An assesment of sustainability of donor funded community development projects. A case of Kibwezi Irrigation project in Kibwezi District, Kenya
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In the recent past, the critics of the Aid Industry have focused heavily on aid accountability touching on, both the part of the donors and the beneficiaries and on concerns over whether aids breeds poverty and is therefore not conducive to long-term sustainable growth in Africa. The purpose of this study was to carry out a post-assessment research on the Kibwezi Irrigation Project(KIP) and establish if the project was able to prove wrong the critics of the Aid Industry -by bringing long-term sustainable growth to the people of Kibwezi and its environs. The Kibwezi Irrigation Project, just like the Gezira Irrigation Scheme of Sudan was started with the aim of developing and transferring dry land farming technologies to the local farmers and like the Israel Kibbutz, reclaim dry land areas and event ually improve the standards of living of the populations living in such areas. This study sought to establish if there was actual transfer of farming technologies from the project to the local framers and if the locals were able to derive any socio-economic benefits from the project. Furthermore, the study examined if the effects of the project caused an improvement of the standards of living of the local farmers and if the KIP trainees were able to train other local farmers through peer consultation. The study adopted a cross-sectional survey design, choosing 56 farmers as the sample frame out of a target population of 531 KIP trained farmers. Cluster sampling design was used in selecting the sample frame and data was collected using open and closed ended questionnaires and interviews. The collected data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences in order to generate tables, frequencies and percentages. From the findings, it was established that, more than 90% of the respondents agreed with all the positive statements regarding application of knowledge gained through the KIP training. This is an indication that the project succeeded in transferring dry land farming technologies to the local farmers. In collaboration with the farmers' opinions, all the five former KIP managers agreed that, the project has generated some socio-economic benefits to the Kibwezi people. Also from the data findings, 67.3% of the farmers confirmed that their income has increased by more than Ksh.10,0001- per month. This is an indication that many of the farmers experienced a rise in economic status after attending the KIP trainings. The findings also indicate that 80% of the farmers had trained other farmers to a great extent. This is an indication of a high training multiplier-effects of the KIP trainings. Based on the research findings, the researcher concludes that, the Kibwezi Irrigation Project succeeded in introducing sustainable growth in the region thus proving wrong the critics of the Aid Industry. And for this reason therefore, the researcher strongly recommends a replication of the project to other dry land areas of this country.