Mapping social accountability actors and networks and their roles in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in childcare centres within Nairobi’s informal settlements: A governance diaries approach
Despite many institutions gaining access to improved water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, childcare centres in informal settlements have low access and poor condition of WASH services. It is imperative to understand how existing actors and social networks operate in the WASH sector in childcare centres in Nairobi’s informal settlements.
To empirically map and understand how different actors within informal settlements influence the provision of adequate and quality water, sanitation and hygiene services within childcare centres in Nairobi’s informal settlements.
This was a qualitative study. We conducted an ethnographic study using governance diaries with 24 participants from Korogocho and Viwandani informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya. The governance diaries approach involved conducting bi-weekly governance in-depth interviews (IDIs) with study participants for 4 months, complemented with observations, reflections, participant diaries and informal discussions. We used a framework analysis which is partly deductive, informed by the governance framework and stakeholder framework.
Social accountability actors were individuals or groups involved in WASH service provision in childcare centres. The actors included both key actors (actors who are primary to meeting the day-to-day WASH service needs of children) and non-key actors (actors operating in the WASH sector but not always present for day-to-day provision in childcare centres). The key actors were unanimously identified as childcare centre owners/teachers and parents/guardians as they had a more direct role in the provision of WASH services in childcare centres. The actors had direct, possible or desired networks, with the direct networks portrayed more by the parents and childcare centre owners, whose roles included acting as a voice and responding to the WASH service needs of children as it relates to access and quality. Centre owners had more power/authority over WASH services for children in childcare centres than the parents. Key actors derived power by their discretion depending on whether a decision was beneficial to children or not. Lastly, the interest of key actors were diverse ranging from income generation, access to WASH services by children, compliance with government regulations, and promotion of child health, to the prevention of the spread of diseases.
Our study highlights that parents and childcare owners play an important role in WASH service provision. While service providers and other players may be statutorily given primary responsibilities for WASH provision, and more visible in official standing, among study participants they are not seen as primary actors but secondary players with ancillary responsibilities. We conclude that WASH service provision in child care centres may be realised when key actors have a voice and work within networks to demand WASH services from desired networks including the government. We also conclude that developing more direct networks and converting desired and potential networks into direct networks in WASH service provision is critical for the success of WASH service delivery. Lastly, actors in WASH services in childcare centres may need to collaborate in identifying potential avenues for strengthening existing networks that enhance access and quality of WASH services in childcare centres.
Chumo I, Kabaria C, Phillips-Howard PA, Simiyu S, Elsey H, et al. (2022) Mapping social accountability actors and networks and their roles in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in childcare centres within Nairobi’s informal settlements: A governance diaries approach. PLOS ONE 17(11): e0275491.