By , ,
Professionalized maintenance arrangements are growing throughout sub-Saharan Africa to improve rural water infrastructure functionality after decades of largely unsuccessful community-based management (CBM), but factors influencing their success are understudied. We used a multimethod approach to (1) identify influential factors on rural water system reliability and sustainability in the literature; (2) determine the most influential factors for professionalized maintenance through focus group discussions with a Ugandan maintenance provider’s technicians and field staff; and (3) identify statistically significant associations between these factors and breakdowns, downtime, and community maintenance contract status. Findings show that contract status, indicating consumer demand and payment, is influenced by service reliability, free repairs from NGOs, and the number of users. Handpump breakdowns are most likely during rainy seasons, when total downtime is longer for increasing distance from the maintenance provider’s nearest office, likely due to travel challenges. Based on compelling quantitative and qualitative evidence, we call for increased coordination among key actors for more successful professionalized maintenance provision. For example, aid actors such as NGOs must respect formal professionalized arrangements in the contexts where they work. Additionally, maintenance providers and their funders must ensure adequate resource availability to overcome travel challenges and ensure equitable service provision.

Cord, C., Fink, E., Javernick-Will, A., Mukanga, J., Bergeron, F., Harvey, A., & Linden, K. G. (2022). Multimethod Analysis of Factors for Reliable and Sustainable Rural Water Infrastructure Maintenance in Uganda. ACS ES&T Water.