A study of the Relationship between Community participation, project management and rural development: A case study of Development projects in Makuyu Location, Makuyu Division, Muranga

The means by which rural development can be achieved has always been a contentious issue, Different governments and agencies have adopted differ`rent approaches in different parts rf the world. Top bottom approach where development trickles from the top in a hierarchical way to the bottom and the bottom up approach where the beneficiaries are involved in development decision making process are the two most common approaches.

In Kenya the District Focus Strategy for Rural Development was devised as a way of ensuring that the masses are involved in deciding the projects to benefit from money allocated for development by the government. However a good number of development projects in Kenya are started by the people themselves without any external assistance. But just like the donor and\or government funded projects most of community funded projects do not achieve their objectives. This study focuses on these two types of projects i ,e government/donor funded projects and community funded projects and attempts to unravel the causes of failure for most of these projects.

The study employed both primary and secondary data. Primary data was collected from the field through, interviews, direct observation and questionnaires. The questionnaire was administered using random stratified sampling techniques to avoid any bias.

In the analysis and interpretation of data the idea of community participation in decision making process came out as one of the important factors in explaining project performance. However, education, which was assumed would be a major factor proved to be non-critical in determining performance.

Management, particularly financial management, came out as the single most important cause of project, failure. The failure of the two projects identified in the study was attributed to poor financial management. On the other hand, in all the successful projects, financial management of group affairs is based on the correct management principles.

The study concludes by recommending that the issue of community leadership training aimed at equipping the people with appropriate management skills be addressed, A case has also been made for the enhancement of the government's role in self-help movement affairs so as to ensure proper coordination and thereby achieve optimum utilization of scarce resources.

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