Labour based methods in road infrastructure Development in Kenya - the case of Kandara division of Maragua district
Muendo, Micah N
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Development and maintenance of physical infrastructure are key to econoimc growth and poverty reduction. Road transport is the most widely used means of transportation in Africa and in Kenya and is a necessary stimulant for economic growth. The use of labor based works to undertake routine maintenance over specified lengths of road has been a recognized management technique for many years. However, the effectiveness of the use of labor based methods over a long period has seldom been monitored in detail. The purpose of this study was to establish the problems experienced in road construction using labor based methods in Kandara division of Maragua District. The overall objective was to examine the problems experienced in road infrastructure development using labor based methods in Kandara Division. The research was done by way of a survey. The survey was carried out by way of a standard questionnaire to residents and government officials and interview schedules for contractors. A Focused Group Discussion was used to supplement the questionnaires and interviews. The study identified the major problems associated with labour based methods as poor terms of employment; rated 52% which includes delay in wage payment, short term contracts, low and poor wages, and poor relationship between employers and employees. Poor workmanship resulting in poor quality roads was another major problem, rated at 12%. Project un¬sustainability due to poor maintenance and corruption were both r ated at 9%. Inadequate employment opportunities and lack of experts were rated at 4% and 3% respectively. A number of the residents, 2% felt that the project was benefiting outsiders people from outside the division were employed in the projects and given opportunities to supply materials in the project. Other problems identified were cross cutting issues such as gender equality, HIV / AIDS and environmental management. New policy guidelines on appropriate planning and implementation as well as institutional structures are needed for successful performance of road infrastructure development using labour based methods.