Community participation in the provision of safe water services in the context of decentralization: A study of Busukuma Division Wakiso District
Nsubuga, Patrick Desire
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Despite the increasing evidence that decentralization plays a critical role in empowering local governments to take more control over the delivery of social services, local participation in service delivery remains a challenge, often being limited to electing local leaders. This study examined the factors that affect community participation in the provision of safe water services in Busukuma division, Nansana Municipality. A descriptive research design using a qualitative approach was employed and data was collected using Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Key Informant Interviews (KII), observation and document review. The research is premised on the theory of the “ladder of citizen participation”. A total of 75 people participated in the research and of these 32 were key informants while 43 participated in FGDs. The study was conducted in two wards selected purposively and these include Kabumba Ward and Lugo ward. Five types of water sources were found including; local wells, shallow wells, bore holes, tap water and home water tanks. Community participation was found to be at the tokenism level in all villages. None of the villages demonstrated citizen control of community participation in safe water services provision. In line with the theory, community participation was found at tokensim level as members are not involved in decision making and they consider the water project to be government owned. Government should enhance community participation by creating awareness about existing services and involving community members in the various project stages (i.e, planning, implementation, monitoring, etc) prior to service provision. This will create a sense of ownership and promote project sustainability. The government also needs to revive water user committees and increase provision of water sources at village level.