Evaluating Causal Pathways to Sustainable WASH Infrastructure in Developing Countries

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In an effort to achieve the Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals, external partners, such as multilateral agencies, donor organizations, and non-governmental organizations, are providing water infrastructure assets to developing communities at an increasing rate. Unfortunately, while external partners provide technical, management, and monetary support for these projects, there can be negative impacts to their involvement. When these external partners withdraw from projects after the construction phase, lack of technical knowledge transfer or community ownership can jeopardize sustainable infrastructure operations and maintenance. To better understand which factors can predict sustainable infrastructure operations and maintenance, there is a need for more exploration of how external partners are involved in project delivery. Aligning with this goal, this study looks at 26 water well projects that have been implemented in developing countries with the assistance of an external partner, Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA). Using past literature on sustainable water infrastructure project delivery in developing communities, emergent coding techniques with project documents, and surveys with EWB-USA team members, the research team developed a set of project conditions to conduct fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) and respective truth tables. Preliminary results show there are several paths towards sustainable infrastructure operations and maintenance. These paths include factors that span technology and construction processes, project governance, and community engagement strategies. Results from this research will be helpful for informing how external partners deliver water infrastructure projects in the future and establish mechanisms that increase sustainable asset operations and maintenance. This thesis and the research it explains was completed as part of the degree requirements for a Masters of Art in International Policy Studies at Stanford University.


Type of resource text
Date created March 2017


Author Gasparro, Kate
Advisor Walters, Jeffrey
Advisor Stoner, Kathyrn
Degree granting institution Stanford University, Stanford Global Studies, Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies


Subject sustainable infrastructure
Subject water service
Subject developing communities
Subject qualitative comparative analysis
Subject Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies
Genre Thesis

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC BY).

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Gasparro, Kate. (2017). Evaluating Causal Pathways to Sustainable WASH Infrastructure in Developing Countries. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at: http://purl.stanford.edu/nh053gg2437


Stanford Global Studies Graduate Theses

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