The Dynamics of Communitarian Innovation: The Case Of Rural      Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) Systems in Costa RicaWO...
1. Introduction       Nowadays, 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, whereas 2.6billion still have non a...
The article aims to determine what are the dynamics of innovation in theestablishment of rural Water Supply and Sanitation...
The second theme relates to Community Based Water Supply and Sanitation (CB-WSS), which refers to the design, implementati...
3. Methods3.1 Model and Concepts       The theoretical model used, referred from now on as “CB-WSS System ofInnovation (CB...
Fig 1 Water Supply and Sanitation Community-Based System of Innovation (CB-WSSSI)!                                        ...
As mentioned above, Community is added as a new actor to the GSI three-actorsscheme. The World Bank defines community as a...
Fig 2 Endogenous Community Dynamics!                                         8
Concepts describing the endogenous dynamics of the community are groupedunder two categories:• Participation of the Commun...
• Leadership, refers to the leadership exercised within the community which may have    either positive or negative effect...
the Sanitarian Quality Seal Program (SQSP). BFEP was created in 1996 by the WaterNational Laboratory (WNL) to promote self...
H1.2    The greater the capacities of the community, the greater the CB-WSSsustainability.        To test H1.1 and H1.2 I ...
Secondary sources were also drawn upon, particularly reports, documents, theses,brochures and databases from local and int...
agenda resulting in the implementation of new communitarian programs fostering localcommunities organization and participa...
TABLE 1 Water Supply and Sanitation Coverage by Organization                                     Number of                ...
microbiological standards and proceedings. However, a major turning point took thewhole process to a new institutional lev...
whereas the second one refers to the effects of the same two independent variables ontolocal learning. Therefore, I set ou...
5.4.1 Puente Salas       Puente Salas is a rural community located in the District of San Pedro, County ofBarva in the Her...
At first, local residents participated actively with a large group of volunteersgoing up to the mountains during weekends ...
participating of BFEP, the local committee was able to obtain a two-stars flag given theirapplication to SQSP a mandatory ...
ought to go through the General Assembly’s approval. The General Assembly convenesonce a year; however, reasons for gather...
President states: “There is no herd” when participation is required and the “same 25” arethe ones attending the General As...
Board at the time, decided that in view of the regular complaints of the local residents,the best option was to quit her p...
In both cases, as mentioned above, local residents “feeling” and “living” theprogram are the drivers of their local implem...
BFEP and decided to establish its own BFEP committee, “Jacinto Basurilla”, named aftera character of a TV public environme...
communitarian initiatives. To address such situation, the ASADA started off a long-termwork to reinforce the significance ...
5.4.1.3 Capacities of the Communitya) Skills        There is no official information on educational level at the community...
garbage collecting sessions. At the school they are taught regularly about recycling,practice they take home and thereby m...
constant training, an opportunity she defines as “wonderful”. She is an active member ofthe community; in addition of bein...
In spite of ups and downs, she estimates that the local community has beenfortunate enough to have good leaders heading th...
practices of water consumption have been put into operation based on recommendationsin regard to regular habits that is wh...
New environmental practices also includes reforestation. Nowadays residents of PuenteSalas participate regularly of refore...
attend the reforestation journeys organized by the school and BFEP; they go up into themountain to come across with the st...
myriad of legislation has been set. Laws addressing the protection of natural resources thesuch of the Health General Law,...
as a collective one, i.e. the community of Puente Salas in a participatory manner decidedto locally implement BFEP. In tha...
to control water quality as one of SQSP requirements, been the community obliged topresent the results as part of their an...
the quest for those leaders ought to be in the top of the list of priorities of policy makersand public agents along with ...
Schouten, T. and P. Moriarty (2003). Community Water, Community Management: FromSystem to Service in Rural Areas, ITDG.The...
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The Dynamics of Communitarian Innovation: The Case Of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) Systems in Costa Rica

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The Dynamics of Communitarian Innovation: The Case Of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) Systems in Costa Rica

  1. 1. The Dynamics of Communitarian Innovation: The Case Of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) Systems in Costa RicaWORK IN PROGRESSPablo CatalanDepartment of Industrial Engineering, University of Concepción, ChileTechnology Policy Assessment Center, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute ofTechnology, USApacatala@udec.cl Prepared for GLOBELICS 2011 Buenos Aires, Argentina November 15-17, 2011Abstract: The article aims to determine what are the dynamics of innovation in theestablishment of rural Water Supply and Sanitation-Community Based systems byfocusing on the implementation of the Blue Flag Ecological Program (BFEP) and theSanitarian Quality Seal Program (SQSP) in Costa Rica in four rural communities. We usecase study methodology and set a logic model with two sets of hypotheses testing theeffect of local participation and management capacities in local sustainability andlearning. Our results show that leadership and sense of ownership do have a role inincreasing sustainability and learning.Keywords: community, innovation systems, water supply and sanitation.! 1
  2. 2. 1. Introduction Nowadays, 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, whereas 2.6billion still have non access to basic sanitation. Health, poverty, and gender impacts areaggravating. Just in terms of health, non-access to safe drinking water have paved theway for waterborne diseases’ rapid spread affecting already half of developing nations’population: every year 1.6 million people, including daily over 3,900 children, die forwant of adequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (UN 2005). On the other hand,people with non Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) do have more trouble to go out ofpoverty: as those ones in sickness are not up to work, local economies face manpowershortages and high health costs, thus postponing economic development. For instance,every year in India, 73 million working days are lost to water-borne diseases at a $600million cost in terms of medical treatment and lost production (UN 2005). Even more,however local entrepreneurs wish to start off their own small agricultural business, theymay not be able to do so as local services do not provide them with the amount of waterneeded to. Gender gap comes up as a social hurdle to overcome. Women are those incharge of fetching water by either waiting in line in urban settlements or walking hours inrural areas. Non access to safe and close water supply exposes women’s health tobiologically/chemically- polluted water sources and keeps them from attending school ona regular base decreasing their productivity and income-generating capacity. International discussions on what are the causes of such crisis and how to addressthem have been on for a non-short period of time. The Bill and Melinda GatesFoundation (2006) points to a current end-users and policy-makers/high-skillprofessionals disconnect resulting in producing failing WSS solutions. Whereas the lattermostly located in wealthier nations are set to achieve Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) by working on cutting edge technologies, the former demand “simpler”solutions enabling them to cope with dignity, access, and income challenges. As localrequirements must be part of the picture, the WSS sector is not good ground for “one sizefits all” solutions, so that promoting bottom-up-community-based approaches to generatelocally-oriented innovative solutions becomes an option worth exploring.! 2
  3. 3. The article aims to determine what are the dynamics of innovation in theestablishment of rural Water Supply and Sanitation-Community Based (CB-WSS)systems. I test a model based on the Systems of Innovation (SI), CommunityBased/Community Management (CB/CM) and the Institutional Analysis andDevelopment (IAD) conceptual frameworks. The model includes two sets of hypotheses.The first one infers about how the participation and capacities of community memberscontributes to the sustainability of their WSS system; and the second one considers thesame pair of independent variables but in terms of local learning. I use case studymethodology by applying the model to a sample of four cases in rural communities inCosta Rica with diverging educational levels. The article is organized as follows: a)research background; b) methods; c) results and d) conclusions. I have to noticed that thisis a WORK IN PROGRESS therefore the paper is limited to the description of the firstcase study. At the time of the Conference the work will be done and the presentation willextend to the 4 cases.2 Research Background Three themes deal with this article. The first one is Water Supply and Sanitation(WSS) referring to the dynamics that brought forth the so-called global water crisis. As Imentioned above, nowadays a significant share of the world’s population do not haveaccess to safe drinking water and basic sanitation resulting in the spread of aninternational crisis with devastating human effects. Although the international communityhas set out to bridge the gap by establishing the MDGs, there are various issues toconsider when analyzing future prospects for the water sector. The intertwining witheconomic activities such as agriculture, industry and energy, plus demographic andeconomic forecasts particularly in emerging economies, point to a feasible aggravation ofthe crisis. Such phenomenon should be addressed not only by increasing internationalfunding, yet by overcoming political and institutional barriers that have stood in the wayof fruitful solutions.! 3
