Presentation on theme: "Lenore E. Matthew, 1 Lissette M. Piedra, 1 Chi-Fang Wu, 1 Anne Kramer-Diaz, 2 Hanting Wang, 3 Thanh H. Nguyen 3 1 School of Social Work, University of."— Presentation transcript:
Lenore E. Matthew, 1 Lissette M. Piedra, 1 Chi-Fang Wu, 1 Anne Kramer-Diaz, 2 Hanting Wang, 3 Thanh H. Nguyen 3 1 School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2 Wuqu’ Kawoq Maya Health Alliance 3 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Mothers’ Impact on Bio-Sand Water Filter Use in Maya Communities in Guatemala Acknowledgments This project was funded by the Campus Research Board at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. Conclusions This study suggests that mothers act as both enablers and gatekeepers of point-of-use water technology use, and that family relationships, gender roles, and historical contexts between communities and international actors in part determine development intervention outcomes. Although technology-based aspects of water development and complementary education programs are critical aspects of water filter adoption, perceptions of the filter technology and previous experiences with development projects—both positive and negative— affect whether a family gatekeeper will encourage the water technology use. Development practitioners must be aware of how their solution fits into and affects this context. Aim To understand why individual community members use or do not use their in-home bio-sand water filter, to ascertain the factors and relationships that influence of use and non-use. Introduction Awareness of the fundamental importance of clean water for human development has triggered investment in research and development in point-of- use (POU) water treatment technologies—relatively simple, small, and low-cost water filtration systems installed directly into homes, schools, and other immediate “points of use.” Among the various POU solutions, bio-sand filters have become a particularly viable option, offering one of the more effective pathogen-removal systems, being relatively easy to operate and able to produce large quantities of clean water. For four years, our interdisciplinary, NGO/university collaboration has worked with Maya communities in Guatemala to implement bio-sand water filters in over 400 households. Developing, building, and installing water technologies are critical aspects of developing clean water solutions. Yet these engineering steps are only part of the solution. Across development literature, attention is increasingly paid to the processes related to development solutions and outcomes. Studies from this body of literature suggest that women— particularly mothers—are critical agents of change at the household level. Despite the emphasis on clean water as a necessity for development, and the increased investment in POU technologies like bio-sand filters to meet this need, no field study has explored household-level POU filter use or how use is affected by gender roles and family dynamics. Methods We conducted 26 interviews with heads-of-household and key community stakeholders in six Maya communities in Guatemala. The stakeholder sample included adult male and female heads-of- household, community leaders, and school teachers. The sample consisted primarily of avid users, as they were identified by local partners as the most willing to participate. Informants were identified through snowball sampling of filter users. To triangulate interview data, observation during engineering household visits to monitor filters and students’ reflective field notes were used. Observations and household visits occurred in the homes of both avid users and non-users. Interviews were semi-structured, averaged 45 minutes, and conducted primarily in Spanish by the lead author (US social work student fluent in Spanish and English) and one of two three Wuqu’ Kawoq program managers. A subset of interviews were conducted in Kachiquel and Tz’utujil, which were translated by a Wuqu’ Kawoq translator into Spanish for the research team during the interview. During fieldwork, findings were verified through collaborative interpretation with two local project managers from Wuqu’ Kawoq. This entailed discussion of the data, as well as a critical assessment of researcher-participant reflexivity and subjectivity in the field. Ultimately, we performed manual thematic analysis and inductively analyzed transcriptions in Spanish. These transcriptions remain a component of an ongoing mixed methods study on the community- level, interpersonal, and technological factors that affect bio-sand water filter adoption and use in Maya communities in Guatemala. Results Most families consistently use the technology. However, as noted from our own onsite assessments of filter use (e.g., moistness of filtering sand, which dries out with low filter use), some exhibited ongoing disinterest in using their filters. All community stakeholders saw mothers as the key figure in water technology engagement, being both promoters of filter use and gatekeepers who monitored their family’s use of the filters. The interviewed mothers identified themselves as the primary enablers of clean water consumption in their households and community. Mothers who consistently used the technology saw this as an investment in their children’s health, which they believed would ultimately help their community prosper. Stakeholders saw mothers as the key figure in water technology use, being both agents of change and gatekeepers. Mothers who consistently used the technology identified themselves as the enablers of clean water consumption in their households and community. Mothers who consistently used the technology attributed low technology engagement in other households to those mothers’ behavior, which was driven by: (1) Uncertain understanding of the filter technology; (2) Disinterest in the filter technology; and (3) Distrust in the filter, which stemmed from disappointment in previous development programs and missteps with the current program. Discussion Family dynamics and gender roles within the household and community affect the salience of development intervention adoption and use. In particular, mothers affect health-related technology engagement, acting both as enablers and gatekeepers for their technology use. This is a factor of their role as primary caregiver and their constant presence in the household. Mothers’ openness to and interest in the solution is shaped by understanding and interest in the filter and its benefits, as well as their trust in the filter and the development team. Encompassing these household dynamics are the historical contexts of international development, which shape a community and individuals’ willingness to engage in an intervention. Trust in international development actors are critical determinants of development intervention, and stem not only from experiences with the present intervention, but also from past experiences and experiences with other solutions offered by different providers. Community partners and engineering students in the field. Community member and mother with her bio- sand filter. UIUC engineering students and Wuqu’ Kawoq project manager assessing filter construction.
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