Implementation challenges of community based maintenance system of rural water facilities in Kassanda County, Mubende District
Nankabirwa, Mary Jesca
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This study examined the implementation challenges of Community Based Maintenance System of rural water facilities in Kassanda county, Mubende district. A descriptive design that deployed both quantitative and qualitative methods was used. The study was carried out in Kassanda county one of the two counties of Mubende district, covering 120 respondents. Data was collected using structured questionnaires, focus group guide, interview guide; key informants interview guide, observation and documentary review. The research findings revealed that, the existing policies and statutes as legal frame works helped a lot in provision of water and sanitation services at lower levels for example the Decentralization of water services helped to bring services near to the people in rural areas, and using the community based model for rural areas i.e. Community Based Maintenance System, water facilities in Kassanda County were functioning however, this was amidst a lot of challenges both at the community level and higher levels which called for immediate attention if CBMS was to remain a desired approach for operation and maintenance of rural water facilities. The challenges included people at grass root level were not aware of the existing policies, had limited knowledge and awareness of Community Based Maintenance System, portion given to maintenance of water facilities was low compared to the need in existence, , regional distribution of spare parts was ineffective since SPD’s were Kampala based, non payment of Operation and Maintenance fees, land insecurity, presence of alternative unsafe water sources, unfavorable policies, absence and inactive water and sanitation committees, limited training of both water and sanitation committees and communities, unlawful water user community, lack of spare parts, untrained source caretakers and poor sanitation. In some communities there was lack of enforcement mechanisms for existing bye laws, limited technical personnel both at TSU6 and district in the water sector, limited monitoring of works done in the district, lack of involvement for local resident hard ware dealers, Political intervention , concentration on construction of new water facilities giving little attention to maintenance of existing water facilities, few ill equipped, poorly trained HPM, inexistence of NGO’s in the district that operates in water and sanitation realm, meager resources at sub county level due to ceasing of graduated tax and inability to handle maintenance at sub county level. All the above either directly or indirectly posed challenges to implementation of CBMS in rural areas of Kassanda county. This study recommends that other actors in the water realm in Mubende district should execute their stipulated roles to enable smooth and coordinated accomplishment of the desired goal by enabling the three actors at community level, i.e. Water and Sanitation Committees, water user communities and Care Takers; to ensure that CBMS remains a desired approach for O&M of rural water facilities. Efforts should consider increasing the amount allocated to maintenance of water facilities, well planned training and sensitization of both Water and Sanitation Committee and community members on a continuous basis and not hurried, sensitization about land issues and ensure land security, sanitation and personal hygiene, use of a holistic approach, dissemination of CBMS to different levels most especially to the communities, redesign policies to suite rural areas, DWD and the district local government should monitor water quality, ensure increased collaboration and provision of an enabling environment to all actors in the water realm, use of better technology and complete big water facilities on time, put in place mechanisms of maintaining school water harvesting tanks, provide tools to HPM, enforcement mechanisms for bye laws, avoid politicking of the water and sanitation programme. It is important therefore, to direct more efforts towards solving the identified constraints together if CBMS is to remain a desired approach towards operation and maintenance of rural water facilities in Uganda otherwise if communities are left on their own without help from other actors, the expected benefits might not be realized.