Determinants of sustainability of donor funded water projects: A case of water resources users associations in Bungoma county Kenya
Access to safe and sufficient water is essential for the sustenance of human well being and is a basic human need. Meeting basic human needs is an equity requirement. Statistics reveal that about 17 millions Kenyans, 43% of the population, do not access to safe drinking water. In quest to meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015, the Government of Kenya and other development agencies have partnered with the community with a common goal of enhancing access to safe and adequate water supply. Despite the numerous projects in Bungoma County, access to water has remained a big issue in this area. In this regard, the study purposed to investigate the determinants of sustainability of donor funded water projects in the area with a focus on capacity development process, institutional and management development, financial factors and community participation. However, there is limited information on this subject as limited studies’ have been carried out in Bungoma County. The study targeted a population size of 3,200 WRUA committee members and 5 stakeholders. Descriptive survey design was employed to gather information from a sample size of 320 respondents. Representative sample units were selected using purposive and systematic random sampling. Questionnaires and interview guide were used to collect data from the sampled stakeholders. Raw data was organized, edited, coded and analyzed for descriptive and inferential statistics using computer software, Statistical Package for Social Sciences and presented using frequency distribution and percentages WRUA had clear design process which spelled out sustainability as objective to be attained by 58.2% of the respondents agreed to little extent, though the managers did carry out baseline survey on little extent on community problem identification. On the level of trainers’ technical skills among committee members, a majority of the respondents, 82.6% indicated fairly good skills and 37.4% of the respondents asserted to great extent on the level of WRUA collaboration with other agencies on sustainability of water projects. An overwhelming 85.6% reported that funding resources of water projects were hugely dependent on government or donor agencies, 79.9% of community respondents indicated that their project goals and objectives on income from the projects were clear. Majority of the respondents cited to some extent by 56.5% that the community was involved in the management’s decision in implementation and operations issues of the water projects although 33.4% cited to have involved community in Monitoring and Evaluation of water projects of WRUA in Bungoma County, however, this is low. The study recommends that institutions should utilize various development processes to influence, educate and modify the behavior and attitudes of a target population, project implementers should be trained adequately on financial management, Effective project financial management strategies should be adopted to enhance accountability and transparency among community members on management issues and steer away conflict and increase participation in Monitoring and Evaluation. The study findings will benefit the Government, water project financiers and water users in realizing long term goals of new and existing water projects.