Strategic responses by World Bank in funding community projects in Kenya
Mito, Charles A
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Organizations do not exist in a vacuum. Each organization is set in a particular environment to which it is inextricably linked. This environment provides multiple contexts that affect the organization and its performance, what it produces, and how it operates. As we refine and extend the original framework for organizational assessment, the concept of an enabling environment is key to understanding and explaining the forces that help shape the character and performance of organizations. Many development projects implemented within organizations either partially or fully fail because the intervention does not adequately address the enabling environment within which the organization operates. Any effort to diagnose and improve the performance of an organization requires an understanding of the forces outside the organization that can facilitate or inhibit that performance. Enabling environments support effective and efficient organizations and individuals, and creating such environments is becoming an increasingly important aspect of development assistance. This study looked at the environment and examined it from a diagnostic perspective. It clarifies what are often hazy concepts and relationships between organizations and the environments in which they operate. The report also touches briefly on issues that emerge in analyzing an organization‟s environment, and provides guiding questions on donor funding to communities in the face of the challenges in the environment. Community driven development (CDD) projects have become an important form of development assistance, with the World Bank's portfolio alone approximating 7 billion dollars. There is some evidence that CDD projects create effective community infrastructure, but not a single study establishes a causal relationship between any outcome and participatory elements of a CBD project. Several qualitative studies indicate that the sustainability of CBD initiatives depends crucially on an enabling institutional environment, which requires upward commitment. Specifically this study sought to investigate strategic responses developed by the World Bank in funding community projects in Kenya. Qualitative evidence suggests that external agents strongly influence project success. Qualitative approach was therefore used to collect data on strategic responses employed by the WB in coping with the challenges faced from CDD funded projects. An open ended questionnaire guided the interview of World Bank respondents. The study involved face to face interview sessions with employees at the WB offices in Nairobi who oversee the funding and have a lot of responses and views on the challenges. The study identified that there is significant relationship between project sustainability in the WB funded community driven development and community participation in all aspects of projects design and implementation, monitoring and review and even leadership. In sum, the evidence suggests that CDD is best done in a context-specific manner, with a long time-horizon, and with careful and well designed monitoring and evaluation systems. Given the finding, it is clear that CDD is the way to go with many donor funded development projects and more emphasis should be put on inclusity, transparency and accountability, regular reviews and monitoring and evaluations. There is also need for more research to improve the overall understanding of the concept of community driven development in Kenya as a means of improving service delivery and overall development that is people centered.