Factors influencing sustainability of donor funded rural water projects in Kitui county, Kenya
Kitonga, Daudi P
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the factors influencing sustainability of donor funded rural water projects in terms of community participation, technical services, projects' income as well as financing mechanisms and ownership. A survey research design will be adopted. Due to the broad nature of the study the survey research design precluded randomized sampling technique because it was difficult to sufficiently visit all the village-beneficiaries of all the donor funded rural water projects to make the results statistically valid therefore non-randomized purposive sampling was used. Data were collected using a questionnaire for water officers and an interview guide for village-beneficiaries. To establish validity of the questionnaire and interview guide, they were pretested as a means of a pilot study by administering to colleagues who are .knowledgeable in the subject area and research methodology in order to ensure that there were no double-meanings or ambiguities in the items. To collect data the questionnaires were personally administered by the researcher as well as interviewing the villagers in person. Qualitative data were analyzed by developing themes related to specific objectives. These themes were on community participation, technical services, project's income and ownership. Quantitative data were analyzed using frequency distribution tables. Participants were given the assurance that they remained anonymous in order to uphold privacy as well as confidentiality. A gap was identified in the study findings in that all critical factors considered in the study like (the local village community participation, village level technical water project's maintenance services, village community level management of project's income, village water project's ownership and the role of Tana-Athi Water Development Authority) as the key determinants influencing sustainability of donor funded rural water projects were actually not adequately executed in Kitui County. Therefore it could be concluded that all donor funded rural water projects were not sustainably managed. The researcher recommended for a more strategic oriented rural water projects management, which would be the pro-active approach to be adopted in the community water management. This would help by negating the current water management practices that are still focused on reacting to events that have already occurred: the re-active approach. The researcher suggested that further studies on factors influencing sustainability of donor funded rural water projects both in Kenya and the rest of the world should be conducted. A study on various water use and demand sites such as the: domestic, agriculture, livestock and other uses would help the policy makers and donor agency who are the rural water projects developers on the approximate water demands per village community. The researcher also suggested a study on the community preparedness to participate in and manage the donor funded rural projects regardless of any obstacles such as availability of cheap source of water among others. This would help in improving on the required community training which would boost the management of donor funded rural water projects and ensure sustainability.