Examining the Relationship between Community Participation and Water Handling Hygiene Practices in the Informal Neighborhoods of Kisumu, Kenya

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Community participation, Water hygiene, Informal neighborhoods, Kenya

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Community participation (CP) has been shown to result in positive outcomes for development projects. However, most studies have focused on formal settlements. This study deviates from this norm by focusing on informal settlements. Four such settlements in Kisumu, Kenya are analyzed to determine the extent to which water handling hygiene practices constitute a function of CP. Basic 2 by 2 contingency tables and commensurate Chi-square tests are employed. The results, which were statistically significant at p < 0.01, confirmed the hypotheses. Beneficiaries of water systems involving CP practice better hygiene—e.g., cleaning water storage containers and protecting water sources—than beneficiaries of non-CP systems. Those in the former group reported fewer incidences of waterborne diseases as well as less instances of odor in water than those of the latter. The findings lend credence to a less-known reason for community participation (CP), namely promoting and protecting the hygienic quality of potable water. Authorities in Africa and other impoverished regions would do well to adopt CP as a viable strategy for improving potable water supply project outcomes.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Habitat International, v. 62, p. 1-10