FACTORS INFLUENCING SUSTAINABILITY OF COMMUNITY MANAGED RURAL WATER SUPPLY PROJECTS IN PASTORALIST AREAS OF KENYA. A CASE OF MERTI SUB COUNTY, ISIOLO COUNTY
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to investigate factors influencing sustainability of community managed rural water supply projects in pastoralist areas of Kenya, A case of Merti Sub County, Isiolo County.
Methodology: The study used descriptive research design that entailed field surveys and cross-sectional research. The target population was 13,648 from six community managed water projects from which a sample of 384 was determined. Questionnaires collected primary data from management committee members and the projects’ user beneficiaries whereas interview schedules collected information from key informant. Pilot of instruments was done in Isiolo Sub County. Quantitative data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS V.20). Narrative analysis for qualitative data thematically linked the texts to the objectives and topic of the research hence giving the texts meaning and significance
Findings: The study findings indicated that technology adoption was the best predictor for sustainability and a positive unit change in technology adoption improved sustainability by 0.352 units. Water technologies that communities participated in selection and managed their operation and maintenance costs got easily adopted within the community and positively influenced sustainability. Management committee competencies influence on sustainability increased when communities had the requisite education and necessary skills in managing water projects hence any positive unit change on management committee competencies increased sustainability by 0.220 units. Due to low level of communities’ unawareness of its contents and applicability, water regulatory policy had a low but significant positive relationship with sustainability but its influence greatly diminished in multivariate analysis of sustainability. Pastoralist cultural aspects did not interfere with rural water supply project management but limited women participation in management.
Contribution to theory, practice and policy: The study recommended that County governments intensify awareness on water regulatory policy, continuously track progress on management committees performances and enhance their capacities through trainings, develop user friendly technologies for water supplies such as solar systems complemented with training packages in technology skills requirements and that mandatory women’s participation in water management committees be instituted through key reserved positions.
Keywords: Rural, sustainability, community, managed, projects
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