An Assesment of Sustainability Strategies for Community Managed Rural Water Supply Schemes in Njoro Ward, Nakuru County, Kenya
Mogaka, Elkanah Ombiro
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Community managed rural water supply schemes (CMRWSS) are community water projects undertaken with and for the community in addressing local interest, needs and aspirations. From preliminary observations, most CMRWSS in the country collapse or perform below expectation soon after the implementation phase. Some literature reviewed in this study attest to the fact that some of these rural water projects which depend on external funding stagger to survive once the support gets withdrawn as a result of what this study view as unreliable sustainability strategies in place. Report from World Bank (WB) reveals that the Government of Kenya receives donor aid from various sources to fund water projects in the country but most projects fail to yield expected results. That scenario opened a research gap the study sought to unravel. Thus, the study embarked on assessing sustainability strategies of CMRWSS by probing how community participation; project financing; management approaches and community training on operations, maintenance and management would influence sustainability frameworks used by CMRWSS. The study site was Njoro Ward of Nakuru County. The study used the stakeholders’ participation theory which appreciates the input of both internal (community) and external (donor) stakeholders as integral players in enhancing sustainability. Descriptive survey design was used as it gives an in-depth probe of the phenomenon under study. The target population was 4,743 registered members belonging to seven CMRWSS. The unit of analysis was ‘household’ because CMRWSS’ membership was per each household. Yamane (1967) formulae with an error margin of 5% was used to obtain the sample size of 368 out of the given target population. The sampled respondents were distributed among the four sub-locations in the vast Ward using stratified proportional sampling technique based on membership strength for each sub-location. Respondents from each stratum (sub-location) were selected through a simple random sampling technique. Five key informants were selected purposively to give their opinion on the subject matter. The questionnaire was the primary instrument or tool for data collection for this study. Quantitative data analyzed using SPSS (Version, 20) and descriptive statistics were presented through percentages and frequencies. The information was presented by use of bar charts, graphs and pie charts and discussions. Content analysis was used to analyze data that was qualitative in nature from openended questions. The study established that sustainability strategies of community managed rural water supply schemes could be made effective by: involving stakeholders to participate fully, adoption of reliable management approaches, training of community management committee frequently on project operations, maintenance and management. Developing strategic plans for financing water supply systems was also crucial. The study recommends that community members should be engaged actively across all the phases of the project, particularly at the planning and design phases. Also, the study recommends that policy makers could formulate policies to address sustainable financing of community water projects.