  4. 4. The second theme relates to Community Based Water Supply and Sanitation (CB-WSS), which refers to the design, implementation and operation of water solutions atcommunity level. There is an historical tradition on Community Based/CommunityManagement studies that started out as a response to top-down decision-makingpromoted particularly by International Organizations. Their failure to provide sustainablesolutions raised the question of whether the participation of end users has been channeledin an appropriate manner. Not considering end users requirements and not empoweringthem to take over their own system have resulted in part into neither sustainable norequitable solutions. Furthermore, with end-users capacity building not been part of theproblem-solving process, there are no skills among beneficiaries to take over onceinternational experts leave the field, therefore what may be a good idea winds up as auseless application. The third theme refers to the conceptual framework of Systems of Innovation (SI)that is the question of what are the dynamics leading to innovation. In regard to thisstudy, innovation is proposed to be analyzed at community level, therefore processes ofinteraction, learning, variety creation and selection are reviewed. The framework is alsoused as to reviewing the current situation in terms of actors involved, collaborationpatterns, capacity building and decision-making processes. Although the school ofthought is helpful in most part of the analysis, I put on hold the definition of economicgrowth as the sole SI goal, as I include human development in light of the own features ofthe sector whose solutions are driven not only by a business growth need, but by aquestion of human development. In addition, a special point should be made regardingthe selection mechanism in place that is the dynamics ruling the solution-decision processin light of the difficulty to operationalize a valid design by following SI premises and themultilayer context of community-based decision-making; therefore to overcome suchhurdles I draw upon Elinor Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD)framework.! 4
  5. 5. 3. Methods3.1 Model and Concepts The theoretical model used, referred from now on as “CB-WSS System ofInnovation (CB-WSS-SI)” (see Figure 1), is set out to determine what is the role ofinnovation dynamics in the establishment of rural CB-WSS systems by drawing upon theSystems of Innovation (SI), Institutional and Analysis Development (IAD), andCommunity Based/Community Management (CB/CM) conceptual frameworks. I defineCB-WSS innovation as spinning off from a problem-solving process starting at theinteraction between the three Global System of Innovation (GSI) agents –ProblemSolving Organizations (PSOs), Knowledge and Information Organizations (KIOs), andGovernance- and an autonomous body, the Community (Cozzens and Catalan 2008).Interaction in turn results in Learning that is new competences or capacities affording thecreation, test, and adoption of new products or new processes (Bortagaray 2007; Cozzensand Catalan 2008). Learning may follow one of various paths either learning by doing,learning by using, or learning by interacting, with learning capacity measured in terms offormal training, enrollment rates at primary, secondary, tertiary education, and years ofexperience (Rosenberg 1982; Dosi 1988; Lundvall 1992). Nevertheless, to identify newcompetences or capacities learned by CB-WSS agents, educational level and years ofworking experience were not used as learning indicators as they do not show what andhow new competences or capacities were acquired. Learning by means of new CB-technologies and CB-approaches increases Variety Creation upon which market and non-market Selection mechanisms operate to draw a final solution meeting CB-WSS-SI finalgoal: Sustainability, i.e. the sustained operation of the CB-WSS system. As Schouten andMoriarty (2003) points out successful CB/CM is to provide a fully sustainable andequitable WSS system to a community, sustainable as community members are notdowngrade to lower level of water in terms of quantity and quality, and equitable as noneof them is left with unmet needs.! 5
  6. 6. Fig 1 Water Supply and Sanitation Community-Based System of Innovation (CB-WSSSI)! 6
  7. 7. As mentioned above, Community is added as a new actor to the GSI three-actorsscheme. The World Bank defines community as a group of people living in a commonarea, sharing common development goals, and governed by a set of norms that allegedlyprovide solidarity, therefore its members should be the ones in a better position toidentify their own most pressing requirements (OED 2005). Although communityconsensus may lead to problem-solving, intra-community diversity must be addressed.Communities are dynamic and constantly go through transformation processes in theirpower balance, wealth, size, and water availability (Schouten and Moriarty 2003).Therefore, I define community as a group of people living in a common geographicallocation, sharing a common development goal, ruled by a set of norms where solidarity isthe guiding principle, and with a heterogeneous socio-economic structure. Albeit myresearch question is about community development, there are some issues to consider inorder to have the correct definition of the unit of analysis. What I am trying to infer is therole of innovation in the establishment of CB-WSS systems, therefore I concentrate in thespecific events that lead to the creation, test, or adoption of a CB-WSS innovation. In thisregard, having community as the unit of analysis may lead to events not related withinnovation itself like circumstances that surrounded the creation of the community ornon-CB-WSS conflicts. Hence what I propose is to focus on the specific event of thecreation, test, or adoption of a CB-WSS innovation which I call Water Innovative Event(WIE). I define a WIE as a systemic and collective choice process in which actorsinvolved -Community, PSOs, KIOs, and Governance/Rules of the Games- interact, learn,and make the final innovative decision, with the goal of increasing the sustainability oftheir CB-WSS system. Two issues are considered once the WIE case selection occurs: a)focus on rural communities, and b) time frame of five years. In this regard, ruralcommunities’ dynamics are devised as a combination of endogenous factors interactingthrough a problem-solving process whose final goal is the sustainability of the CB-WSSsystem (see Figure 2).! 7
  8. 8. Fig 2 Endogenous Community Dynamics! 8
  9. 9. Concepts describing the endogenous dynamics of the community are groupedunder two categories:• Participation of the Community• Capacities of the Community Participation of the Community is conceived of as a description of howcommunity members participate in their WSS system by means of their interaction withsolution providers, and their role in the system’s administration and financing. Therefore,I define it in terms of three variables:• Interaction, refers to the dynamics of the participation of community members in the Blue Flag Ecological Program (BFEP) activities not related with holding administration positions nor the decision-making process, that is ranging from interaction with solution providers to participation in BFEP social gatherings• Administration, describes the participation of community members in the administration of the local Association of Rural Water and Sanitation System (ASADA) either as holders of administration positions or regular participants of the decision-making process;• Sense of Ownership refers to whether community members perceive the WSS system as their own; willingness and ability to pay the service fee and the enforcement of collection rules are dynamics to consider. I define Capacities of the Community as a combination of two variables:• Skills, refers to the capacities the community members have, in terms of education and training. To achieve sustainability the community should be provided with the right competences to be able to fulfill its role as local decision-maker. Having illiterate individuals working in the water committee may damage the odds of succeeding as well as locals with basic Operation and Maintenance (O&M) knowledge may increase them;! 9
  10. 10. • Leadership, refers to the leadership exercised within the community which may have either positive or negative effects by efficiently managing local resources or leading community members to lingering conflicts and disputes, respectively;3.2 Design To test the hypotheses I used case study methodology. The selection was madefollowing Robert Yin (2003) approach which calls upon three criteria to decide whethercase study is the best research strategy to use. Yin recommends case study as long as “ahow or why question is asked about a contemporary set of events, over which theinvestigator has little or no control.” (p.9). My research question is an explanatory-typequestion not dealing with mere frequencies or incidence; the phenomenon to be studied isa contemporary one, CB-WSS innovation is happening now; and I have no controlwhatsoever over innovative events occurring at the community level. I carried out a single-embedded case study in Costa Rica. The country selection isbased on three reasons. First, although Costa Rica performs well in terms of ruralcoverage, water quality is still an issue hindering the national water performance (AyA-PAHO 2002; WHO/UNICEF-A 2006; WHO/UNICEF-B 2006; WHO/UNICEF-C 2010;WHO/UNICEF-D 2010). Second, Costa Rica has implemented bottom-up publicprograms to encourage participation and to strengthen capacity at community level toimprove WSS services. The Associations of Rural Water and Sanitation Systems(ASADAS) are community-based social organizations at the core of Costa Rica’s WSSstructure affording community participation in decision-making and planning. Third,though national universities are working on WSS-R&D, Costa Rica’s WSS-R&Dcapacity is still low, therefore to infer about WSS learning in rural areas becomes a plusfor the design of future policies. In regard to the unit of analysis, I defined the Water Innovative Event “Water andSanitation Sustainable Certification” referring to the implementation of two publicly runbottom-up programs in rural communities: the Blue Flag Ecological Program (BFEP) and! 10
