The political economy of community management of public goods and services: a study of rural water supply sustainability in Malawi
Supervisors: Robert Leurs and Fiona Nunan
My research is a mixed-methods study of factors influencing sustainability of rural water supply in Malawi, involving analysis of a country-wide secondary dataset (50,000 cases), collection of new survey data in 4 districts (24 randomly sampled villages, 679 water points, 276 users and managers), and 20 key informant interviews with district and national officials, donors and NGOs. The broad focus of my research is on the political economy of community management of public goods and services.
I combine statistical analysis (in SPSS) with qualitative analysis (coding in NVivo) to examine the influence of ten key explanatory variables (e.g. installation quality, and access to spare parts) on water point sustainability. I then analyse the factors underlying these results, drawing on the concepts of bricolage and civil society failure to ask whether community management delivers on its theoretical intrinsic and instrumental benefits in practice. I conclude that it does not, and explore the implications both for theories of collective action, and for implementation of development programmes.
My research is funded by an ESRC Studentship.
After working for NGOs in the UK and overseas for ten years, I joined IDD to study some of the questions that had troubled me regarding sustainability of development interventions.
Before starting my research, I worked for six years for a medium-sized UK NGO, specialising in monitoring & evaluation, learning and impact assessment. Prior to that I spent 18 months supporting local peace initiatives in Northern Uganda, and a year co-ordinating a peace programme on Israel-Palestine. I have also worked as an environmental campaigner both inside and outside Parliament, and as a researcher on a UK fuel poverty project.
BA Hons (First Class) Geography and Environmental Studies with Development Studies, University of Sussex (1997);
MProf Sustainable Development, Middlesex University (1998)
PGCert International Development, University of Birmingham (2009).
Development effectiveness, sustainability, impact assessment, evaluation and monitoring
Social protection in general, and cash transfers in particular
Environment and development
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Critical Approaches to Development (2012)
Seminar leader, NGOs and development (2010 and 2011)