A political economy analysis of Uganda’s rural water supply sector

UPGro report from Uganda:


Many rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa still lack clean water for basic needs such as drinking and washing. Even where water points have been constructed, many break down prematurely or provide inadequate, seasonal or poor-quality water supplies. While techno-managerial factors are relevant in explaining these problems, attention is needed to the institutional and political-economic dynamics shaping policy outcomes on the ground.

This report presents the findings from a political economy study of Uganda’s rural water supply. Combining a review of the literature with in-country interviews at national and district level, the analysis identifies underlying causes of bottlenecks in the service delivery chain. Based on interviews with key informants, the authors recommend that the UpGro Hidden Crisis project:

  • involves stakeholders (particularly government) early on during project planning and shares preliminary findings
  • engages district-level actors and not only ministry experts in planning and undertaking the research
  • shares findings with politicians, as well as technical experts and development partners
  • produces accessible written outputs (e.g. reports and briefings) and disseminates these widely
  • hosts multi-stakeholder workshops or forums in which to discuss the research findings and their implications for policy and practice.

ODI is an independent, global think tank, working for a sustainable and peaceful world in which every person thrives. Their vision is a sustainable and peaceful world in which every person thrives. They harness the power of evidence and ideas through research and partnership to confront challenges, develop solutions and create change.

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