  11. 11. the Sanitarian Quality Seal Program (SQSP). BFEP was created in 1996 by the WaterNational Laboratory (WNL) to promote self-organization of local residents in coastalareas, communities, educational centers, natural reserves and touristic and environmentalzones to achieve their conservation and development in line with natural resourcesprotection, better hygienic-sanitary conditions and the improvement of public health.Once a set of guidelines and milestones are fulfilled, BFEP grants to end-users an annualcertification by means of a blue flag carrying a certain number of stars whose varianceestablishes the quality of the service, that is the greater the number of stars, the better thelocal hygienic-sanitary and environmental performance. SQSP follows a similar approachthan BFEP’s. Launched in 2001, the program also encourages self-organization andawards a flag-star-based certification, though this time to communities securing thesupply of potable water in a sustainable and environmentally manner. However, BFEPand SQSP intertwining goes beyond a similar awarding structure: to obtain a two-starsblue flag, local residents participating of BFEP Community Category (BFEP-CC) areobliged to have previously being awarded with SQSP certification. On the other hand,both programs diverge in terms of their category number and scope; whereas SQSPcarries a unique securing-potable-water-driven category, BFEP considers seven differentones ranging from beaches to natural reserves. Therefore, to better control variety and inview of the study’s research question of identifying dynamics of innovation in theestablishment of rural CB-WSS systems, I focus on the BFEP-CC, referring to thecertification of hygienic-sanitary conditions in hinterland rural communities.3.3 Hypothesesa) Hypotheses 1 (H1) I set two hypotheses dealing with sustainability.H1.1 The greater the participation of the community, the greater the CB-WSSsustainability.! 11
  12. 12. H1.2 The greater the capacities of the community, the greater the CB-WSSsustainability. To test H1.1 and H1.2 I use case study methodology by applying the qualitativemodel presented in section 4.1 in each of the cases selected. The model defines thesustainability of the CB-WSS system as being affected by two variables: participation ofthe community (H1.1) and capacities of the community (H1.2), and measured in terms ofBFEP-CC and SQSP stars.b) Hypotheses 2 (H2)H2.1 The greater the participation of the community, the greater the learning atcommunity level.H2.2 The greater the capacities of the community, the greater the learning atcommunity level. To test both hypotheses I used case study methodology by applying the qualitativemodel displayed in section 3.1 in each of the cases selected, therefore the definition of thevariables involved in H2.1 –the participation of the community - and H2.2 –the capacitiesof the community - are similar than in H1.1 and H1.2, respectively. I defined learning asnew competences and new capacities ASADA members, have acquired as BFEP-CC andSQSP were applied.3.4 Data Gathering The study draws upon primary and secondary sources. I conducted a total of 39interviews to ASADA members in the three ASADAS, managers and professionals atPSOs, and researchers at KIOs, all involved in the dynamics of BFEP-CC and SQSP.Interviews were done in four stages: first, in March 2008, second May 2010, third,October 2010, and fourth June 2011. Interviews were coded by using qualitative analysissoftware in accordance to each variable of the model and each local community.! 12
  13. 13. Secondary sources were also drawn upon, particularly reports, documents, theses,brochures and databases from local and international organizations4. Setting Costa Rica’s Water Supply and Sanitation System At first sight, indicators are deemed high in regard to WSS coverage in CostaRica. Numbers at the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (WHO/UNICEF JMP)show that in 2008 improved water coverage reached a national 95 percent, includingurban and rural areas, with improved sanitation a 99 percent. Even more, when analyzingurban and rural zones separately those high indicators remain. However, an in-depthreview shows a different context, particularly in regard to sanitation. When narrowing thecoverage definition by concentrating on house connections in terms of water supply andon sewerage connection in terms of sanitation, numbers decrease. Of particular interest isthe dramatic change on sanitation coverage in rural areas going from a high 87 percent toan almost neglectable 4 percent. The explanation of such dramatic change is directlyrelated with a massive use of septic tanks with 58.7 and 88.5 percent of the urban andrural populations drawing upon it, respectively. Therefore the high initial sanitationcoverage performance is due to the definition used by WHO/UNICEF when referring toan “improved” sanitation facility defined as “as one that hygienically separates humanexcreta from human contact”1. Nevertheless those semantic differences should not diminish the results of thesteady efforts undertaken to increase national water supply coverage during the lastdecades. Since 1990, house connection coverage has gone from 92 to 99 percent in urbanareas, though there is a more significant jump in rural average with coverage going from71 to 87 percent. The increasing trend is more remarkable when extending the period ofanalysis to the one between 1967 and 2000, when coverage in Costa Rica went from 65to 97 percent, with the rest of Latin America reaching an average of 85 percent in 2000(Sánchez 2009). Those trends are the outcome of a rural-increasing-coverage policy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"!http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/introduction/ visited on February 22nd, 2011!! 13
  14. 14. agenda resulting in the implementation of new communitarian programs fostering localcommunities organization and participation. As to organizations responsible for water supply, Costa Rica presents a set ofpublic and publicly supervised private organizations. The Costa Rican Institute ofAqueducts and Sewers (AyA) is the main body of water provision, along withmunicipalities, the Heredia Public Service Enterprise (ESPH), the Associations ofCommunal Water and Sanitation Systems (ASADAS), Rural Aqueducts AdministrationCommittees (CAARS) and some small private operators. In relation to citizensparticipation, the higher than municipalities and ESPH coverage share of ASADAS andCAARS -amounting for 26.3 percent of the whole population- comes to confirm thepursuing of a community-driven agenda to cope with increasing WSS coverage (seeTable 1). On the other hand, Costa Rica WSS legal framework covers administrationissues –Water Law, General Potable Law, AyA Law-, sanitation and environmentalissues –Health General Law, Environmental Organic Law- and regulation –ARESEPLaw-. In addition, in line with Costa Rica’s promotion as a high and respectful ofbiodiversity nation, a set of laws addressing conservation and protection of naturalresources are part of the picture. The Forestry, Wildlife, and Biodiversity Laws all dealwith the issue of water resources protection, and enforce environmental legislation thatconsiders the role of water in natural and sustainable contexts. In terms of organizations,to the mentioned above operators hose responsible for regulation and management shouldbe added: the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunication (MINAET), theMinistry of Health, ARESEP, National Service of Underwater, Irrigation and Drainage(SENARA), Technical Norms Institute of Costa Rica (INTECO), the Ministry ofTreasury, the Ministry of Labor, Institute of Municipal Promotion and Advise (IFAM),the Constitutional Court and the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic(OCGR).! 14
  15. 15. TABLE 1 Water Supply and Sanitation Coverage by Organization Number of Population Covered Organization Aqueducts Amount (%)AyA 180 2,074,941 46.4Municipalities 240 766,142 17.1ESPH S.A. 12 205,486 4.6ASADAS/CAARS 1,827 1,175,092 26.3Private Operators n/i 178,851 4.0 Source: Sancho (2008)5. The Case Studies The case studies upon which the theoretical model proposed is applied aredescribed. The Water Innovative Event (WIE), i.e. the unit of analysis, is theimplementation in rural organizations of the Blue Flag Ecological Program (BFEP) andSanitarian Quality Seal Program (SQSP) run by the Water National Laboratory (WNL).The process is reviewed in regard to the variables included in the theoretical model infour rural ASADAS.5.1 Blue Flag Ecological Program (BFEP)a) BFEP and SQSP In the late 1970s, WNL started off seawater sanitarian evaluations in coastal areasfirst in the Limón Centro and Puntarenas Centro regions and lately to several beaches inthe Pacific and Atlantic coasts. As time went by, WNL was able to set sound! 15
