AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Project maintenance: the case of rural drinking-water in Malawi

by B Chisenga

Institution: University of Salford, Manchester
Department: Salford Business School
Year: 2014
Keywords: Built and Human Environment; Health and Wellbeing
Record ID: 1400949
Full text PDF: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/32859/


There is an investment of hand-pump technology to improve provision of safe drinking-water for the stakeholder end-users in rural sub-Saharan regions of Africa, yet there are challenges to maintain the assets. In rural drinking-water projects, end-users also assume the responsibility of hand-pump maintenance after projects are handed over to them by project sponsors. This study uses a realist philosophy to analyse the issues that hinder or facilitate effective end-user participation in a successful maintenance of drinking-water projects in Nkhoma and Bvumbwe, Lilongwe and Thyolo Districts of Malawi respectively. Data collection was done by employing secondary data (literature review) and primary data collection using documents, observation, and interviews to establish factors facilitating or inhibiting hand-pump maintenance. Interviews which were the main data collection instrument, recruited 12 Convergence Interviews (CI), followed by 39 Individual Case Interviews (ICIs) and two sets of Focus Groups (FGs) in operational and non-functional hand-pumps. CI processes developed categories related to hand-pump maintenance factors and associated challenges. The CI developed maintenance categories were further cross checked in ICIs that used semi-structured interviews and finally confirmed in FGs, documentary and observational analysis. Convergence Interviews data was analysed using a matrix while ICIs were analysed using likert-type ranking scales to identify the most occurring hand-pump maintenance factors. Focus Groups, observations and documents used content analysis to analyse the hand-pump maintenance factors. Results show that end-users maintain small- medium hand-pumps faults effectively if they pay a contribution towards maintenance costs and if local political structures are trained to repair the hand-pumps. Moreover, the study identifies lack of sponsor supports as the main factor leading to failure in the management of major faults and hand-pump rehabilitation, as this is beyond local capacity technically as well as economically. Hence, the study introduces a business approach to improving hand-pump maintenance by recommending some minimum standards on the demand-side (end-user level) as well as the supply-side (project sponsor and policy levels).