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THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY BASED STRUCTURES IN THE SUSTAINABILITY OF WATER FACILITIES. THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY BASED STRUCTURES IN THE SUSTAINABILITY OF WATER FACILITIES.

Author(s): Water governance: best practices.
Congress: 2008
Author(s):
Author: Namwebe Mary Social development officer Voluntary Action for Development P.O.B ox 22281 Kampala. Telephone: +256 71 2879266. E-Mail:mnamwebe@yahoo.co.nz

Keyword(s): COMMUNITY,STRUCTURES,SUSTAINABILITY,ROLE,WATER FACILITIES
AbstractINTRODUCTION. This paper aims to share Voluntary action for developmentís (VAD) experience regarding the sustainability of water facilities through the use of community based structures. Provision of water and sanitation facilities to rural communities in Uganda is being done by many agencies including government organizations, NGOís and CBOís all working under the ministry of water ,lands and environment with the Directorate of water development the lead sector agency. VAD is a non governmental organization managing and delivering programmes in the water and sanitation sector where it has emphasized the use of community based structures like water user committees(WUCíS) and community monitoring teams(CMTís).The WUCíS and CMTS work in close collaboration with the local council leaders. Approximately 90% of the water sources out of the 430 protected/constructed by VAD in Wakiso district since 2000 are functional. This is attributed to a well trained WUC which devised means of fundraising for operation and maintenance and routine maintenance. METHODS. Several methods have been used to ensure that the WUCís committees, community monitoring teams effectively deliver their expected roles in pursuit of project sustainability which include: Community participation This is one of the major aspects emphasized when setting up water user committees and community monitoring teams. During community meetings, community members participate in election of a water user committee of seven members and ten members for a community monitoring team. The water user committee mobilizes the community members to contribute local materials of good quality and quantity needed in water source construction. Training. The water user committees are trained for two days in resource mobilization/management, conflict resolution/group dynamics, hygiene and sanitation, roles of each member, gender analysis/gender issues, records keeping, operation and maintenance. Operation and maintenance strategy. During sensitization meetings the local communities are requested to contribute operation and maintenance fees on a regular basis. The water user committee agrees with the beneficiaries of a specific water source for an affordable fee to be paid by each household on a monthly basis. The local council leaders assist in the collection of operation and maintenance funds. Monitoring. This is done in a participatory way by both the program staff and water user committees at community level using variety of methods to ensure sustainability of water facilities. Water user committees play a vital role of monitoring the status of the water facilities. Gender. Itís usually ensured that women are well represented on committee .Thus in most cases there is a balance between men and women on WUCs.Also children have to be represented on the committees. RESULTS. Increased access to safe and clean water has been enhanced by the ability of WUCís to properly maintain the water facilities. Reduced diseases associated with use of poor water have reduced to a great extent. Increased sense of ownership over communal facilities has been achieved. CONCLUSION. Water user committees, community monitoring teams and local leaders have been very instrumental in establishing an operation and maintenance strategy, mobilizing the community and monitoring the water facilities which has led to sustainability of water facilities.
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