  16. 16. microbiological standards and proceedings. However, a major turning point took thewhole process to a new institutional level. AyA’s authorities, namely WNL Director,visited in 1995 the Province of Alicante in Spain. During the trip, AyA’s professionalswitnessed how the local Blue Flag Program, an initiative to control water quality inseawater, has become an asset in promoting public health and tourism. Therefore, onceback in Costa Rica, WNL worked on the design and implementation of a similar programbased on local community participation but with a major difference with its Spaniardversion: there would be no fee to charge for executing it. BFEP pursues to incentive the self-organization of local committees in coastalareas, communities, educational centers, natural protected zones and other touristic andenvironmental niches to promote their development in conjunction with natural resourcesprotection, better sanitation-hygiene conditions and public health improvement. Theprogram awards an annual flag-stars-based certification provided local residents meet aset of requirements. On the other hand, SQSP was established to encourage local WSSoperators to self-organize and secure the supply of potable water in a sustainable andenvironmentally friendly manner. SQSP does follow a similar philosophy than BFEP’sand the BFEP blue flag is replicated by the SQSP white flag. Nevertheless, the similaritygoes beyond the recognition system. Crossing several BFEP categories, the requirementof improving the quality of water for human consumption –the core of SQSP evaluation-is essential to succeed at BFEP’s review. Even more, in regard to the BFEP communitycategory to obtain more than 1 star, local committees are obliged to have previouslybeing awarded with SQSP certification.5.3 Case Selection The process of case selection starts off by setting a comparative sample of only-ASADAS in order to control for organizational asymmetries thus the case studies finallyselected do not differ from each other due to the type of administration structure currentlyin force. Next I focus on the dependent variables of each set of hypotheses. The first oneinfers about how local participation and local capacity contribute to sustainability,! 16
  17. 17. whereas the second one refers to the effects of the same two independent variables ontolocal learning. Therefore, I set out to have variability on both: sustainability and learning. To operationalize sustainability I draw upon both BFEP-CC and SQSP number ofstars during the 2009 operation. In regard to learning variety, I use the secondaryeducation rate at county level that is the share of the local population with secondaryeducation in each county. The selection criterion is to pick two local committees withhigh sustainability, that is with a high number of BFEP-CC and SQSP stars, and twolocal committees with low sustainability, that is with a low number of BFEP-CC andSQSP stars. In each set, the two local committees differ from each other in regard to theirlearning capacity, that is they have different secondary education rates, one greater thanthe other one. Therefore, I end up with two local committees with a high number ofBFEP-CC and SQSP stars –one with a higher secondary education rate than the otherone-, and two local committees with a low number of BFEP-CC and SQSP stars –one awith higher secondary education rates than the other one-. The whole case selectionprocess described above resulted in a group of rural BFEP-CC local committees: PuntaSalas, Pejibaye, Santa Rosa de Aquiares, and Tarbaca. Each one of them participates inBFEP-CC and SQSP in 2009, and are headed and managed by the local ASADA, in thefour cases known by the same name.5.4 The ASADAS The case study is displayed following the model presented in section 3.1, that isthe dynamics referring to the variables participation of the community, capacities of thecommunities, and learning are described. In addition, the collective choice processoccurring at the Puente Salas community is reviewed. Such analysis is preceded by ageneral description of the local community and the local implementation of BFEP andSQSP.! 17
  18. 18. 5.4.1 Puente Salas Puente Salas is a rural community located in the District of San Pedro, County ofBarva in the Heredia Province. Though the area is recognized as rural, the former head ofthe Puente Salas ASADA Board recognizes that the expansion of neighboring urban areasas well as the growing number of local residents prompt external observers to question atfirst sight the rural profile of Puente Salas. However, the community is still recognized asa rural locality particularly in regard to public services implementation. Local residentsdo have access to electricity and telephone services; children attend the local publicschool and there is a public local health clinic, the so-called Basic Team of IntegratedHealth Care (EBAIS). In addition, visitors notice that drawing on public transportationthey are able to reach Puente Salas from the city of Heredia in 45 minutes paying a lessthan $1 per ticket. Local residents have at their disposal recreational and social gatheringsites as the Community Room and the Sports Square, both have resulted from localfundraising efforts. The origins of the ASADA are in the efforts of the so-called “pioneers”, localresidents who wanted to contribute to their community by increasing the well being oftheir neighbors. To this day those pioneers are recognized with pride by the localcommunity and recently each one of them have been awarded a life achievement awardin view of their contribution to the Puente Salas local community. Until the mid-1970sthe local water supply system had been run by the Municipality of Barva, administrationthat resulted in a long list of complaints as the operator were not up to the local residents’requirements. Therefore, the local community self-organized and started, in words of amember of the ASADA Board, “a long and hard struggle” to set up an autonomous andlocally-run water supply system. Negotiations between the self-organized local residentsand the Municipality of Barva went for several years until they agreed upon handing theadministration of the local water supply system to the Puente Salas DevelopmentAssociation (PSDA), a deal that included the participation of AyA as the Municipalitywas not entitled to directly pass the administration to PSDA, thereby AyA was grantedfirstly the role of administrator which in turn it handed to PSDA.! 18
  19. 19. At first, local residents participated actively with a large group of volunteersgoing up to the mountains during weekends to build the new aqueduct with the materialsAyA provided them with. Local residents were so highly motivated that they worked for8 years to complete the construction of the local aqueduct. With the advent of theASADAS in the mid-1990s, PSDA decided in 1998 to comply with the new proceedingsthereby a new local WSS operator was established: the Puente Salas ASADA. TheASADA is headed by a seven-members-Board responsible for running the local watersupply system. The non-paid members of the Board are elected every two years at theAnnual General Assembly and are also responsible for hiring the ASADA Administratorand the plumber and his assistant. The Board includes the President, Vice-President,Secretary, Treasurer, and 3 additional seating members. Once a new Board is elected theyare obliged to present a two-years working plan to execute during their ruling period; atthe next Annual General Assembly a mandatory advance report is presented and at thetwo-years period expiration 90 percent of the targets should have been met.5.4.1.1 BFEP and SQSP In regard to BFEP, the local community started participating of it in 2006 once agroup of members of the ASADA Board attended a training session at AyA Headquartersin San José. At such meeting, they heard for the first time about the program, and thoseattending thought that BFEP would be a good match for the community of Puente Salas.To start the program implementation a local BFEP committee was gathered, formed by 6members, all of them local residents and seating at the board of different localorganizations. That is how of those 6 members, two also seat at the ASADA Board, oneat PSDA, one at the Board of the local public school, and two are members only of theBFEP committee. A Coordinator, appointed by the BFEP local board, heads thecommittee and is responsible for the administration tasks. Puente Salas is cited by BFEPnational authorities as one of the most successful experiences in light of the number ofstars local residents has reached in such a short amount of time. During the first twoyears, the BFEP committee received a one-star flag, which motivated local residents towork harder to obtain a better score in the following years. That is how after three years! 19
  20. 20. participating of BFEP, the local committee was able to obtain a two-stars flag given theirapplication to SQSP a mandatory BFEP requirement to those local communities yearningfor to jump to the two-stars category. BFEP and SQSP share some common features. Their star-flag-based awardsystems and their evaluation targets of securing water service quality and continuity set aresemblance pattern between both programs. However there is a major organizationaldifference: whereas BFEP requires a to gather a new local BFEP-focused committee,SQSP is run by the local water operator that is the local ASADA. At Puente Salas, theresponsibility for SQSP is on the ASADA Board’s shoulders with an active participationand leadership of the President of the Board; in addition, the ASADA Administrator is incharge of preparing the annual report to present before SQSP national authorities and ofthe Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of the local water infrastructure therefore she isregularly collecting information and monitoring the local facilities. As with BFEP,members of the ASADA Board were the ones that heard first about the program andvisualized the benefits its application could have for the local community. Those workingon the program are driven by their motivation to secure potable water, but also to learnabout new technologies and approaches that empower them to spread locally a new“culture of water”. Those targets have been met by means of the adaptation of new-to-the-community technologies –metering and chlorination are two good examples-, theregular maintenance of local water infrastructure, and the organization of collective andsocial activities reinforcing the notion of a rational and sustainable use of water.5.4.1.2 Participation of the Communitya) Administration The ASADA’s organization is based upon a three level scheme. At the top of thewhole structure is the General Assembly responsible for the electing the Board, includingthe President, and for the approval of major initiatives proposed by the Board. Amongthose initiatives, SQSP, metering and pipeline replacement are the types of initiatives that! 20
