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Extent of Community Stakeholders’ Involvement and Outcomes in Communal Water Supply Systems in Malawi

Shawo G. Mwakilama

Journal of Development Policy and Practice, 2022, vol. 7, issue 2, 243-264

Abstract: It is argued that community participation in development interventions result in positive outcomes and sustainability, unlike where it is absent. This article assesses the extent of community involvement in communal water interventions in Malawi. This came against a backdrop of witnessing high failure rate, that is, about 30%. The study, therefore, sought to assess the extent of community stakeholders’ involvement, and whether this can explain the outcomes in these interventions. A mixed methods approach was followed, and primary data was collected through a survey and key informant interviews. Key documents were also reviewed. The study findings show that the very idea to bring a communal water point into the community is largely exogenous, and that there are significant levels of exclusion of community-based stakeholders in first three phases of water projects, with the exception of maintenance phase as it is essentially fate accompli. When functional and non-functional water points are compared in areas where there is evidence of community involvement, the former shows significant degrees of community involvement unlike the latter. This is one key aspect explaining positive outcomes and sustainability. All this, arguably, entails serious shortcomings in water sector in Malawi, demonstrated by failure of policy and enforcement of standards.

Keywords: Communal water; water projects; community involvement; participation; functional water points; non-functional water points; sustainability and Malawi (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1177/24551333221083403

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