What community characteristics lead to the successful outcome of rural water projects?
|Dissertation (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2016
|Programs to provide clean water have been shown to lead to improvements in education, health and women’s economic conditions in beneficiary communities in the developing world. However, methods to ensure the sustainability of rural water supplies have been elusive. Handpumps in rural communities break down frequently; over 50 percent of handpumps in sub-Saharan Africa are unusable at any time, causing the people to go back to their traditional water sources of streams, ponds and shallow wells with their attendant health risks and inconvenience. These repeated failures have led development practitioners and funding agencies like the European Union to question the effectiveness of rural water supply programs. Clearly, there is a need to determine how to make rural water projects more sustainable. In this study, I posit that sustainable water projects are a function of five categories of variables: demonstrated ability to manage local projects, financial management of local projects, voluntary participation in community projects, an active role of women within the community, and widespread understanding of the benefits of clean water. This study addresses gaps in research within the rural water supply sector by examining multiple factors that influence the outcomes of rural water supply projects, rather than focusing on single variables as done in previous studies. I used interviews, focus group discussions, and analysis of village records to determine if these variables influenced the status of water projects in eight villages in Ghana. I found that all of these variables play a role in successful community water projects. It takes efficient leadership to formulate and implement effective rules; an engaged, responsible citizenry who appreciate the importance of clean water to ensure compliance; efficient financial management to afford the cost of routine maintenance, and active women’s participation in managing the facility. The latter should include training women to conduct routine maintenance and repair simple faults. This ensures that women, who have the highest stake in a convenient source of clean water, have a direct role in its maintenance. The presence of a strong monitoring system and the availability of timely technical support were also crucial in ensuring successful water projects. These findings demonstrate that while the infrastructure of community water supplies is important, the presence of a strong management system is as vital to their long-term success. This highlights the need to invest in both infrastructure and management of rural water supply projects.
|Chapter 1. Introduction -- Purpose -- Study Variables -- Response variable: The sustainability of the water facility -- Explanatory variables -- Demonstrated ability to manage local projects -- Financial management of local projects -- Voluntary participation in community projects -- Active role of women within the community -- Widespread understanding of the benefits of clean water -- Description of Study Area (Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam District) -- Location, physical features and water resources -- Access and transportation -- Utilities -- Housing -- Population -- Social organization -- Governance -- Education -- Religion -- Economic activities -- General economy of the Ajumako Enyan Essiam District -- Economics of the study communities -- Types of pumps used in study communities -- Chapter 2: Literature review -- Sustainability of the Water Facility -- Demonstrated Ability to Manage Local Projects -- Voluntary Participation in Community Projects -- Active Role of Women Within the Community -- Widespread Understanding of the Benefits of Clean Water -- Chapter 3: Methods -- Sample Population -- Community consultation and involvement -- Water management committees -- Gender sensitive programming -- Financing for sustainability -- Health and sanitation education -- Training of local pump technicians -- Data Gathering -- Interviews and focus groups -- Participatory action research -- Local women as researchers -- Robustness analysis -- Scoring criteria for each variable -- Data Analysis -- Chapter 4: Results -- Response Variable: Sustainability of the Water Facility -- Was it working at the time of study? -- Has the handpump ever malfunctioned? -- How often has the handpump malfunctioned, and was it promptly repaired? -- Explanatory Variables -- Demonstrated ability to manage local projects -- Clearly defined, equitable and well-enforced rules governing local projects -- Effective conflict resolution mechanisms -- Monitoring -- Provisions for technical support (know who to contact for repairs) -- Diligence on pump maintenance -- Cleanliness of the pump area -- Role of leadership in managing the water facility -- Predictability of rules and regulations governing local projects -- Responsiveness in enforcing rules and regulations governing local projects -- Financial management of local projects -- Water fee policy (Is a fee schedule set?) -- Are fees actually collected? -- Verification of savings account and money available when needed -- Voluntary participation in community projects -- Participatory decision-making -- Meeting times that are convenient and have strong participation by community -- Sense of ownership toward local projects -- Sense of responsibility toward local projects -- Social cohesion -- Active role of women within the community -- Status of women in community -- Level of women’s participation in community efforts -- Impact of pump training -- Widespread understanding of the benefits of clean water -- To what extent is the facility being used? -- Attitudes toward location of water facility -- Knowledge of health importance of using clean water -- Level of support for charging for water -- Perceptions of reliability of water facility -- Comparison Across Villages -- Chapter 5. Conclusion -- Aims of the Research -- Key Findings -- The Significance of the Research -- Implications of Findings --Recommendations for Future Research -- Literature cited -- Appendices.
|What community characteristics lead to the successful outcome of rural water projects?
|Department of Natural Resources Management
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