  21. 21. ought to go through the General Assembly’s approval. The General Assembly convenesonce a year; however, reasons for gathering differ from one year to another, as the Boardis elected for two years periods. Therefore, during an election year, the General Assemblydeals mostly with the election itself and the final report the leaving-office Board ought topresent to local residents; the next year, the discussion at the General Assembly will refermostly to the report the new Board deliver to members of the Assembly in regard to theactivities undertaken that far and whether those activities meet the targets set by the newBoard’s working plan presented a year ago. Members of the General Assembly are identified as “Users”. Not all localresidents are users. To become a user, they have to go through a simple applicationprocess, filling out a form they can pick at the ASADA headquarters that is reviewed andapproved by the Board. Though such a process is described as “simple” by the ASADAstaff and the local residents, the number of users is not high in consideration of the localpopulation. The Puente Salas ASADA recognizes 1,006 households as part of the localWSS system; only 92 are users who have already completed the application processthereby are entitled to participate of the General Assembly and vote. Of those 92 users, alow share attends the General Assembly each year. During the 1998-2010 period, 12General Assemblies were held with an average attendance of 30.8 people; the numbersdiffer when splitting out the records in regard to election years: 35.6 local residentsattended General Assemblies when Board elections were held, a much higher indicatorthan the 24.2 local residents recorded at General Assemblies with no election occurring.Either way the participation rate of local residents at General Assemblies is low: onaverage 30.8 out of 1,006 ASADA households, i.e. 3.06 percent, have attended theGeneral Assembly during the last 12 years. The explanation of such low participation rategoes in line with the behavior of local residents in regard to the ASADA. Communitymembers do complaint at ASADA headquarters about failures of the local aqueductparticularly when those failures affect them directly and demand a fast response.However there are not prompted to be part of the solution, and they expect others to solvetheir problems. As there is an organization in place to run the aqueduct, I would rathernot participate of the whole formal organization in any manner. As a former Board! 21
  22. 22. President states: “There is no herd” when participation is required and the “same 25” arethe ones attending the General Assembly along the years. In terms of the members of the ASADA, President, Board and staff, all of themare local residents. Both the former and current President have lived at Puente Salas theirwhole life and have been part of other communitarian organizations. The formerPresident seats also at the Local Development Association Board and BFEP localcommittee, whereas the current one has participated of the Local Education Board andSports Committee. The seven members of the Board are all local residents, even some ofthem did seat previously at the Board or are active members of other social organizations;even more, of the 31 people that have seat at the Board during the 1998-2000 period, allare Puente Salas’s local residents. There is no major difference with the staff. Theadministrator lives at Puente Salas and is also a member of the Local DevelopmentAssociation Board, whereas the plumber and his assistant have spent their whole life atPuente Salas. Therefore, the participation of local residents at the ASADA administrationcounteracts the low attendance of local users at the General Assembly in regard todetermining the participation dynamics of local residents at their WSS system. BFEP follows a simpler pattern. The organization is set upon a 6 members localcommittee, all of them local residents and as mentioned above seating at the board ofother local social organizations. The committee is responsible for the local BFEPoperation and for appointing a coordinator. The coordinator is selected among localresidents interested in been part of BFEP thereby to contribute to their community inincreasing local sustainability by means of promoting the protection of natural resources.Again, in response to the question of the local participation in the administration of localorganizations, all holders of administration positions are local residents. However, thereis a novelty. Seating at BFEP local committee does not result from voting, thereby thereis no election to determine its members, marking a deviation from the ASADA’s path.However, the simplicity of the organization does not mean there have not beencomplaints about it. A local resident did complaint about the BFEP local administrationand required to be part of it. The coordinator who was also the President of the ASADA! 22
  23. 23. Board at the time, decided that in view of the regular complaints of the local residents,the best option was to quit her position and propose the local resident complaining abouther role to take over. It turned out that after month of been in charge, the new coordinatorresigned and the former Coordinator was asked to retake her former position.b) Interaction To determine the dynamics of the participation of local residents in BFEPactivities the analysis starts at the local inception of the program. In 2006, the then-President of the ASADA Board along with a group of local residents attended apresentation about BFEP at AyA’s headquarters. The idea of taking the program toPuente Salas did need to overcome high skepticism, as local residents did not have heardmuch about it. Therefore, BFEP officials visited Puente Salas several times to introducethe program to local residents, who after several gatherings, self-convinced of thebenefits the program would bring to the community. A BFEP local committee wascreated, and was responsible for reaching BFEP’s offices to fill out the forms required topresent the community’s application. In the aftermath of such decision, BFEP officialskeep visiting the community, giving several talks at the Communitarian Room on BFEPprocedures and how the local community should self-organize to run the program. On the other hand, as to SQSP the path was similar. ASADA’s officials learnedabout the program at an AyA’s presentation, and noticed the benefits of the program fortheir community. However, in view of the at-the-time WSS infrastructure deficit, theyestimated they were not ready to be part of the program, thus they decided to postponetheir application until several infrastructure issues were resolved. Once the solution cameabout, AyA’s officials visited Puente Salas to introduce local residents to the program.Again, once local residents confirmed the benefits of the program, the implementationprocess started off. Although both programs follow a similar vein in terms of theirinception, the programs procedures require different types of organization. That is how,BFEP ends up been running by an autonomous local committee, and SQSP by the localWSS operator, that is the Puente Salas ASADA.! 23
  24. 24. In both cases, as mentioned above, local residents “feeling” and “living” theprogram are the drivers of their local implementation. In addition, the programs arerecognized as contributing to the well being of local residents. Those aware of BFEPidentify it as a valid entity to report any environmentally threatening situation. The caseof a group of neighbors reporting a landlord keeping open septic tanks with thesubsequent risk of a rapid spread of waterborne diseases is a good example. Localresidents affected by the landlord’s actions report him to the BFEP local committee thatin turn required him to solve the situation; otherwise they would report him to theMinistry of Health. The next day he was working on covering the septic tanks andstopping any leaking. The program has contributed in empowering local people inprotecting their right to a better environment by addressing reports of the threateningissues. As such BFEP has come to enforce new local environmental standards, therebyaddressing a long-held requirement of local residents. The BFEP local committee’s target is, in addition of securing natural resourcesprotection, to promote a “culture of water” which refers to moving the community to anew phase in terms of water resources protection and use. To achieve such goal, localresidents are introduced to new practices and habits, and are invited to participate ofseveral communitarian activities organized by the BFEP local committee. The Water Fairand the Annual Water Parade are two examples. Both aim to motivate local residents toget knowledgeable about water issues and practices and thus far have convened asignificant amount of people. However, there is an interesting point to make. BFEP hasbuilt a sound relationship with the school. As mentioned above, given the leadership oflocal professors, children are motivated to participate of BFEP activities by attendingreforestation journeys next to the local streams, be part of the Annual Water Paradedisguised in water-related costumes, or learning about water use practices at school.Children are so enthusiastic about it –normally they plant 400 trees during thereforestation journey- that they bring their parents along who in turn wind up asenthusiastic as their children. Such a high motivation among children responds to theactive role of the school within the program. Early on, the school was invited to be part of! 24
