Money ‘wasted’ on water projects in Africa

28 March, 2009

This is the headline for a story on the Guardian katine blog, where Annie Kelly discusses a report that “criticises donors, governments and NGOs for installing boreholes and wells in rural Africa without ensuring their long-term sustainability”

Four comments have been made so far, including one by AMREF and myself.

AMREF pointed out that ” In 2002, AMREF helped communities in the Kathonzweni area to develop 50 shallow wells…By 2007 — five years later, and several years after the projects end — the communities had maintained the existing wells and built 20 new ones.”

This sounds very good, almost too good.

My comment was that “It would be useful if AMREF could provide (on this Guardian website) some information on (a) how they are monitoring the functioning of the wells they have helped to establish in Katine so far, and (b) the data that has been collected. Hopefully information is available on both the functioning of the wells and the functioning of the management committees responsible for each well.

There are problems with wells in Katine, like just about everywhere else. This is to be expected. Equipment does get damaged and worn. What matters more is how long those problems remain unresolved.

There will be a mid-term review of the Katine project in a few months time, which could look at the functioning of the wells then. But that would be a once-off inquiry and the risk is that (as elsewhere) extra efforts might be made to make sure things are working well at that time. Its the monitoring that matters.

regards, rick davies, external evaluator for Katine”


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