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Promoting equity in water access: the limits of fairness of a rural water programme in semi‐arid Mozambique

Raphaëlle Ducrot and Magalie Bourblanc

Natural Resources Forum, 2017, vol. 41, issue 3, 131-144

Abstract: Bridging the water infrastructure gap has become a major policy concern. In rural areas of Africa, access to water is as much constrained by territorial coverage as it is by the poor conditions of water points due to the difficulty in mobilizing communities for repairs. This paper examines the equity considerations of a rural water and sanitation programme in a district of Mozambique, and their impacts on the achievement of the programme's objectives. Our analysis underlines the contradictions in the conceptualization of equity in the design, planning and implementation of the programme. Even an explicitly pro‐poor strategy can fall short of delivering equity. Our findings stress the fact that overlooking local perception of equity can have a direct impact on the ability of a community to ensure the maintenance of their water points. They call for a careful definition of equity in the design of water programmes, as well as closer attention to this criterion as a precondition to achieving the long‐term objective of the programme.

Date: 2017
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