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When good practices by water committees are not relevant: Sustainability of small water infrastructures in semi-arid mozambique

Ducrot R.. 2017. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 102 : p. 59-69.

This paper explores the contradiction between the need for large scale interventions in rural water supplies and the need for flexibility when providing support for community institutions, by investigating the implementation of the Mozambique - National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program in a semi-arid district of the Limpopo Basin. Our results showed that coordinated leadership by key committee members, and the level of village governance was more important for borehole sustainability than the normative functioning of the committee. In a context in which the centrality of leadership prevails over collective action the sustainability of rural water infrastructure derives from the ability of leaders to motivate the community to provide supplementary funding. This, in turn, depends on the added value to the community of the water points and on village politics. Any interventions that increased community conflicts, for example because of lack of transparency or unequitable access to the benefit of the intervention, weakened the coordination and the collective action capacity of the community and hence the sustainability of the infrastructures even if the intervention was not directly related to water access. These results stress the importance of the project/program implementation pathway.

Mots-clés : mozambique

Thématique : Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières; Economie et politique du développement

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