Jordan Machtelinckx just completed his Bachelor's thesis for a degree in Civil Engineering in International Studies, 'Challenges of Implementing International Water Infrastructure Development Projects: A Diagnostic Tool'.
Very good! Hint: don't read it on the plane.
Negotiating the challenges of implementing international water infrastructure development projects in rural communities is a complex task requiring a balance of technical design skills and cultural competency. This paper aims to highlight fundamental, yet commonly overlooked challenges faced by organizations from Western countries implementing water projects in an international development context. Communication between a host community and a foreign project team can lead to unexpected confusion and conflict about logistics and implementation. Other cultural discontinuities can isolate key players in the project over confusion of timelines and design solutions. Fostering community participation in a development project is a necessity for sustainability, but in practice is ridden with nuances that can jeopardize project success. The technical design of a rural water infrastructure development project is often vastly different than providing an equivalent service in the foreign project team’s home country, and underestimated challenges resulting from unconventional project constraints, inappropriate levels of technology, and a lack of foresight in technical designs can compromise water projects from the start. This paper is a diagnostic tool aimed to prepare an international project team to successfully negotiate some of the fundamental challenges in implementing international water infrastructure development projects. It describes the concepts and consequences of these challenges, and defines the ways in which they are almost entirely case-dependent and do not have formulaic solutions.
"Beware of do-gooders bearing money and gizmos." - Unknown