UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Water materialities and citizen engagement : testing the implications of water access and quality for community engagement in Ghana and South Africa Harris, Leila; Kleiber, Danika; Rodina, Lucy; Yaylaci, Sule; Goldin, Jacqueline; Owen, Germaine


We analyze the relationship between perceptions of domestic water access, and quality, in relation community engagement. While others have suggested linkages between material conditions of water access and engagement (e.g., that poor water access might spur engagement), to date there have been no studies those test these relationships using statistical methods. Based on a quantitative analysis of survey data from underserved sites in Accra, Ghana, and Cape Town, South Africa, our results show that water access and quality are both predictive of community engagement. The analysis also makes a strong case that there are different dimensions when considering the material conditions of water—in this case, water access and quality each condition engagement in opposite directions. Furthermore, consistent with other studies, our study also shows different demographics (notably gender) mediate these relationships in important ways.

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