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Does Project-Level Foreign Aid Increase Access to Improved Water Sources? Evidence from Household Panel Data in Uganda

Is Foreign Aid Improving Access to Water in Uganda?

PERI researchers Lynda Pickbourn, Raymond Caraher, and Léonce Ndikumana evaluate the impact of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) aid projects in Uganda on access to water and on the burden of water collection. Specifically, they examine whether proximity to aid-funded WASH projects improves access to water sources and reduces the time burden of water collection. The results suggest that while WASH projects increase access to water sources, the time burden of water collection may also increase, because people may need to travel longer distances and experience longer waits due to congestion at water service points.

Abstract

This paper combines geocoded subnational data on the location of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) aid projects in Uganda with nationally representative household-level panel survey data to evaluate the impact of WASH aid on access to water and on the burden of water collection. Specifically, it examines whether proximity to aid-funded WASH projects improves household access to improved water sources and reduces the time burden of water collection. Our results suggest that while aid-funded WASH projects increase household access to improved sources of water, households may also see the time burden of water collection increase, as they may need to travel longer distances and also experience longer wait times due to congestion at water service points. This is an indication that the supply of improved water sources is still insufficient relative to demand as measured by the population density.

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