The relationship between post implementation impact evaluation


and sustainability of rural water projects in Kenya



By Dr Ronald Kwena

Kigali, Rwanda



Increased investment in rural water supply development in the last decade by both Government and development partners has not resulted in the desired levels of service anticipated. Access to safe water is a basic human need necessary for both the wellbeing and social economic development of populations living in rural Kenya. In spite of efforts to increase access, many rural water supplies completed have either stopped operating or are not operating optimally. This has resulted in loss of service to populations living in the rural areas of Kenya. Many of the dysfunctional water sources are operated and managed by community-based organizations such as Community Water and Sanitation (WASH) Committees, Water User Associations or Women groups WELL.   Monitoring, evaluation and review are the mortar that holds the building blocks for sustainability together and ensure the integration of the different sustainability factors. Monitoring is an ongoing process that should cover all levels of operation (from national governments to communities) and all aspects of rural water supply programmes (e.g. policy, institutions, finances, technology and O&M).


Lockwood and Smits (2011) further notes that in general, monitoring is integral to evaluation. During an evaluation, information from previous monitoring processes is used to understand the ways in which the project or programme developed and stimulated change. Monitoring focuses on the measurement of the following aspects of an intervention; On quantity and quality of the implemented activities (outputs: What do we do? How do we manage our activities?), On processes inherent to a project or programme (outcomes: What were the effects /changes that occurred as a result of your intervention?), On processes external to an intervention (impact: Which broader, long-term effects were triggered by the implemented activities in combination with other environmental factors?), The evaluation process is an analysis or interpretation of the collected data which delves deeper into the relationships between the results of the project/programme, the effects produced by the project/programme and the overall impact of the project/programme.

A report prepared for Global Programs, Field Support and Research identified several factors affecting sustainability of community managed water supplies (Hodgkin et al, 1994): Institutional factors comprising national, regional, community organizations and private sector entities), and Development processes which included sign, participation, operation and maintenance and M&E.

Technological factors such as Suitability, acceptability, responsiveness, servicing needs, standards and costs. Contextual factors and forces which include factors beyond the control of institutions involved to change. They include environmental, demographic (population size, growth and distribution as well as health indicators such as infant mortality and morbidity from water borne diseases), socio-cultural, political, economic- (rate of inflation, employment opportunities, income generation) and technological- (skills available in the 13 community, availability of equipment and spare parts and training opportunities relevant to the technology used). Other factors include project organization and processes including administrative and budgeting entities.

This pertains to capacity of local and regional institutions to continue development processes that have been initiated and apply skills that have been taught. There are also donor related sustainability issues including control, collaboration, standardization, coordination, flexibility and commitment- (long term). A study into rural water supply sustainability in Niassa Province in Mozambique found that among all communities visited, finance was compromising rural water supply sustainability as most did not have any savings or collected monthly contributions for operation and maintenance (Jansz, 2011). The study further found that while Water Committees understood their responsibilities, there were variations in how these responsibilities were practiced arising from inconsistencies in capacity and capability. The study found while some Committees raised and repaired some water points due to sufficient technical capacity, others did not because those trained with technical skills had left.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Kwena, R. (2021). The relationship between post implementation impact evaluation and sustainability of rural water projects in Kenya; PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue V, May. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/pmwj105-May2021-Kwena-post-implementation-impact-analysis-and-sustainability-of-rural-water-projects.pdf


About the Author

Dr Ronald Kwena

Kigali, Rwanda


Dr Ronald Kwena hold a PhD in Project management, Msc in Project Management and BA Finance/Marketing.  He is a Project management Lecturer at the Graduate School, University of Kigali, Rwanda.  He has vast experience in Project management and Monitoring and evaluation.  Dr Kwena has overseen projects from inception to completion in academia, public institutions and Non Governmental Organizations.  He can be contacted at rkwena@uok.ac.rw