PWX Wins the Manthan Award

The Peer Water Exchange was recognized by the Manthan Awards for the innovative use of digital technologies to address human development issues

New Delhi, India
December 19, 2009

The Peer Water Exchange (PWX) – a breakthrough, participatory network for funding, managing, and monitoring grassroots water and sanitation projects worldwide – today received the prestigious Manthan Award for Science and Environment 2009.
PWX is an innovative, participatory decision-making platform where experienced water groups work as peers to select, fund, and manage water and sanitation projects around the world. PWX makes the funding and project selection process transparent and efficient. Today, 59 partners review, improve, and rate each others’ applications efficiently via an easy-to-use, online platform. PWX displays all projects on an innovative map, and allows for third party reporting, ensuring impact assessment for years after installation. Today, PWX is managing over Rs. 45 crores worth of projects in over 600 communities and benefiting over 300,000 people in 21 countries.

The Manthan Award, established in 2004 by the Digital Empowerment Foundation, in partnership with the World Summit Award, the Department of Information Technology, and the Government of India, is the first-of-its-kind initiative in India to recognize best practices in e-Content and Creativity. The Manthan Award seeks to define the very best in e-Content for the development arena from all of SAARC countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan, and Afghanistan.

In attendance at the two-day event were representatives from eight countries and 30 states, NGOs, government, IT Telecom organizations, panchayats (village councils), tribal communities, and bureaucrats. The event included displays from over 70 exhibitors, presentations, and interactive sessions on diverse topics from digital constituencies to uniting communities through 3G Networks. The gathering culminated on Saturday, December 19th, with the Manthan Award South Asia Gala 2009. Awards were presented for achievement and innovation in digital development in over a dozen categories.

Launched by the Blue Planet Run Foundation (BPR) at the World Water Forum in Mexico in 2006, PWX was designed to help BPR achieve its goal of providing safe drinking water to 200 million people for the rest of their lives by 2027. This translated to managing 200,000 projects, a challenge of scale that existing processes cannot manage. PWX solves the problem of scaling up while at the same time reducing bureaucracy.

“Peer Water Exchange is pleased to be recognized among the best examples of technology innovation in the developing world,” said Rajesh Shah, inventor and head of PWX. “We seek to use the momentum and inspiration from the Manthan Award to continue to work toward the Digital Empowerment Foundation’s mission ‘to uplift the downtrodden and to create economic and commercial viability using Information Communication and Technology as means’."

Osama Manzar, Founder of the Digital Empowerment Foundation and Chairman of The Manthan Award says, "The identification and selection of the Peer Water Exchange by the jury of Manthan Awards will greatly enhance the quality of digital content being developed, especially from the point of view that the PWX platform greatly enables transparency and content creation through a bottom up approach."

Rajesh concludes, "Despite the focus of our society on mobile phone and internet penetration, we need to recognize that, for our society to consider itself advanced, it is essential to ensure that every person has access to safe drinking water and sanitation.”

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