  25. 25. BFEP and decided to establish its own BFEP committee, “Jacinto Basurilla”, named aftera character of a TV public environmental campaign.c) Sense of Ownership The sense of ownership refers to the perception local residents have over theirown WSS system. In that vein, to establish the dynamics ruling the sense of ownershipamong local residents, the exploration follows an historical path going back to the groupof “pioneers” responsible for the creation of the local water committee. The constructionof the local aqueduct took 8 years to complete, starting in the late 1970s. As there was nolocal plumber at the time, local residents took up the technical job increasing theirlearning and knowledge every day on the field. They used to go up into the mountainsevery week end in their quest for new water sources and to build their new WSS system.The demand at the time for better WSS service prompted local leaders and residents towork for free in their mission, overcoming any barrier that showed up in the middle ofthe road. The former President of the Board describes problems they used to have inregard to their water source. At the time, the stream the community was drawing waterfrom turned out to be polluted by volcanic materials, thus water at households was stickyand turbulent. One of the pioneer, Aníbal Villegas, voluntarily set out to the mountainsfor long periods of time to find a new stream. His quest ended when he came across withthe stream “El Guacalillo” which turned out to be a better water sources in view of its 12months per year flow. The fact that at that time, volunteering drove participation of eitherresidents or leaders marks a point of difference with the current situation, where there ispaid staff in charge of the operation of the local aqueduct and to convene a high numberof users is a difficult task. New Puente Salas residents have migrated from other localities in Costa Rica,thus there have been questions about whether their identification with the community isas high as that of local historical residents. People coming from Guanacaste in the NorthWest of the country keep identifying Guanacaste as their hometown, postponing theirrole as a new member of the Puente Salas community, thus their participation in! 25
  26. 26. communitarian initiatives. To address such situation, the ASADA started off a long-termwork to reinforce the significance of been part of the local community among residents –historical and immigrants-, pointing to increase their sense of pride of been a PuenteSalas resident, by ameliorating communitarian facilities, organizing social gatherings,and working closely with the local school. As mentioned above the school has self-organized to participate of BFEP activities. Those initiatives have contributed not only inincreasing their knowledge but also their identification with their community. Whenparticipating of the reforestation journeys or been part of the Annual Water Parade, thestudents feel they are doing something for the well being of their own community; theirparticipation comes about in view of their sense of identification with their owncommunity thereby they to contribute to it. Such rational can be expanded to all thoselocal residents participating of BFEP or SQSP activities; the main driver behind theirparticipation is to contribute to the well being of Puente Salas and comes about amongother thing in view of the sense of identification thereby of ownership they have overtheir own community. In regard to the water fee collection, the system operates as follows: there is amonthly fee, set in accordance to ARESEP proceedings that is a marginal cost per cubicmeter of 90 colons is added to the basic tariff of 1,600 colons; the President of the Boardestimates an average monthly bill of 3,500 colons per household. Each householdreceives on the day ten of each month her/his water bill, delivered at their home by theplumber. With their bills at hand, local residents have until the day 20 of each month topay; if they do not on such date they have 3 further days, otherwise their service is cutoff. Although there is a monthly control of fee collection, there is no historical record ofhow many people have been in default of payment each month. However, at the momentof the interviews, the ASADA Administrator mentions that 200 people were in default;then with the threat of cutting off the service, in 2 days, only 6 out those 200 still remainin default.! 26
  27. 27. 5.4.1.3 Capacities of the Communitya) Skills There is no official information on educational level at the community level.However, in view that the whole population of the District of San Pedro is 8,560inhabitants and that up to date the ASADA provides water supply service to 1,006households, a good proxy to infer about communitarian educational background are theofficial district records. San Pedro presents a literacy rate of 97.12 percent; in addition ofthe whole population over 5 years old -7,712 inhabitants-, 4,073 attended only primaryschool -52.81 percent of the population over 5 years old-, and 2,275 did complete bothprimary and secondary education -29.49 percent of the population over 5 years old -. Inregard to tertiary education, the numbers are lower with only 8.46 percent of thepopulation over 5 years old declaring having a university degree. In regard to skills ofmembers of the ASADA administration, among the members of Board, 1 works at theMunicipality of Heredia, 1 as a preacher, 1 as a driver, 1 as housewife, and the other threeare pensioners having retired from administration jobs either at public offices or atprivate firms. The President of the Board is 73 years old, have primary and secondaryeducation and attended college for 2 years -he dropped out for personal reasons-; he liveson a pension from his work at the Ministry of Public Works and the Municipality of SanJosé. The ASADA Administrator who has been in office for 10 months does havesecondary education and is currently attending on his second year the State DistanceLearning University where she studies Education. Capacity building does encompass dynamics occurring at the local primaryschool. The significance comes about not only in view of local children having access toeducation but also of the BFEP activities in which they participate of. The BFEP localcommittee interacts regularly with the school in order to motivate children to be part ofdifferent initiatives they organized, thus promoting learning and honing theirenvironment-related skills. There are various examples to cite. Children are the onesleading the group, when the BFEP local committee convenes local residents to public! 27
  28. 28. garbage collecting sessions. At the school they are taught regularly about recycling,practice they take home and thereby motivate their parents. Their enthusiasm does notdiminish during the reforestation journeys, that is when the BFEP local committee callsupon the school to bring the children to plant their own trees in areas next to the streamsthat provide water to the community. They also participate of the Water Fair thecommittee organizes every year where they have the chance to present their work –drawings and writings- they previously prepared at class in regard to water use. Thewhole set of skills rise in line with the participation of the local school in BFEP. Theschool organizes annually two talks, the BFEP leading professor gives twice a year wherethey have the opportunity to learn about water resources protection practices. Such anactive participation has resulted in children having a new set of environmental and wateruse skills that before BFEP they did not have.b) Leadership Local leaders are not only concentrated in what we may recognized as the formallocal organizational bodies that is the boards of the ASADA or of the BFEP localcommittee. People working at varying entities also exercises a leadership in line withachieving higher sustainability particularly in regard to the protection of theenvironmental and water resources. Therefore, the analysis encompasses the role offormal leaders, that is those been part of the ASADA and the BFEP local committeeboards, and social leaders that are pursuing different types of sustainability-orientedactivities. The first leader within the community is the President of the Board of theASADA. In Puente Salas, the former President held such position until 2010, a middleage woman with secondary education, owner of a local store/restaurant where sheinteracts on a daily basis with local residents. Her store, a popular local meeting place, ison the main street, one block away from the ASADA headquarters. She is borne andraised in Puente Salas, where she also got married and raised her family. As member ofthe Board for the last 10 years, she points out that her job has allowed her to be on! 28
  29. 29. constant training, an opportunity she defines as “wonderful”. She is an active member ofthe community; in addition of being President of the Board, she is a member of the Boardof the BFEP local committee and of the Board of the Local Development Association. Insuch positions she actively promoted BFEP among local residents not prone to jump intothe program. Local residents easily identify her as the head of the ASADA. Her role is evenrecognized beyond Puente Salas borders. Even more, local recognition of her role isnoticed in daily situations. In another example of her social commitment, she has beenworking with the Red Cross for the last 4 years, though in the neighboring community ofSan José de la Montaña. Once, in the middle of a public collection, she knocked on thedoor of a local resident whose son used to spend a lot of time at his aunt’s home inPuente Salas. It turned out that the boy opened the door and called his mother sayingloud: “Mom, the lady from the aqueduct is here!” Her leadership is tested regularly either at dealing with disagreements betweenneighbors or at calling out to national public agencies to comply with legal requirements.Couple of situations confirms her leadership. For instance, years ago a group of localresidents could not agree upon a common waste management system resulting in liquidwaste being dumped on the open field with the consequent threat of attracting mosquitoesthereby to spread dengue. She remembers going and coming to talk with the neighborsfor 1 year until they opened their proprieties to do the needed reparations, putting on thetable the alternative of calling out to the Ministry of Health if no agreement was settled.On the other hand, her leading role also considers dealing with good-will neighbors whoestimate they are contributing to the environment protection, but they are not and may beeven damaging other local residents with their actions. An example of it, is a up-the-hillneighbor good at sweeping and cleaning the street but who dumped waste and garbageinto the drainage system. Problem was that once the rain came, the sanitarian facilitycollapsed and the neighbors living down the hill were greatly damaged. She talkedregularly with him to convince him to leave behind such practice thereby avoiding majorenvironmental harm to the rest of the community.! 29
