Influence of community participation on performance of development projects in Makueni county, Kenya.
Despite efforts made by the government and other development actors to improve social, political and economic welfare in Kenya through development projects, recent welfare monitoring survey indicate that poverty is on the increase due to poor performance of the already initiated development projects and also shortlifetime of projects upon completion. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of community participation on development project performance in Makueni County, Kenya. The objectives of the study were: to determine the influence of involvement of community in information sharing, to establish the influence of involvement of community in resource contribution, to evaluate the influence of involvement of community in collective decision making and to determine the influence of involvement of community in project governance on development project performance. The study was conducted in Makueni. The literature was reviewed in the light of study variables on the role of community participation on development project performance. Descriptive survey design was used to establish relationships between independent and dependent variables. The research employed Arnstein Sherry theory for citizen participation. The target population was 1626 respondents comprising of 126 project management committees and 1500 community members. The samples were considered because they were key stakeholders in determining project performance in the study area. The sample size was 38 project management committee members and 150 community members benefitting from the project selected using purposive and systemic random sampling method. A semi structured questionnaire was used for data collection. The findings from the study indicated that communities have not fully participated in project cycle especially in monitoring and evaluation, training, resource contribution and decision making. However, this is due to limited economic resources and failure for community not to fully understand their roles in projects. The study established that community participation through information sharing, resource contribution, collective decision making and project governance have contributed extensively towards development project performance. The study reveals that some interventions needs to be undertaken in order to achieve optimum community participation. The researcher suggested recommendations that the County government to carry out a stakeholder mapping exercise in order to profile all stakeholders undertaking development initiatives. Also need for development actors initiate civic education forums with objective of creating awareness on role of the Community on issues decision making and good governance. Development actors to involve community when developing project plans to enable community to identify resources which they can contribute.
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