Factors influencing community participation and ownership of government sponsored projects: the case of constituency development fund in Nyaribari Chache constituency projects, Kisii county, Kenya.
Community participation means an open process in which the rights of the community to be informed, to provide comments to the government and to receive a response from the government are met through expression of needs and goals. Effective community participation ensures that government decisions and policies reflect the public interest. It enhances transparency and accountability, project ownership and proper utilization of resources. Despite the Government of Kenya's (GK) efforts to come up with legislations that provide for people's participation, there has been challenges in terms of informing the populace on these provisions and creating platforms and enabling environment for involvement. The purpose of this study was to establish factors that influence community participation and ownership of government sponsored projects, with the case study of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) projects in Nyaribari Chache Constituency, Kisii County, Kenya. Among the objectives that were studied include; establishing how demographic characteristics influence community participation and ownership of CDF projects in Nyaribari Chache Constituency, examining the extent to which culture influence community participation and ownership of CDF projects, assessing the level at which structural shortcomings influence community participation and establishing alternative structural models that could enhance community participation and ownership of CDF program in Kenya. The anticipated significance of this study was to inform policy on CDFs, the structures of decision making on the use of the devolved funds at all stages of implementation to help improve effectiveness and value for money. The target population was 13,102 residents (IEBC, 2013) of Kiogoro Ward, which was inclusive of ordinary residents, 220 Projects' Management Committees (PMC) members from 20 CDF projects supported in Financial Year (FY) 2013/2014, 15 CDF committee members and the CDF manager. The sample size was determined by use of Krejcie and Morgan (1970) sampling table which made a sample size of 375 respondents. Purposeful censuring method was used to select the CDF manager,S CDF committee members' top officials, and 60 (chair person, secretary and treasurer) PMC members from 20 CDF projects. Further a stratified random sampling method was used to select the 309 respondents from the three sub - locations in proportionate to their population sizes. Data was collected using questionnaires with the help of 4 research assistants. The rate of questionnaire return was 96.27% which was acceptable as it was within the range of adequacy. The result of the study was analyzed using a descriptive statistics where descriptive summaries like frequencies and percentages were used, and later presented using frequency distribution tables. The findings of the study revealed that demographic characteristics had insignificant influence in community participation and ownership of CDF projects in Nyaribari Chache Constituency, culture of silence, corruption and impunity had a negative influence of respondents to community participation and ownership of projects, equality, structural shortcomings had an influence in community participation ownership of CDF program in Kenya. In conclusion, demographic characteristics is not a major factor in community participation, the people' involvement in public affairs is influenced by the existing structures, perceptions, attitudes, ignorance and apathy among the populace. Recommendations drawn from this study is that the GK should embark in massive civil awareness and restore confidence of the electorates in the CDF systems and structures. Suggested areas for further studies include, a similar study be conducted in an urban setting, two with a larger population and with an elite society.