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The project that forms the basis for this case study had two major objectives:

TitlePublic private partnerships and the poor : small enterprises and water provision in Kibera, Nairobi
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsMcGranahan, G, Katui-Katua, M
Paginationviii, 38 p.
Date Published2002-01-01
PublisherWater, Engineering and Development Centre, Loughborough University of Technology, WEDC
Place PublishedLoughborough, UK
ISBN Number1843800020 PB
Keywordsdrainage, government organizations, infrastructure, kenya nairobi kibera, land use, low-income communities, operators, partnerships, private sector, sanitation, sdiafr, sdipol, small-scale activities, social structure, water supply

The project that forms the basis for this case study had two major objectives:
1. To extend the water supply network in Kibera, Nairobi's largest informal settlement, and thereby providing the infrastructure needed to improve the health and welfare of the low-income residents;
2. To enhance the role of the independent private sector in the delivery of water in Kibera, and thereby providing the institutional setting needed to take advantage of the water network.

Allthough the project stalled because the externally funded work stopped, the study draws important lessons from this project:
- Land tenure problems do not preclude improvements in water supplies, but do tend to politicise water provisioning (even if the water operators are private)
- The private sector includes a wide range of operators, including many informal providers. The Kibera experience suggests that these small-scale operators play an important role. They are extremely varied, however, and there is considerable room for improving their efficiency and reducing prices.
- The benefits of private sector provision depend on the level and forms of competition. In order to increase market competition, it may be necessary to change the nature of the existing public-private partnerships.
- The benefits of public-private partnerships depend upon the nature of the partners and the partnership
- The benefits of consultation and local engagement depend upon the overall quality of the relationship between the project and the local stakeholders. In the Kibera project, the team hired to mediate between the project and the local stakeholders was not kept informed of the funding situation and in any case the consultation was restricted to the early stages of the project.

Several of these lessons suggest that recent attempts to generalise about what does and does not work in low-income settlements fail to address with the challenge of improving water supplies, and the extent to which it depends on the local context.

Notes21 ref.
Custom 1824


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