Author's Name: Peter Gutwa Oino, Geofrey Towett, K. K. Kirui & Cyrillah Luvega
Subject Area: Social Science and Humanities
Subject Other
Section Research Paper


Sustainability, Community-based Projects, Kenya


Globally, billions of shillings have been spent in communities to enhance the living situation of the people. However, one of the most critical obstacles is the extent to which the projects are able to persist despite the exit of donors, while the beneficiaries reap dividends; appreciate their participation and ownership role in the project. Apparently, it is sustainability that makes the difference between success and failure of community-based projects. Various factors such as technical, financial, institutional, economic, and social factors contribute to the failure to sustain the projects if not considered well in the project management cycle. In this paper, we provide a conceptual explanation of factors that influence sustainability of projects in Kenya, especially in the very needy communities where such projects are the only window of hope. We rely on analysis of secondary evidence from Kenya and other parts of the world. Our main argument is that a lot of money is being spent in community-based projects yet majority of such projects have generally failed to bring sustainable benefits to the target groups. The paper particularly observes that although many projects highlight elements of sustainability in their proposal stage, the actual implementation seems to lack emphasis on sustainability. The authors concentrate on socio-cultural, political, economic and technical factors and how they affect sustainability of community-based projects. This paper concludes that lack of stakeholder ownership and commitment leads to project failure. Additionally, aid support from development agencies often do not fully understand and consider socio-economic, cultural, and political factors influencing the project design, planning and implementation. As well, very limited follow-up support during implementation is tendered by these development agencies. Therefore, there is need for inclusive and viable community driven approaches to project sustainability which can be achieved through participation and involvement of all stakeholders.

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