Applying participatory approaches to Community Water Management : a case study of George compound complex in Lusaka
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The main theme of this report is participatory approaches to water management in George Compound Complex. The impressive infrastructure supporting the water management activities in George Compound Complex has made admirable efforts not only to institutionalise, but also to implement the concept of community participation. This study was prompted by the fact that some residents have opted to continue using shallow wells, which have been declared dangerous for several reasons, instead of safe water provided by the project. It was therefore necessary to look at the level of participation by the residents in the management of the project water. Overall results indicate that the community is being supported and empowered to genuinely participate in water management. The management infrastructure for community development includes local water committees. The employment policy of the project deliberately favours the engagement of George Compound Complex residents only, in order to empower the local community. The water management teams are self-elected and add value to the community's participation efforts. As a result, residents are better committed to this project than they had been to the previous one, as shown by established and functional water committees, reduction in vandalism, efforts at cost recovery and more importantly, the successful reduction in cases of cholera and diarrhoeal diseases. However, the fact that some residents have opted to use water from shallow wells instead of safe water provided by the project poses a threat to the well being of the whole community. In general the study found that community participation in the management of George Compound Complex in the water supply system, has improved in the welfare of the community. This whole achievement can be destroyed by the threat from the continued use of shallow wells. The fight against shallow wells needs to be intensified through participatory approaches.