What does it mean to work? A study of Health Development Committees and community engagement in WASH interventions in rural Sierra Leone

Start date: 29 February, 2016 End date: 31 March, 2016 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A29452 Countries: Sierra leone Institutions: Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark Grant recipient: Aleksandr Jakovlev Total grant: 16,778 DKK



The technoanthropological research project presented herein comprises an exploration of the work of Health Development Committees (HDCs) in rural Sierra Leone and how the rural communities in which they are situated engage with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions that have been implemented in them through cooperating humanitarian NGOs, and local governments.
The research participates in a wider ongoing program of WASH interventions in 21 rural communities in the Nongowa Chiefdom of the country’s Kenema District currently being undertaken by the Danish humanitarian engineering NGO Engineers
Without Borders Denmark (EWBDK) and their Sierra Leonean counterpart (EWBSL).
The approach to the research is inspired in part by the descriptive and explorative, context based case studies as described by Yin (2002) and Flyvbjerg (2006). The research however takes its theoretical and analytical point of departure in the sensibilities of ActorNetworkTheory. In this sense the ethnography conducted too, is ANTinflected, in that it pays attention to the relations that comprise the practices between heterogeneous sets of actors, human and nonhuman.
The product of the research is a map of practices that comprise these WASH interventions which can be used in navigating and rearranging work practices. What it implies and in turn requires is that work of HDCs, NGOs, Local Governments, researchers and so forth work together in a broader sense of community.
Further brought into focus in this study is how this type of research might contribute to discussions in the broader development discourse.