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Title: Development of a consumer satisfaction based model for the provision of sustainable rural water supply in Malawi
Author: Matipwiri, Peter Andy
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 9914
Awarding Body: University of Bolton
Current Institution: University of Bolton
Date of Award: 2017
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The overall aim of the current research is to develop a consumer satisfaction based practice framework for stimulation of consumer practices essential for sustainability of rural water supply. This is achieved in the current research by identification of sustainability structural pillars essential for supporting performance of rural water supply service level indicators. It involves identification of root causes of problems that fail the sustainability pillars, developing solutions and strategies for increasing consumer satisfaction and sustainability. Findings from rural water supply sustainability research have shown that consumers’ behaviour is important for sustainability of rural water supply. However, existing knowledge regarding consumer behaviour and rural water supply sustainability is weak and sketchy. In line with the current debate on universal access to water and sanitation as a human right across the globe and more specifically, the debate on the high percentages of people not having access to safe water in right quantities and within an acceptable distance; including the deadly consequences of having no access to safe drinking water, the current research sets to explore whether focusing on consumer satisfaction can stimulate positive consumer behaviour which is needed for rural water supply sustainability. Drawing upon findings from rural water sustainability studies among them Montgomery et al., (2009) and Ungwe (2015) and customer satisfaction studies from Oliver (1999) and others, the current research examines the behaviour benefits of consumer satisfaction on rural water supply sustainability. Thirteen factors are found to be root causes of sustainability failure and eighteen solutions have been developed to manage rural water sustainability. Six strategies for improving performance of service level indicators have been developed in the current research. Using a mixed methods approach for data collection and analysis, the current research used a survey method (n=384), and semi-structured interviews through focus group discussion (n=24) and twelve key informant interviews in a ten cases multiple case study to collect data. This was done with the aim to investigate and understand underlying problems behind low consumer satisfaction and poor borehole rural water supply systems sustainability. Boreholes are a predominant source of safe water in rural areas of Malawi. Results showed that there are thirteen root causes that are responsible for failing sustainability pillars and only if they are managed that is when sustainability and consumer satisfaction will improve. Eighteen solutions packaged with problem root causes as a prescription have been developed. The current research has concluded that focusing on improving consumer satisfaction is good because consumer satisfaction is a statistical predictor of consumer behaviour and that the more satisfied the consumers is, the more likely the consumer will display desired behaviours for rural water sustainability. Overall the findings explored the role that customers have to play in improving water supply sustainability and offered empirical evidence on linkages between consumer satisfaction and rural water supply sustainability, giving a new insight into the debate on rural water supply sustainability in Malawi and providing important implications for policy. The current research has offered a practical framework for project managers, donors, funders, government and other rural water supply service providers to adopt and use in order to reduce incidences of non-functionality of water systems in rural areas of Malawi.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available