Identifying path-breaking transitions for Kenya?s marginalised communities in water and sanitation provision

01 Feb 2021

Purpose ? This paper aims to illustrate relationships between stakeholders in the conceptualisation and implementation of water and sanitation services (WSS) projects in marginalised settings of Nairobi and Kiambu Counties. It outlines these relationships in a flow diagram that shows a pathway analysis in which social innovation strategies are used as markers in the program of inclusive water provision. The study?s objective is to map the processes of social innovation in an effort to highlight the role of marginalised communities in their access to the right to water. Design/methodology/approach ? The paper approached the study using a case study design, and thereafter, constructivist grounded theory was used to further delve into the comparative cases. To map the processes of social innovation, the case study design was seen to be appropriate, as it sequenced activities in a time-series analysis. From these two case studies, four comparative cases were used to pinpoint path-breaking transition in the pathway analysis. The methods used in both phases were, namely, in-depth interviews, observations and document analysis, and these were complemented by field notes. Findings ? The paper indicates an opportunity to use emergent patterns for a more context-specific analysis of WSS projects in marginalised communities. It advances the role of marginalised communities as vital stakeholders in the approach described as ?the right to the city?. The model of spatial appropriation brings to the fore the binary yet separate processes that stakeholders engage in. Research limitations/implications ? Owing to the use of a grounded theory model, the results may not be transferable to other contexts. Therefore, further testing of the proposed pathway analysis and model is encouraged, as this model suggests ways of ensuring full community engagement which would result in greater success in projects involving marginalised communities. Practical implications ? The paper has implications for both the government and communities, in that more deliberate roles for the community-based organisation in the conceptualisation of WSS projects can lead to social learning opportunities for government institutions and greater success in implementation. Originality/value ? The paper justifies the need for government institutions to map and evaluate WSS projects using emergent patterns to highlight the role of marginalised communities as their right to the city.