Abstract for:Evaluating Dynamic Processes of Rural Water Service Delivery Schemes in Sub-Saharan African Communities to Inform Development Policy

Failed rural water systems in developing communities have resulted in millions of people without safe, adequate drinking water and billions of dollars in lost investment. Development sector actors recognize the need for more systems-based approaches to understand this complex problem, yet, most existing methods are inaccessible to practitioners. This work employs group model building (GMB) activities to address four key research questions related to this issue: (1) What factors do local stakeholders identify as critical for sustaining rural water systems? (2) How do these factors interact to create a dynamic system? (3) What dynamic processes of these systems are common across contexts, and which are context-specific? (4) How can a process that provides system dynamics (SD) insights be accessible to and utilized by local stakeholders? Preliminary results from seven sessions in Ethiopia & Uganda indicate that dynamic processes of factors required to deliver rural water services vary significantly across contexts and between stakeholder groups within the same context. This work will add to the (SD) body of knowledge by improving best practices for GMB approaches in developing contexts, advancing model validation techniques with local stakeholders and, evaluating the value of SD insights for decision making in international development.