This paper demonstrates how findings from community involvement in service delivery in developing countries can be of benefit to engineers or NGOs working with communities to improve the operation and maintenance of urban services in developing countries. Traditional centralized systems for operation and maintenance, which are the responsibility of municipalities and utilities, are not delivering. Recently there has been a search for alternatives such as community based approaches. Internationally it seems service users are being encouraged to ensure the infrastructure in their neighborhood is kept in good condition. It is hoped that getting service users involved will lead to increased efficiency, benchmarking, raise awareness/debate, contributed to national growth, reduced waste, improved resource allocation, and improved competitiveness. However, evidence of the success of such schemes is rather patchy. It is recognized that neither community nor government can alone ensure the sustainability of infrastructure; a partnership approach is needed. The keys to improving operation and maintenance - and hence sustainability - are the availability of information and the attribution of clear roles and responsibilities. Operation and maintenance can be seen to be the most important determinant of citizens' satisfaction with urban services; this in turn can lead to better governance.


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  • Accession Number: 00988154
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 2 2005 12:00AM