Knowledge: the power behind successful community water management

A capacity building session under way by W4W trainers for the Leboo community in Kajiado County, following a successful drilling and installation exercise.

Why do so many projects community water projects fail? This is a critical question for anyone involved in community water supply projects. Project facilitators wish to see their project fully working many years after implementation. The question on the causes for failure of many community managed water supply projects can elicit many different answers, most of them speculative.

The main common causes include:

  • Poor planning
  • Inappropriate technology
  • Insufficient stake-holder involvement
  • Poor workmanship
  • Weak sense of ownership
  • Poor management

W4W Trainer and Engineer explaining to the Leboo community how to manage their newly installed water.

The question of why many community water projects fail was posed to Mr. Hussein Dima, a W4W Programme Officer who is also a Christian Missionary and a community trainer of long standing. He summarised his reply in a few words: “Ignorance; lack of knowledge…”. In this simple answer lies almost all the causes for failed water supply projects: Lack of knowledge.

For each activity implemented by W4W, all precautions are taken to avoid pitfalls that may compromise the sustainability of the completed project. No box is left unchecked in providing wise and world-class water solutions.

A successful water supply system requires more than just a borehole and water pumping infrastructure. It requires sound post installation management system. In a sense, the installation of water supply system is a battle half won. The other half of the battle is to ensure long-term value for the investment. Impartation of knowledge and skills through training and capacity building ensures that the completed project receives appropriate management for its long-term service. Lack of capacity building (knowledge) underlies many failed community water projects.

W4W recognizes the importance of capacity building at local level to increase chances of projects deliver on the value they are intended for. W4W undertakes skills development among the beneficiary communities as an integral part of the project.