Factors Influencing Sustainability Of Water Treatment Projects. A Case Of Innovations For Poverty Action Chlorine Project In Rachuonyo South District, Homabay County, Kenya
Drinking unsafe or untreated water has negative health effects and has led to increased water related diseases like diarrhea, typhoid amongst many other water related diseases. This has greatly contributed towards death rates in Kenya. Treating water at the household level using chlorine is one of the most effective and cost-effective means of preventing waterborne disease in development and emergency settings because it prevents recontamination of water, Despite the fact that Innovations for Poverty Action has implemented a safe water project to reduce water related diseases and deaths, and also identifying different factors that influence the sustainability of that project, the major problem is that there is laxity on the community side. The purpose of this study was to examine factors influencing sustainability of using chlorine for treatment of community rural water in Rachuonyo South District. The objectives of the study were: To determines the extent to which community attitude influences sustainability of water treatment projects; To assess the extent to which community needs influence sustainability of water treatment projects; To establish the extent to which cost of chlorine influence sustainability of water treatment projects; and to examine how management of chlorine dispenser influence sustainability of water treatment projects. Theoretical framework was developed with “diffusion of innovation” theory being adopted which seeks to explain how, why and at what rate communities accept new ideas. The study employed the descriptive research design and the target population of the study was 68,152 households within Rachuonyo South District from which a sample size of 382 households were drawn and involved in the study. Simple random sampling technique was employed and information was provided by the household heads, or their appointed representatives while the data was collected through both structured pre-tested questionnaires and observation guides. Pilot testing was done in Rachuonyo North District to assess validity and test retest method to ensure reliability. Data obtained from close ended questions was analyzed using quantitative techniques such as frequencies and percentage counts and presented using frequencies and percentage tables with the aid of SPSS (Statistical Packages for Social Scientists). Qualitative data in form of experiences, opinions and suggestions, were transcribed, organized into various emerging themes and reported and were used to strengthen quantitative findings. The study findings revealed that training and awareness greatly contributes towards sustainability of a project. However, despite training given there is still laxity within the community, 26.5% do not see the project benefits and 33% of the community members confirmed that they no longer make use of that chlorine project. 25.4% do not use chlorine even at home in treating their water and 33.0% believe that chlorine is bad in the body and it also has a bad taste and that is why they do not use it, 12.3% are either not satisfied or fairly satisfied with using chlorine as a treatment method and 28.8% do not see the importance of treating water using chlorine. 71.2% indicate that chlorine meet their needs in terms of health while 28.8% indicate that it does not. 81.4% believe that the cost of chlorine is affordable and are willing to pay for it with or without any incentives. Community participation during implementation was 90% which was important to enable the sense of ownership. The study concluded that lack of enough knowledge has greatly contributed towards misconception of chlorine as a water treatment method and therefore affecting sustainability of chlorine projects for safe drinking water. The study thus recommended that, the government of Kenya should come up with strong policies on safe water and various stakeholders should work together towards advocacy and sensitizing the community on access to safe water and their health. Areas for further research are suggested on: the same study to be carried out on other districts for purposes of comparison, the extent to which cultural practices influence sustainability of community projects.