Factors affecting the utilization of community water projects for small-scale irrigation in Kyuso division, Kyuso district, Kenya
Musyimi, Augustine Muema
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This study was conducted in parts of the Kyuso Division of Kyuso District among community water projects and their user households. The objectives of the study were to examine the management strategies of community water projects, to determine how household production resources affect access to and utilization of community water projects for small-scale irrigation and to examine how gender relations affect access to and utilization of community water projects for smallscale irrigation. Ten (10) Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted among the selected Water Project Management Committees, while 74 structured interviews were conducted among user households. Four other structured interviews were conducted to selected key informants and local leaders. One questionnaire was utilized for the Area Head of Department, Catholic Diocese of Kitui. The analysis of quantitative data was done with the use of measures of centrality after coding with the help of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) computer program. Qualitative data analysis was done by the coding and content analysis of data in case summary forms. Key findings included the fact that 78% of the users were not acquainted with irrigation as a farming technique. All 10 management committees made requests for training in various areas to enable them achieve effective CWP management as recommended below. The poor were found to practice SSI more than the better off in the communities. NGO facilitators that achieved SSI in their CWPs were those that had it as a main objective, networked the communities to government agencies and the local administration. Women formed 81% of the water users but only 33% of the management committees. The study conclusions were that, in as much as the failure to achieve irrigation through community water projects can be linked to water development facilitators like communities, non-governmental organizations and government departments, economic as well as non-economic factors like culture, none of these factors can independently or substantially explain the failure by itself. The study's assumption that management strategies, gender relations and household economic status affect the utilization of Community Water Projects for small scale irrigation is therefore true. It is recommended that the government and concerned Non-Governmental Organizations should ensure the delivery of service to their targets which fosters their participation and enablement rather than lack of agenda and inability to maintain projects especially after end of external support. Projects should be designed not only to meet the immediate need of the target community but also to allow for the exit of the donor and for redesigning to meet future needs. More importantly harmonization of the functions of the services board and the resource management board should be popularized and actualized as per the water act 2002. The significant presence of women as active members should be supported by specific efforts to train them to take up leadership and decision making positions. The study findings revealed that there is a need for training in accounting, networking and skills to help build capacity of the communities to manage, utilize and develop water projects as production resources.