organization or group to a branch in your own Organizations chart, you can see their data as a viewer but they set their permissions for who can Admin and Manage data.
The easiest way to begin is by setting up your head office and branches, then populating them with mWater user names. However, some users may have extensive groups set up that they do not want to lose. If you already have groups within groups set up in mWater, you can import legacy groups into branches in your Organizations chart. Be careful to start with groups that have the lowest permissions because if you transition a group that Admins lower hierarchical groups, you will remove those Admins and break your permissions.
As you populate your Organizations chart, you can track the users within your org by clicking on the Users tab in the head office. This provides a roster of everyone in your branches and their permissions level (Admin, Manager, and Viewer).
Teams are typically groups of people with common tasks, such as enumerators. You can name your teams to match your real world org chart. When you begin a deployment from the Organizations chart in mWater, the teams will not auto-populate, only the Admins, Managers, and Viewers will be set. Be sure to pay attention to the options in the deployment such as whether you want enumerators to be able to edit their own data after submitting a form and whether you want to set up approval stages for your collected data.