Assessing the Influence of Social Capital on Water Point Sustainability in Rural Ethiopia Open Access

Person, Margaret (2015)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/1n79h470d?locale=en
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Abstract

Introduction: Rural Ethiopia has among the lowest rates of access to improved water in the world. One of the main challenges to achieving access to improved water is sustainability, or continued functionality, of water points over time. While there are many factors that affect sustainability, good community governance has been shown to be strongly associated with sustainable water points. A community's underlying social conditions are the basis for all community governance, which can be better understood by measuring social capital. Social capital refers to the networks, norms, and trust that facilitate social behaviors, and has not yet been explored in great detail in the water, sanitation, and hygiene sector.

Methods: The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of social capital on community water point governance and sustainability in rural Ethiopia. We achieved this by developing survey tools and conducting research in communities in the Amhara Region (n=16) and the Oromia Region (n=16). In each community we randomly sampled 20 households and administered a social capital survey (n=640), and also conducted functionality and governance assessments with one or more water committee members (n=32). Social capital was divided into six domains - groups and networks, trust and solidarity, information and communication, social cohesion and inclusion, and empowerment and political action - and each domain comprised a section of the household survey. Using our data, we created a social capital index, functionality index, and governance index, which we aggregated to the community level.

Results: We found significant associations (p<0.05) between a number of social capital domains and governance: groups and networks, trust and solidarity, and information and communication. Every governance indicator was significantly associated with functionality, supporting our assumption that good governance is associated with functionality. No social capital domains were significantly associated with functionality.

Conclusions: The significant domains of social capital can help us understand which community characteristics and beliefs contribute to stronger water point governance, and can inform institutional efforts to harness and guide social capital in the context of water sustainability. The survey tools can be used elsewhere in Ethiopia and adapted for use in other countries.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: Literature Review.. 1

ACCESS TO WATER IN 2015. 1

GLOBAL WATER-RELATED DISEASE BURDEN.. 2

WATER SUSTAINABILITY. 2

FACTORS AFFECTING SUSTAINABILITY. 5

GOVERNANCE. 7

SOCIAL CAPITAL. 9

MEASURING SOCIAL CAPITAL. 11

SOCIAL CAPITAL AND GOVERNANCE. 14

RESEARCH QUESTION AND OBJECTIVES. 16

JUSTIFICATION FOR RESEARCH.. 16

CHAPTER 2: Manuscript 18

INTRODUCTION.. 18

Water Sustainability 18

Social Capital and Community Water Management 20

METHODS. 23

Study Setting 23

Selection Criteria. 24

Survey Tool Development 24

Data Collection. 25

Data Analysis 27

RESULTS. 29

Social Capital Indices 29

DISCUSSION.. 36

Limitations 39

CONCLUSION.. 41

CHAPTER 3: Public Health Implications. 43

FOSTERING SOCIAL CAPITAL. 43

APPLICATION OF FINDINGS. 44

REFERENCES. 45

APPENDICES. 54

APPENDIX A. 54

APPENDIX A 66

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