Community Participation Assessment Report Final Draft
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Community Participation Assessment Report Final Draft By Professor Joyce Olenja Department of Community Health University of Nairobi September 2005
The purpose of the assessment was to review community involvement, performance and generate a lessons’ learnt report that would contribute to decision-support mechanisms and inform future interventions. The assessment methodology included extensive review of relevant documentation, interviews with key informants, specifically the component coordinators and other stakeholders; field visits to selected project sites, observation and discussions with community members. In response to the terms of reference (TORs) and scope of work; the critical question to be answered was whether the significant role of community participation has been realized as envisaged in the project document and what evidence there is. To address this question it was critical to review outputs by objective and components as outlined in the TORs and scope of work. Across the components the broad guiding questions were: what is the nature of community participation, achievements and potential for sustainability, the challenges and lessons learnt from the community as well as project implementation. The findings indicate that community participation cuts across all components and activities undertaken by community groups are at various stages of implementation. While microprojects were a major boost for community participation, community groups were mobilized and engaged in other activities identified through Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and flagged as opportunities. This was more evident within the soil and water conservation component. The activities have both direct and indirect relation to the sustenance of the environment. These are outlined and discussed within each of the relevant components. Community participation in the various project components has progressed at different paces. In general, Water hyacinth, Wetlands, Soil and Water Conservation, and Afforestation have progressed at a higher pace compared to Capacity building, Fisheries and Water Quality components. Fisheries Research by its orientation on research had little room for community participation. However, training in aquaculture was availed to farmers under the Capacity Building component through the Department of Fisheries, Moi University. Given the complexity of the project design, LVEMP, embracing the strategy of Community Participation has done remarkably well. There have been substantial achievements in most of the project components notably Catchment Afforestation and Soil and Water conservation where community participation is most evident. Nevertheless, it is observed that if there had been a more concerted focus on community participation at the inception of the project; implementation would have been smoother, faster and the achievements would have been greater.