5.1.2 Benefits of participation

The benefits of participation are closely linked to the benefits of inclusion that you read about in Study Session 1. If people participate fully in the water and sanitation planning and decision-making process, it will bring about change in them as people and to the community and the country in terms of improving health and productivity. It also contributes to the sustainability of new services because when you are part of the process, you own it and care for it. Meaningful participation produces better, more successful outcomes, as illustrated in Case Study 5.1.

Case Study 5.1 Bayu Muluneh and the borehole for Alefa village

Alefa, a village in rural Amhara, had not had a water supply nearby for nearly a century. Many agencies came to Alefa to develop underground water, but they were not successful; the drilling failed many times because they could not locate a site where water is available. Bayu Muluneh, aged 71, had almost lost hope of seeing safe water flowing through the tap in his village.

Two years ago a team from WaterAid and Water Action came to his village and asked elders, including Bayu, to help them select the site for drilling the borehole. The elders knew about sites where there had been springs many years before, but the springs had dried up because of changes in the climate. Based on this indigenous local knowledge, the team conducted further studies, and when they drilled the borehole they found a reliable water supply. Without the active participation of the elders in site selection, their efforts would have failed again.

5.1.1 Participation and meaningful participation

5.2 Making community participation inclusive and accessible