A Critique of Development through the Analysis of Potable Water Projects in Rural China
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Over the last decade there has been a push from NGOs to reach a larger number of people and to reach them in more isolated and impoverished regions. However, the success rates of these projects, particularly drinking-water projects, is quite low and in some cases can leave the people they were designed to help in worse conditions than before. In the 2007-2008 academic year and again in the summer of 2010, I conducted an independent research project in the mountains of southwest China to gain insight into why these success rates are so low. Findings suggest that the primary reason for the “failures” of the water projects is due to the project evaluation criteria coming from the development institution itself and not from the people it is intended to help. This discrepancy is the fundamental flaw in many forms of development work, not just in NGO water projects.