Factors influencing communities’ adoption of sand dams projects technology: The case of Ekalakala sub catchment, Machakos County, Kenya
Despite the fact that the Government of Kenya and donors have been implementing sand dams in Kenya, the adoption of these projects by the local communities has been minimal, adversely affecting the sustainability of the dams. The failure to allow the communities to participate has significantly eroded commitment by the beneficiaries to safeguard the water facilities, which has compromised the sustainability of such schemes. The local communities have therefore refused to adopt the water projects to the extent of being unwilling to contribute to the cost of operation and maintenance, which has highly threatened the water supply projects. As a result, many sand dams are unattended, even in the early project implementation stages, rendering the sand dam projects unproductive to the extent of some drying up. The outcome is: food insecurity manifesting itself as hunger, starvation, food rationing and poor nutrition; Conflicts from competing water use demands, low incomes, inadequate fodder and pasture for livestock; school drop outs; vulnerability to diseases because of poor nutrition; stalled development activities. In an effort to obtain a solution, this study assessed the factors that influenced the adoption of sand dams projects technology in the Sub catchment by local communities with a view of ameliorating the situation for socioeconomic development. The study used descriptive design and with the 17,000 inhabitants of Ekalakala sub-catchment area as its target population. The study used the Krejcie et al. (1970) method to obtain a sample size of 400 respondents from a target population. A stratified proportionate random sampling technique was employed to select respondents from the sample frame. Data was collected using a semi structured questionnaire administered to the respondents during data collection and a focus group discussion tool. A pre-testing was conducted before data was collected to test the research instrument before administering it. The data was analysed using descriptive analysis and multiple regression tests carried to establish whether the independent variables predicted the dependent variables. The study found that although residents of Ekalakala sub catchment highly adopted the sand dams’ project technology, they perceived that that the project belonged to the donors. The low income levels of these residents negatively affected adoption of sand dam projects. The study also found out that there was adequate information which motivated the residents to adopt these projects and the residents had the readiness to adopt and support this technology. The sand dams’ project technology was found be very beneficial to the community. The study recommends that; review of the legal framework to ensure professionalism in the Water Resource Users Associations (WRUA) management; the authorities should make policies for introducing cheap sand dam building technology; create an economic value of the sand dams to ensuring the communities benefit economically from the projects; and for awareness programs to sensitize the public about the sand dam projects. Using regression, Socio- Economic Factors, Level of Awareness, and Perceptions were found to be predictors of adoption of sand dams’ projects technology.