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Analysis of a rural water supply project in three communities in Mali: Participation and sustainability

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This paper presents a qualitative assessment of the participatory water management strategies implemented at the community level in rural Mali through a water supply project — The West Africa Water Initiative (WAWI) — coordinated by World Vision International, a non-governmental and humanitarian organization. Data for the study were generated through a combination of primary and secondary sources in three villages. Results of the study indicate that while community-based rural water supply is a positive step in responding to the needs of rural Malians, the installation of boreholes with hand pumps informed merely by consultative participatory approaches and limited extension involvement will not necessarily proffer sustainable rural water supply in the region. A “platform” approach to rural water supply management that can mobilize the assets and insights of different social actors to influence decision making at all stages, including the design and choice-of-technology stages, in water supply interventions is instead advocated.

Keywords: Community participation and sustainability; Participatory water management; Rural water supply; Water supply management; West Africa Water Initiative (WAWI)

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Dept. of Biological and Environmental Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 2: Department of Education

Publication date: May 1, 2007


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