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Fostering equity and wellbeing through water: A reinterpretation of the goal of securing access

Francesco M. Gimelli, Joannette J. Bos and Briony C. Rogers

World Development, 2018, vol. 104, issue C, 1-9

Abstract: Current approaches to the development of water services such as water supply, sanitation, and hygiene in the Global South are driven by the aim to secure people's rights to access such services. In this literature-based paper, we illustrate how such an interpretation of access limits the ability of development efforts in the sector to (i) address power inequities mediating access to water services, and; (ii) acknowledge and strengthen wellbeing factors implicated with water services beyond basic health. We argue that maintaining the current interpretation of access limits the ability of development initiatives in the water sector to address pressing issues mediating people's ability to benefit from water services. To address these limitations, we propose a reinterpretation of the goal of securing access in international development frameworks grounded in Ribot and Peluso's (2003) theory of access and Amartya Sen’s (1999, 2008, 2013) Capability Approach to human development. Such a reinterpretation strengthens the capacity of global efforts to improve water services to not only foster good health, but also address inequity and other dimensions of human wellbeing such as livelihoods and education.

Keywords: Water; Development; Access; Wellbeing; Rights; Equity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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