Studying Paradigms, Institutions and Outputs Different institutional structures work within their own logic and shape technological choices that have different social outputs. The design of institutions, its funding, and participation of various actors in these institutions influence the service delivery. In the case of public goods like water that directly impacts people’s lives and livelihood, the design of these institutions has a critical bearing on access or denial to this critical resource to the poor. Drawing upon the literature in public policy that calls for decentralization, there is a need to ensure that issues of externalities, information and democratization are addressed in the design of decentralization programs in developing countries. We have seen earlier that as decentralization is not a definitive concept it will be difficult to design an authoritative structure for it. The challenge would be to design institutions that can effectively manage the transition to other decentralization paradigms like democratic and devolutionary decentralization.
The key aspects to catalyze the transition towards democratic devolution is a mechanism to ensure the creation of a democratic design for drinking water projects that will adequately address concerns of equity and safeguards for the poor. It calls for an alternate pedagogy of knowledge where the values and biases of the professionals are questioned and their interests in perpetuating particular forms of technologies and institutions understood. The attempt to democratize knowledge and hold the professionals accountable for their advice and action would bridge the gap between the received wisdom of the professionals and the reality they confront. It would ensure that political and social choices are made democratically and not be part of a discourse that the poor and the marginal cannot comprehend or negotiate with. It is a mechanism that will ensure outputs and create a policy framework that is receptive to a demand driven approach and can address concerns of poverty alleviation and those related to public goods such as drinking water.
Figure 1: Decentralization Axis
Table 1: Different Institutional Arrangements for Drinking Water Supply in Oriental Negros