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The role of the state in the provision of domestic water supply and sanitation in rural Botswana

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posted on 2015-09-23, 08:10 authored by Anthony M. Land
This thesis examines the role of the state in the provision of domestic water supply and sanitation in rural Botswana. The delivery of these services reflects wider international commitment to this sector. Support has been directed through the United Nations' International Drinking Water , , Supply and Sanitation Decade, which has provided member governments with policy recommendations and financial and technical assistance. These recommendations have prescribed the use of bottom-up delivery systems based upon community participation and local government intervention to ensure the achievement of policy objectives. The thesis considers how far the recommendations of the Decade have been implemented in Botswana in providing rural water and sanitation and assesses the extent to which policy objectives have been met. By means of a political economy approach to investigate the role of the state in rural development and fieldwork carried out to investigate the implementation of two specific projects, attention has focussed on the constraints to policy formulation and, implementation in achieving these objectives. It is suggested that the managerial informed prescriptions provided by the Decade are often, inappropriate to the policy arena of specific countries. This is because policy formulation and implementation are determined by factors which are politically motivated and which are not necessarily compatible with managerial or technocratic considerations. It is this inconsistency which has in large part been responsible for the non-attainment of policy objectives. Through detailed field investigations carried out in Botswana, the roles ascribed by the state to different institutions at the local government and community levels in rural policy formulation and implementation are examined in the context of the concept of decentralisation. The suitability of this policy arena for the delivery of the water and sanitation projects is then considered. From the analysis the conclusion, is reached that the context in which rural policy formulation and implementation takes place is not conducive to supporting a bottom-up strategy as prescribed by the Decade. Reasons for this lie in colonial history and in the political and economic circumstances of contemporary Botswana. In consequence, the provision of domestic water supply and sanitation has been affected in two important ways. First, the state has been unwilling to adopt the comprehensive prescriptions offered by the Decade. Second, where it has, constraints rooted in the state's unwillingness to decentralise rural development has prevented the achievement of policy objectives.



  • Social Sciences


  • Geography and Environment


© Anthony M. Land

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.