Skip to main content
TitleCommunity financing of handpump maintenance : a case study in rural Mali : paper presented at the IRC symposium ‘ Pumps, Pipes and Promises: Costs, Finances and Accountability for Sustainable WASH Services' in The Hague, The Netherlands from 16 - 18 Novem
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsJones, S
Pagination12 p.; 17 refs.; 1tab.
Date Published2010-11-16
Place PublishedThe Hague, The Netherlands
Keywordscommunity management, community participation, financing, hand pumps, mali, pumped supply, rural areas, rural communities, rural development, rural supply systems, water supply

Raising money from water users in the form of direct fees or other ways in which communities can generate revenue is considered essential by policy-makers to ensure the sustainable operation and maintenance of community handpumps. This paper summarises a case study of three villages supported by WaterAid and its local partner AMEPPE in rural Mali. The research explores the ways in which communities finance the ongoing costs of handpump maintenance and how these are linked to traditional social practices and more recent structures for water management promoted by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Although regular tariffs are considered the most preferable form of cost recovery by NGOs and donors, this research suggests that communities use a wide variety of ways of raising money. These may include fundraising activities such as collective farming by the water management committee or other village groups; setting varying prices for different uses of ‘drinking’ water (for example for animals or for construction purposes); imposing charges on particular occasions (for example on market days); and informal collections. However, none of the payment systems observed is sufficient to sustain the operation and maintenance costs of the handpump and ensure that any breakdowns are repaired quickly. Seven of the eleven handpumps studied were broken for periods of several months between the two research periods of May 2009 and September 2010. The paper suggests that NGOs such as WaterAid Mali should therefore: (a) explore how and why some communities do develop more successful ways of funding operation and maintenance; (b) consider lower-cost water services such as improved traditional wells as an alternative to handpumps; and (c) explore more innovative methods of funding operation and maintenance which may include external subsidies. They should also consider how current ways of raising money are influenced by both traditional social practices, and more ‘modern’ ideas from NGOs. More research may be needed on the details of payment and costs over time, and the effect of these on sustainability and access to water. [authors abstract]

Custom 1824, 202.7



The copyright of the documents on this site remains with the original publishers. The documents may therefore not be redistributed commercially without the permission of the original publishers.

Back to
the top