  30. 30. In spite of ups and downs, she estimates that the local community has beenfortunate enough to have good leaders heading the ASADA and BFEP. However, shepoints out that one of the greatest difficulties that the President of the Board has is thatlocal residents do have great expectations on her/him requiring her/his presenceeverywhere and at any time to solve different types of problems. Overall, she is thePresident that has served for the longest time, been in office for 6 years. During the 1998-2010 period, 7 biannual elections have regularly been held; the only exception was in2000 when the low attendance obliged the Board to postpone the election for the nextyear. Overall, 4 different Presidents and 31 members of the Board –including thePresidents- have been elected, with an average time in office of 3.25 and 3.03 years,respectively. Two of the three Presidential rotations were due to differences betweenlocal residents: the first one in 2001 in view of the complaints about infrastructure andthe service quality and the last one, in 2010, due to differences from a group of localresidents with the former President’s administration. Nevertheless, as mentioned above leadership expands to other dimensions thanformal administration positions. That is how the pro-environmental teaching and learningat the local school have resulted from an active leader: Professor Chavarría. Mr.Chavarría lives in Puente Salas and has been working for 8 years at the school. He isresponsible for motivating his students to participate of BFEP social activities by meansof teaching them environmental practices and knowledge. He deems that theenvironmental awareness he is building in the children will prevail in their future for thebenefit of the whole community. In addition of such capacity building, Mr. Chavarría isforming new local leaders, as children are prone to be the first ones in achieving handlingor learning about a new environmental practice thereby consequently to teach about ittheir own classmates that may be struggling with it or even their parents at home.5.4.1.4 Learning Learning occurs in different scenarios in regard to BFEP and SQSP at PuenteSalas. At first, the promotion of a “culture of water” among local residents, resultingfrom BFEP and SQSP implementation, do have led to several learning dynamics. New! 30
  31. 31. practices of water consumption have been put into operation based on recommendationsin regard to regular habits that is when taking a shower, water the yard, or washing thedishes. The BFEP local committee has organized training sessions and distributesbrochures to promote those new practices among community members. However, theimplementation of metering at each household made a greater impact in improving thosewater practices. As though local residents did have a record of their consumption andstarted to be charged in accordance to such consumption, their behavior changed and theamount of their water bill decreased. Nevertheless, when asked about how those newpatterns came about, local ASADA officials do not point only to public campaignssupported by BFEP or SQSP local organization. As the billing system incorporated newtechnologies -metering-, local residents realized that the ASADA was able to chargethem for what they were really consuming, therefore those old practices of been entitledto consume water with no constraints as long as they pay a monthly fixed amount ofmoney were left behind. In words of a member of the ASADA staff “people reacts whenyou touch their pockets”. That pressure led local residents to learn about new waterconsumption practices at home and to change their habits. An interesting case is the onebrought up by the former President of the ASADA Board and current head of the BFEPlocal committee. With the metering system in operation, they were able to check ingreater detail the consumption patterns of local residents. One case drew their attention inview of the low bill thereby low consumption of one of the local residents. When visitinghim, they realized that he had decided to build himself a water reuse system at his hometo decrease his consumption and to contribute in taking care of the environment. Thewater that he uses in washing his dishes at the kitchen is channeled to his bathroom to beused in evacuating waste. In addition of the learning dynamics resulting from the promotion of a newculture of water, local residents identifies further learning the Universidad Nacional(UNA) have allowed them to learn about new environmental practices such as producingcompost and organic material from waste or about pit techniques in regard to the use ofseptic tanks. Such new knowledge has afforded them to improve their personalenvironmental performance and to contribute to the sustainability of their community.! 31
  32. 32. New environmental practices also includes reforestation. Nowadays residents of PuenteSalas participate regularly of reforestation journeys promoted by the BFEP localcommittee, and thereby have learned how to plant, take care and maintain trees. Localresidents have also participated of a Meteorological Institute’s project about a NationalDevelopment Plan where they have learned about climate change and Green House Gas(GHG) emissions through very didactical methodologies, knowledge that have been veryuseful in promoting BFEP at the community. Another learning process noticed deals withthe interaction with the firm supplying raw materials to build pipelines and equipment.To ameliorate future performances the suppliers have trained a group of local residents,namely the plumber and his assistants, in several Operation and Maintenance (O&M)techniques that have helped in avoiding possible failures of WSS facilities. Furthermore,the recycling practices promoted at BFEP have resulted in initiatives that may have notbeen identified at the start of the program. Handicraft did also find a place at BFEP aslocal residents realized that garbage could be recycled into handicraft work that in turncould be put for sale at the events organized by BFEP. A group of local residents isnowadays involved in that kind of activities and is able to generate a modest income fromit. In view of the participation of the local school at BFEP, learning encompasseschildren. As they actively participate of BFEP activities organized by their professoralong with BFEP staff, children are encouraged to be part of drawing and writing contestswhereby they learn about different water issues. They are introduced to new habits andpractices that shape their future water consumption patterns and preferences. They are soenthusiastic about it that regularly they take their new knowledge home and theredescribe them to their parents who also learn about it and put them into practice. Childrenparticipate also of cleaning and recycling journeys where they are responsible forcollecting garbage in the streets of Puente Salas and hand it to the Municipality that put itinto its recycling system. At school, children go through “The Natural Resources Week”,time span during which they are taught about specific water resources and environmentprotecting practices; for instance, they wind up with great knowledge about recycling andthe decomposition time of several products. Another day of learning occur when they! 32
  33. 33. attend the reforestation journeys organized by the school and BFEP; they go up into themountain to come across with the streams feeding Puente Salas in order to plan trees thatprotect the source; there they learn about planting, caring and maintaining trees.5.4.1.5 Collective Choice The question of collective choice at Puente Salas regards institutional rules thatmay affect local residents confronting the decision to participate of BFEP. Thecommunity of Puente Salas learnt about the program at AyA’s training sessions held atAyA’s headquarters attended by the ASADA administration staff. There, those localresidents in attendance realized how relevant would be for the community of PuenteSalas to participate of BFEP in regard to the effects upon the local sustainability theprogram could have. Later on, BFEP’s officials visited the community, gave several opentalks in which they introduced the program to the community, describing its goals,procedures, requirements and making special emphasis on the possible benefits thecommunity could reach if they locally implemented the program. Those gathering wereheld at the communitarian room, next to the ASADA headquarters and were convened bythe ASADA Administration. Therefore the actors participating of the decision of bringingBFEP into the community of Puente Salas can be grouped in three categories: AyA’sofficials, particularly those working at BFEP; the ASADA Administration, speciallymembers of the Board attending those first information sessions at AyA and the staffresponsible for organizing the local gatherings; and the local residents that participated ofthose gatherings and collectively decided that the community should participate of BFEP. In regard to the IAD multilevel structure, I break down the analysis into the threecategories proposed: constitutional, collective choice and operational rules. In regard tothe constitutional rules, Costa Rica’s Constitution enacts that every citizen has the right toa healthy and ecologically balanced environment. In a more water-oriented discussion,lately constitutional amendments have been proposed defining access to water as afundamental and inalienable right and water resources as of public domain whose use andexploitation ought to be ruled in accordance to the law. Following down such rational, a! 33
