Access to water for life and enhanced livelihoods, Through improved water governance: the case of Kibera slum
Maina, Micro David
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Water contributes to economic growth and to the social well being of the human population as social and economic activities relies heavily on access to adequate quantities of water of suitable quality. Access to safe water is a basic human right and every person has a right to have sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal, domestic and other uses. A key component to sustained equitable access is water governance. Governance comprises an intertwine of processes, policies and institutions that enhance the way in which a society manages itself, central to which are core elements of accountability, transparency, participation, inclusion and equality. The Kenyan government has put in place the Water Act of 2002, laying the foundation for governance arrangements by separating functions of water policy, water regulation and water services delivery. Previous experiences of vesting these functions in one entity has proven to fuel corruption, non-transparent and non-inclusiveness decisionmaking, inefficiency and mismanagement of water resources and services, broadly fuelling bad governance in the water sector. This study attempts to assess the effectiveness of sound governance systems in meeting local and national objectives of ensuring •.improved access to water supply services and thereby improving water dependent livelihoods. The study focuses on Kibera slum. The District Office Southern Division in Kibera, was randomly selected as the focal point for the study. A snow ball sampling technique was utilised to collect information, through the application of a set of questionnaires and observation. The study aimed to establish whether improved water governance was critical to water access, an underlying factor for life and enhanced livelihoods. The study reveals water access 111 limitations in Kibera as it is not readily available to residents, a majority of whom walk long distances and spend long hours fetching water. The water prices on the other hand are prohibitive and Kibera residents end up paying much more for water than the affluent citizens living only a kilometre away from there. Further, the water services are not adopted to fit the local needs of the residents of Kibera's and in many occasions the quality of the water is compromised. Participation in decision making processes, that lead to provision and access to water is very low. The study recommends enhancing effective participation of slum dwellers in such processes for improvement in quality of life and enhanced livelihoods. The study establishes that effective and balanced governance systems in the water sector, coupled with deliberate enhanced citizen's participation in activities with bearing on water availability, can guarantee improved water services coverage.