Community Capacity Development and Sustainability of County Government Funded Water Projects in Makueni County, Kenya
Mbatha, Mulei Benson
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Project sustainability is one of the subjects that is poorly addressed and a large gap remains unaddressed. The number of failing projects is extremely high. Though most development agencies have developed tools and techniques to track project implementation and that a project meets its key constraints, few organizations produce periodic assessment reports on the operation, maintenance and on whether projects are essentially generating the anticipated benefits. In Kenya, twenty five to thirty percent of community-managed water projects will be non-operational in the first three years after completion. This research project aimed at studying the influence of community capacity development on project sustainability in Kilome Sub-County, Makueni County, Kenya. In the county, people walk an approximate eight kilometers to access water compared to the WHO recommended one kilometer. The selection of the sub county for this study was because of its uniqueness in development physiognomies, high population morbidity and strategic positioning of the region. The research project focused on participatory practices, bottom-up strategy, investment in community capacity and community organizing approaches of community capacity development applied by the Government of Makueni County in its implementation of water projects in the region to determine their influence in the overall project’s sustainability. The research project used stakeholders’ theory, resource dependency theory, and utilitarianism theory to provide background on application of community capacity development in project management as a way of ensuring project sustainability. The research project employed probability, cluster-sampling technique to divide the sub county into geographical clusters called sub wards and data collected randomly from the respondents in the selected clusters. The research project targeted a sample population of 114 PMCs and 5 project staffs of the respective projects. The research used a closed ended questionnaire tool to collect quantitative data from respondents managing different water project. The researcher used descriptive analysis design to analyze data into quantifiable information from the sample. Adjusted R2 was used to measure the amount of variation in the dependent variable explained by the independent variables. The study concluded that community capacity development dimensions have a positive influence on the sustainability of Makueni county government funded water projects. The study recommends that county governments should establish effective community platforms to contribute their inputs and receive feedback, involve community vulnerable and marginalized groups, community member experts, partner/ support local institutions to enhance project performance in the long run. The county governments should also establish new or strengthen the existing water user groups as well as strengthen the skills of the community in project management. That will ensure the continuity of the project into the future, way after the donor exit.