Look who's talking : explaining water-related information sharing and demand for action among Ugandan villagers
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Environmental management. - New York
, p. 780-796
University of Antwerp
Many national water policies propagate community-based participatory approaches to overcome weaknesses in supply-driven rural water provision, operation, and maintenance. Citizen involvement is thought to stimulate bottom-up accountability and broaden the information base, which may enrich design and implementation processes and foster improved water accessibility and sustainability. Practices on the ground, however, are embedded in socio-political realities which mediate possible beneficial effects of participatory approaches. This paper builds on full social network data collected in a Ugandan village to study the social and political reality of two distinct levels of participation, i.e. local information sharing among citizens and a more active appeal to fellow citizens to improve water services. We use Logistic Regression Quadratic Assignment Procedure to explore what type of actor and network traits influence information sharing and whether the same factors are in play in the demand for action to remedy water-related problems. Whereas social aspects (social support relations) and homophily (using the same water source, the same gender) play an important role in information sharing, it is the educational level, in particular, of the villager who is called upon that is important when villagers demand action. Our findings also demonstrate that those most in need of safe water do not mobilize their information sharing ties to demand for action. This indicates that building local water policies and practice exclusively on locally existing demand for action may fail to capture the needs of the most deprived citizens.