Influence of water provision on the quality of life in urban slum dwellers-the case of Kosovo-Mathare pilot water project, Nairobi
Growing demand for water services in urban slums in Nairobi has for long been addressed through various interventions by NOOs, CBOs and informal small scale water vendors. With the ongoing water sector reforms in Kenya, there is emphasis on strengthening the pro-poor focus of the sector. Institutions established to formalize water services are licensed water service providers (WSPs), along with water services regulation through the Water Services Regulatory Board (W ASREB), and pro-poor financing through the Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF). The primary objective of this study was to assess the influence of formalized water provision on the quality of life of urban slum dwellers of Kosovo-Mathare in Nairobi. The study explored the perceived impacts of the Kosovo water project implemented by Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) in 2009. The variables studied were affordability of water, access to water, quality of water and pro-poor focus by NCWSC in water provision. The main findings showed that reliance on informal water vendors had reduced hence the cost of water had decreased by 50%. Regularity of daily water supply improved for 51 % of the slum dwellers; in addition 92.9% covered less than 50 metres distance to their main water source even as 87.8% of the same populace spent less time to get water from their main. Health was improved for 36% of the slum dwellers as a result of improved access to safe drinking water. However, even as NCWSC empowered the Kosovo community to participate in sustainable operation of the water project, 91.8% of the community was not aware of the pro-poor policy by NCWSC. The research methodology used a descriptive survey design and data was collected using a questionnaire. It was administered to 98 respondents selected by stratified random sampling to ensure proportionate representation people from each of the ten Clusters of Kosovo. One focus group discussion with 9 participants was carried out at Kosovo to collect additional qualitative data. Correlational and descriptive statistics were used to analyze data, present and interpret the findings of the study. The recommendations from the study were that its findings could act as benchmark for guiding formalization of water service provision to similar urban slums. It also proposed better empowerment of communities operating such projects. This study may expose areas for further research so as to understand similar projects better.