Much has been written on building the capacity of community based organisations (CBOs) to make them more effective and sustainable. However, there is a lack of literature on capacity building of CBOs that are providing water services in rural areas. This note looks at how a Community Development Team built the capacity of rural Kyrgyz villages to help construct and then manage their own clean water drinking systems. It explores the methods used, problems and issues encountered, the lessons learnt and conclusions.

In much of the world, rural communities still lack access to clean drinking water. This leads to illness from drinking dirty water and a high incidence of waterborne diseases. Access to clean water is said to be a fundamental human right. Often it is considered that governments are responsible for providing water. This attitude is particularly pervasive in previously socialist countries like those which made up the former Soviet Union. But in many rural areas of poorer nations in Africa and Central Asia today, governments neither have the resources nor, sometimes, the motivation to provide and manage this.

Is there an alternative? Can rural people and their communities address their lack of clean drinking water and manage its provision themselves? If so, can this be also scaled up to involve more than just the usual handful of villages? This brief paper looks at the experience of 200 villages in northern Kyrgyzstan. The villages rehabilitated their water systems between 2002-08 with financial and technical assistance from DFID and the World Bank. INTRAC supported a local team of Community Development (CD) workers, recruited from NGOs to build the capacity of these villages to operate and manage their water systems.


Praxis-Note-57 - Building the capacity of villages - Chris Wardle

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