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Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geography

Supervisor

Susan J. Elliott

Language

English

Comments

Over 2.6 billion individuals do not have access to adequate sanitation. Another almost billion individuals do not have access to safe water. Further, water that is available is often laden with chemical and bacteriological contaminants, causing a variety of diseases such as shistosomiasis, cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and hepatitis. Individuals residing in Sub-Saharan Africa are the most greatly affected; approximately 30% of rural residents have limited to no access to water supplies, with women and children bearing the greatest burden. However, while infrastructure may not be easily accessible, the current behaviours of a community may also contribute to the continual spread of water-borne diseases. Therefore, a change in attitudes and practices may be necessary to ensure clean, sustainable sources of water within a community. This study is set in a marginalized community in the Lake Victoria Basin of Kenya. The objectives of this study are threefold: first, to explore the knowledge, attitudes and practices relating to water, sanitation and health; second, to investigate the key facilitators and barriers to facility access at the community level; and third, to investigate the key facilitators and barriers to facility access at the individual level. Results from focus groups (n=4) and in-depth interviews (n=25) indicate that while knowledge of water-health links are present, several contextual, compositional and collective factors interact to create barriers for improved facility access. The results from this study can be used in the creation of a community-based initiative to increase access to safe water and sanitation facilities, and contribute to our understanding of how to implement sustainable solutions to the global water crisis.

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