  34. 34. myriad of legislation has been set. Laws addressing the protection of natural resources thesuch of the Health General Law, the Environment Organic Law, the Biodiversity Law,the Forestry Law and the Wildlife Conservation Law pursue not only the establishment ofpublic organizations responsible for the administration of natural resources, but also theenforcement of varying protecting rules and standards. The enactment of more water-oriented legislation comes about with the Water Law, the General Potable Water Law,the AyA Law and the ARESEP Law, all pursuing the general target of water resourcesadministration and protection, but each pointing to a different specific goal –i.e. theestablishment of new administration bodies, or setting sectoral tariffs, or the definition ofproperty rights upon water resources-. As of the whole process of collective choice inregard to BFEP, the constitutional level contributes with supra-incentives to protect theenvironment, to set the right of Costa Rican to a healthy and ecologically balancedenvironment, and with a national legal framework pursuing the natural resourcesprotection philosophy and establishing an organizational national structure to administerwater resources. Therefore, the local residents of Puente Salas do have a constitutionalframework that confronts them with the alternative of coping with a more environmentalfriendly context. The collective choice level responds to an array of rules enacted by AyA and thecommunity itself. First, as of AyA’s role, the agency is responsible for BFEPestablishment in the mid-1990s, and therefore through AyA’s WNL the agency has setthe proceedings ruling BFEP including the requirements to obtain the star-basedsustainability certification it awards. Nowadays, in view of the greater number of BFEPcategories, from hinterland communities of which the present study is about to naturalprotected areas, communities are confronted with a wide array. Communities are able toparticipate of each one of them, though the final decision depends upon the preferencesof local residents in accordance to the benefits they may draw from. In this regard, thecommunity of Puente Salas decided to participate of the BFEP community category, aslocal residents deemed that the implementation of the program would increase localsustainability in terms of promoting collective and individual new environmentalprotection habits. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the adopting decision came about! 34
  35. 35. as a collective one, i.e. the community of Puente Salas in a participatory manner decidedto locally implement BFEP. In that sense, the analysis of collective rules follows thescheme proposed by Madrigal, Alpízar and Schlüter (2010) that emphasizes the role oflocally-established proceedings ruling the local WSS organization. The community doesself-organize through a supra-body responsible and sovereign for the decision-making:the ASADA General Assembly. As mentioned before, the General Assembly is heldannually to make a decision in regard to local operation issues, or to vote a new ASADABoard. In addition, the mechanism to elect members of the Board is clear and widelyknown among local residents and the procedures to remove them are also known andaccepted by the community before elections. On the other hand, the ASADA Board hasperiodical meetings and the decisions are reached by the majority rule among itsmembers. BFEP is not an exception. The decision to participate of it was first presentedat the ASADA Board and later on to the General Assembly. Both bodies approved it. In regard of IAD operational level, Madrigal, Alpízar and Schlüter (2010) basetheir analysis of the performance of drinking-water community organizations upon threecategories: tariffs; infrastructure, maintenance and protection; and water treatment. TheWSS operation at the community of Puente Salas covers all of them. Nowadays, tariffproceedings are clear. The water use is monitored by a metering system upon whichusers’ monthly bill is defined; the place, day and mode of payment are well known aslocal residents are aware that every day 20 of each month they have to go the ASADAheadquarters to pay their bill, otherwise they have a 3 days extension to do it before theirservice is cut off. The maintenance and protection of infrastructure is part of the ASADAstaff responsibilities. The plumber and his assistants not only respond to local residentsrequirements to visit their homes in order to fix a certain problem, but also do regularlymonitor the WSS facilities, that is storage tanks and pipelines. Natural areas near intakeand storage points are protected in accordance to local rules that require all of them beenfenced and establish as prohibited to enter into the tank areas. Finally, in terms of watertreatment, the ASADA has set up a monitoring system based on a chlorination artifacthandled by the local plumber who supervises chlorine level regularly and at differentpoints of the WSS system. In addition, WNL experts visits 4 times per year the ASADA! 35
  36. 36. to control water quality as one of SQSP requirements, been the community obliged topresent the results as part of their annual report. All those dynamics have resulted fromthe application of BFEP and SQSP and have had a noticeable impact on the localsustainability performance. However, the question is how rules may have affected localresidents at the time of the decision to apply to BFEP. The response comes from the non-existence at the time of most of those rules. For instance, the metering system wasimplemented in the afterwards of the community getting into BFEP, thereby the tariffsystem missed greater quality and was based upon a single-fixed-amount charge;infrastructure was outdated due to the non-existence of a clear definition of the rulesgoverning the plumber’s chores –there was no obligation of regular inspections- andintake and storage areas were not protected and open to the public with the consequentpollution and damage; water quality was monitored not as regularly as today and thechlorination system in operation had not been implemented yet. It is worth noting in thisrespect that that infrastructure was highly outdated was one of the reasons of thecommunity’s 1 year postponement decision in applying to SQSP. All these issues werewidely discussed at both the General Assembly and the ASADA Board in view of thelocal residents’ complaints, discussion that resulted into the collective decision of applyand implement BFEP.6. Conclusions Albeit the present article is a work in progress, therefore the general conclusionswill be extended with the review of the three case studies still missing, there areinteresting points to make. At first, participation of the community in terms of the numberof local residents been part of decision-making, not including holders of administrationpositions, does not affect as greatly as expected the local sustainability and learning. Forinstance, the number of local residents attending the General Assembly is low: evenmore, the impact is lower if considering the share of the total local population been partof it. At this scenario, the role of local leaders stands out. The ones volunteering inadministration positions or seating at local organizations boards are driven by a yearningto contribute to their community to increase the well being of local residents. Therefore,! 36
  37. 37. the quest for those leaders ought to be in the top of the list of priorities of policy makersand public agents along with the setting of sound local institutions affordingcommunitarian governance.REFERENCESAyA-PAHO (2002). Agua Potable y Saneamiento de Costa Rica: Analisis Sectorial. SanJose, Costa Rica, Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, OrganizacionPanamericana de la Salud.Bortagaray, I. (2007). The Building of Agro-Biotechnology Capabilities in SmallCountries: The Cases of Costa Rica, New Zealand and Uruguay. Atlanta, Georgia Insituteof Technology.Cozzens, S. and P. Catalan (2008). Global Systems of Innovation: Water Supply andSanitation in Developing Countries. Globelics 6th International Conference. Mexico City.Dosi, G. (1988). The Nature of the Innovative Process. Technical Change and EconomicTheory. G. Dosi, C. Freeman, R. Nelson, G. Silverberg and L. Soete. London, Pinter.Galvis, G. (1997). Searching for Sustainable Solutions. Technology Transfer in the WaterSupply and Sanitation Sector: A Learning Experience from Colombia. J. T. Visscher. TheHague, The Netherlands, IRC International Water and Sanitation Center.Lundvall, B. A. (1992). National Systems of Innovation: Towards a Theory of Innovationand Interacting Learning. London, Pinter.Madrigal, R., F. Alpízar and A. Schlüter (2010). Determinants of Performance ofDrinking.Water Community Organizations: A Comparative Analysis of Case Studies inRural Costa Rica, Environmentl for Development.OED (2005). The Effectiveness of World Bank Support for Community-Based andDriven Development. Washington, DC, The World Bank.Rosenberg, N. (1982). Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics. Cambridge,MA, Cambridge University Press.Sánchez, M. (2009). "El Recurso Hídrico no es infinito, es un problema que afecta aCosta Rica y al Mundo." Revista Médica de Costa Rica y Centroamérica 34: 255-259.Sancho, R. (2008). Situación Actual de Saneamiento en Costa Rica. I Congreso Nacionalde Gestión Ambiental Integral. San José, Costa Rica.! 37
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