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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Mara-Tafadzwa Makoni

The relationship between aid effectiveness and sustainable urban water supply and sanitation service delivery in rebuilding fragile states: Zimbabwe as a case study

Mara-Tafadzwa Makoni

The relationship between aid effectiveness and sustainable urban water supply and sanitation service delivery in rebuilding fragile states: Zimbabwe as a case study

The 2005 DFID paper, "Why we need to work more effectively in fragile states” outlines the role of the Department for International Development (DFID) in the international development arena and critiques the effectiveness of the way in which aid had, up-to the time, been delivered in fragile states. Zimbabwe – by DFID’s definition is one such fragile state where “the government is strong but not committed to poverty reduction” with particular reference to failed public service delivery systems. The aim of this thesis is to establish how an effective aid delivery can support the rebuilding of urban water supply and sanitation service delivery in Zimbabwe.

The 2008 urban-centric cholera outbreak which left 4 000 people dead and affected c.100 000 people was a result of overcrowding in urban areas, poor water supply and reduced access to sanitation coupled with periodic cutting off of water supply by municipalities. The urban water supply and sanitation network is now characterized by dilapidated infrastructure, weak institutional frameworks and low prioritization of the sector. An intensive capital investment is required to rehabilitate this network. If donor finance is to support sector service development this has to be delivered with a sufficient focus on sustainability.

The study first considers the DFID aid delivery chain and the impact this has had on the effective implementation of aid in Zimbabwe. In order to highlight how complex disbursement channels of aid can impact its effectiveness by preventing timely responses to a humanitarian crisis like cholera, for example; the thesis maps out the DFID bilateral aid to Zimbabwe within the water supply and sanitation sector.  The thesis further assess how the aid was delivered and identifies - by way of document analysis and interviews with delivery partners – challenges to sustainability of past interventions.

The research carries out a comparative analysis of Zimbabwe against two other fragile states with comparable socio-political economies, Mozambique and Zambia. This evaluates the state of water and sanitation sector in these countries and provides evidence on which to test the applicability of interventions in Zimbabwe. Evidence of ‘best practice’ in water supply and sanitation service delivery is drawn from the eThekwini municipality in South Africa. Interviews with key stakeholders in the water supply and sanitation sector in Zimbabwe – donors, users and sector institutions – are used to analyse the delivery value chain.  The analysis of the interfaces between the discrete steps identifies bottlenecks within the system and highlights areas where donor investment would lead to more sustainable outcomes.