Capacity building alongside delivery in the rural development context : a comparative study of the Ngwavuma and Mapumulo water schemes.
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This dissertation investigates the approach and process employed to both water delivery and capacity building in two distinct KwaZulu-Natal schemes within Mapumulo and Ngwavuma - the Masibambisane Water Project and the Shemula Community Water Supply Scheme, respectively. The principal concern of the study is whether capacity building may proceed alongside service delivery. The context of the study is established in exploring several theories of rural development, the role of power structures, the state and development agents, as well as the Reconstruction and Development Programme, in relation to rural development. Furthermore, the concept of capacity building is examined in terms of theory and practice in order to conceptually locate the schemes under consideration. The central argument of the dissertation is that effective management of the delivery process, from investigatory work through to implementation and maintenance of the product, enables capacity building to proceed apace. The primary research conducted around the respective schemes offers support to the argument and further highlights the centrality of extensive community consultation and participation within the delivery process. It is further argued that capacity building is not simply a desirable, but essential component of community-based development initiatives, particularly where the role played by community members subsequent to project implementation is critical to the sustainability of the product. In addition, a comprehensive and grounded understanding of the development context and of the needs and aspirations of the beneficiary community are advanced as being indispensable in seeking to successfully deliver a service in a manner that is appropriate and sustainable. Finally, the role of the state, funding institutions and delivery agents within the rural development context may prove highly effective in facilitating fundamental positive changes in the quality of life experienced by rural people. However, it is argued that in order for such development to proceed, such agents need to adopt a self-critical approach and adapt their current policies, practice and perceptions in accordance with the constraints and opportunities of the development context.