Factors Influencing Community Participation in Rural Water Project Development: A Case of Matete Sub-County Kakamega County
The purpose of this study was to investigate the specific factors influencing community participation in rural water projects in Matete Sub-County. The research focused on the influence of socio-economics, water technology, community water management and development agency‟s approaches on community participation in the rural water projects. The research employed descriptive survey design. The study targeted 550 household heads within the Matete Sub-County according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2009 census report. Simple random sampling was used to obtain 226 household heads and 22 water users committee representing 22 water sources among the 23 sources deemed to have been constructed within the last 20 years for the administration of questionnaires and interviews respectively. The data from the field were edited for accuracy, completeness, consistency and analyzed using descriptive statistical tools (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences V.17.0 and Excel). The findings of the research showed that community participation in water project was influenced by socio-economic of the people, development agency‟ approaches, management of water projects water technologies used. It was found that, the selection of water technologies were, the costly it was to implement, operate and maintenance thus the less community participation. It was also found that the low income level of the community had an influence on their ability of the community to contribute towards implementation, operation and maintenance of community water project in the study area. The management of water project through water user committee could have resulted in limited community participation due to undemocratic means of selecting management committee members and gender disparity in water projects management in this research area. Therefore, it was concluded that: poor social economic factors inadequate management of water project, selection of complexity water technology and lack of community centered development agencies approach did not promoted community involvement thus negatively influence on community participation in the rural water projects this study area. The study, therefore, recommended that, the local community social economic status should be strengthened, community should be empowered with the right skills and knowledge to enable them effectively participated in development projects. Partnership in rural water project implementation should be community centered thus creating synergy among the implementing agencies and the communities. Water technology adopted by the community should be appropriate to their needs. It should be affordability, cost effective to operation and maintenance, thus guaranteeing sustainability. The result of this study may be used by the development agencies, County Governments and communities in selecting and developing contextualized strategies to achieve optimum community participation that will ensure sustainability of rural water projects in Matete Sub-County and the rest of the County. This research was limited to community participation in the rural water project in Matete Sub-County; therefore, the study recommends future studies to focus on other rural areas within Kenya with varied political, cultural and environmental contexts.
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