Factors Influencing Sustainability Of Community Based Projects:A Study Of Lagdera Farmers Group, Garissa County, Kenya
Community based projects have been used as a means of economically empowering communities so that members of the community can have a means of livelihood. Most community based projects are initiated by organizations outside the community, and members of are expected to participate in the projects activities, learn the skills and later take over the project. However, in many cases, such projects fail soon after the funding body has withdrawn. This study sought to determine the factors influencing sustainability of community based projects with specific reference to Lagdera Farmers Group in Garissa County. The study employed descriptive design. The target population constituted 100 farmers, 40 current and former leaders (project’s local managers) of Lagdera Farmers Group and thirty employees of non-governmental and international organizations (the donors to the group) operating within Garissa Township. A combination of stratified and systematic random sampling techniques was employed to sample the group of farmers. All the current leaders and an equal number of former leaders Lagdera Farmers Group were included in the study. Simple random sampling technique was employed to select ten NGOs and international organizations from where three officials were sought and studied. The study had a total of 100 respondents. Focused group discussion guide, interview schedule and a questionnaire NGOs were used to collect data from farmers, their leaders and leaders of NGOs respectively. Content validity was used to validate the instruments, while their reliability was determined by split-half method. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics that include determination of the mean, frequency and percentage occurrences. Qualitative data was analysed by thematic discussion of themes arising. The study found that members’ perception of a project greatly influences the members’ action towards the project. Their positive perception induced them to perform sustainability practice to ensure continued existence of the project for as long as possible, while negative perception negates this. It was also found that group leaders have major roles to play in encouraging sustainability of projects, while transfer of skills from donors to project owners is quite crucial. The study recommends that group leaders and project donors should always ensure that project members own and believe in the project so that they can work towards its sustainability.