Factors Affecting Participation with Sustainability


24 Nov 2017

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Participation is an essential component of development and the degree of participation in development programs is a key determinant of success or failure. According to Bagherian et al. (2009) the activites and factors which contribute with success of particiption still unkown and remind a mystery. But some researchers and scholars studied peoples' participation and affecting factors in development projects they found some key factors which affect people’s participation. There are a variety of factors affecting local participation in development programmes and projects such as economic, political, legislative, administrative, socio-cultural, and geographical factors. Furthermore, isolation and scattered habitat of the poor people; work load, especially for women, weak health condition, low level of education and exposure to non local information, weak leaders and lack of know-how to move in this direction in order to promote their interests. (Heck, 2003;Cohen - Uphoff, 1980; UNDP, 2007; Oakley, 1991).

Heck (2003) added some factors and constraints of implementing and support agencies: centralized planning, decision making and implementation, lack of skilled staff to promote participation and pressure from the side of implementing institution and supporting organizations to produce visible results quickly.

Economic factors: Mohammad (2010) asserts that economic factors extremely affects peoples' participation, which they are bound to live and adjusted. He added that socially poor, minorities and underprivileged communities rarely asked for participation in government lead programs and projects. For the best result, it could be crucial to consider and engage individuals and minorities from different levels in the leadership structure of the community. As Wall et al. (2005) cited that “Leaders must make every effort to recruit and involve people of both racial and ethnic diversity and with lower socioeconomic status as their interests and concerns should not be ignored” (155).

Political factors: Political factors affect peoples' participation in different ways. One of the main causes of apathetic situation of people participation in developing countries is political obstacle. Samad (2002) explained that beside of the socioeconomic stance, political background of stakeholders has been an influential factor in the form of participation consequence. He added that those stakeholders, who are politically, socially and economically dominate, for their own interest may frustrate the participation of others (cited in Mohammad, 2010). Heck (2003) stated that in number of countries the rural and urban elites influence the political and administrative structures to turn the policies in their favor.

Socio-cultural factors: In some communities, culture directly affects people participation in development projects. Afghan community is one of them, which culture is a big challenge for minorities especially women’ participation. Likewise, Cohen and Uphoff (1980) hinted in their compressive model of people’s participation in rural development that culture is one of three big challenges which affect people’s participation in development initiatives. Beyond all these factors in some cases, people do not want to participate in development projects.

For more effective participation some practical steps are very important which include: demanded-led idea for project or program, ensuring that the design is thought of as an investment in a successful outcome and thus given adequate time and other resources, the design incorporates specific activities and resources needed to implement participatory strategies, distinctly specifying the target group who and which groups to be participated and who will benefit, defining the type and level of participation to be achieved and selecting skilled team in participatory approaches (AusAID, 2010).

Brahmi and Thakur (2011) undertook a study to find socio-economicfactors which affecting peoples' participation in the Hariyali project in Himachal Pardesh, India. For study data were collected from 71 people who were involved in the project and 428 farmers through survey. The study findings showed total 22 factors noticed by respondents which affects people’s participation from these 22 factors 18 were socio-economic factors. The key factors were: lack of awareness about programmes, poor economic conditions, illiteracy, lack of faith in government programmes, village politics, subsidy culture, lack of exposure visits, low interest in money contribution, lack of demonstration and transparency. About 90 percent of the respondents perceived that lack of awareness (i.e. Knowledge of project concepts, objectives and their benefits, guidelines and responsibilities of the user group) were the most challenging factors. The study also revealed some program related factors such as lack of entry point activities, lack of flexibility in expenditure according to field conditions, variation in wage payments and lack of provision of advance payments.

Similarly, Nxumalo and Oladele (2013) examined factors affecting farmers’ participation in agricultural program in Zululand district, South Africa. Three municipalities and 90 people were randomly selected. Data were collected through structured questionnaire, frequency count, percentages and the probit regression model were used for analysis. The study showed that farmers were inclined to participation, but luck of fund, unavailability of land, limited resources were major factors for participation.

Bagherian et al. (2009) conducted a study to trace the factors which influencing local people’s participation in Watershed Management Programs (WMP) in Iran. Two hundred respondents were questioned through personal interview, correlation and multiple regression were employed for data analyses. The finding demonstrated that the level of people participation was moderate. Regression findings showed five factors had impact on the level of participation of people in this program. These factors were: level of people’s satisfaction of prior programs, people’s attitude toward WMP, people’s knowledge of WMP, their monthly income from alternative occupation and their expectations of WMP.

Despite of many problems in Afghanistan two main obstacles have been encountered by National Solidarity Program (NSP) which highly effects people’s participation. First, security problems, due to ongoing conflict in some parts of the country, it has been difficult to contract facilitating people’s participation in such areas has been in danger. This has resulted in a slow pace of programme implementation. Second, local governments and elite of communities, in some regions have interfered in development projects which have brought obstacles for people’s participation (NSP, 2010).

Dufour and Antezar (2003) carried out a research to analyze participation and consultation of affected populationin Nahrin district, Baghlan, Afghanistan. Data were collected from the local population, Afghan aid workers, international aid workers and the Afghan interim authorities. For data collection different tools were used such as interview with formal and informal focus groups, visits, participation in meetings, and review of secondary sources. The study showed some contextual factors, for instance security, geography, social characteristics, cultural factors and interference of local power holders.

The key factors which affect sustainability have been grouped under nine main headings, namely: partner government and donor policies, local participation and ownership, management and organization, finance, awareness and training, technology, socio-culture, environment and external political and economical factors (AusAID, 2000).

Sahee foundation[1](2008) conducted a study to find sustainability of rural development projects in Swaziland. Fifty six rural development projects were surveyed correlation had been tested, used the Kruskal-Wallis test and the Kendall Rank correlation. The findings revealed that the project is not an effortless way to earn wealth with little effort and input. People awareness about their responsibilities, working of knowledgeable persons hand to hand with other members of the project for achieving the common aim likely lead projects to sustainability. Furthermore, the study showed that cooperation between implementing NGOs, beneficiaries and local authorities were mostly satisfactory or even good. Despite of these positive points achieving stable membership was one of the big difficulties in most of the projects. In most cases the membership shrank until a small core group remained. Some projects ended because NGOs had stopped visiting projects after completion due to lack of fund and the beneficiaries had no possibility to improve their skills and develop their project.

[1] Sahee: Sustainability for Agriculture, Health, Education and Environment (2008)


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