ERG SES D 05, Sustainability and Education
Involvement or participation is a process by which stakeholders assert influence over decisions and resources of development projects (Ofuoku, 2011). This is a social process where communities actively pursue the recognition of their needs and establish ways to meet these needs through development projects or interventions. However, there are very few studies that identify the significance of local community involvement in the success of development projects. Such studies of community involvement in development are rare in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.
The key aim of this study is to identify the role of community involvement in a number of successful development projects which are implemented by various local, national, and international Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in Bangladesh. There is substantial evidence that climate change is a reality and it is distressing the world, especially the least developed countries like Bangladesh. Climatic events such as floods, droughts, cyclones, heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense (Huq, Hugé, Boon, & Gain, 2015). The harmful effects of climate change fall disproportionately on the poorest people of these countries and add to the different causes of vulnerabilities (Cannon & Mu¨ller-Mahn, 2010). Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of its low-lying typology, its geographical position where cyclones and tidal surges recur often, its massive population and widespread rural poverty, and its lack of livelihood options other than agriculture and fisheries (Alam, Alam, Mushtaq, & Clarke, 2017). This has compelled the government, foreign donors, NGOs to take serious measures. As a result, a large number of development projects have been undertaken by different NGOs to help the affected communities to cope up with climate change. They include agriculture interventions in haor basin and coastal zone, livelihood projects in the drought prone areas, coastal ecosystem based projects, and so on. And many of these projects have become successful and have gained widespread recognition in the development community. However, there is little research about the underlying success factors that have made these development project interventions effective. What are the obvious and subtle factors that have made these projects work? There is also little research about the importance of community involvement for a successful development project. How the involvement of the community increases the effectiveness of a development project? This study intends to answer these question. It is important to explore the role played by the local community in the success of a development project, so that these findings can be used to design future development interventions.
This study will examine a number of development projects that are deemed successful by the implementing NGOs and explore the role of community involvement for their success. This study is significant in the context Bangladesh and other developing countries around the world. Because there is a lot of research of studying the ways in which development projects fail but few research bothering to understand why some projects succeed (Lewis, 2005)
This study will endeavour to answer the research question through a detailed study of all the stakeholders involved in a typical development project such as project beneficiary, local community members, local elites and politicians, and local government officials. This study will seek to understand the level of involvement of the above mentioned group of people with the staff and leadership of the NGO that is implementing the project and the project itself.
The study will utilise co-investigation and co-construction of narrative through engaging the community, which will produce ‘thick description’ of detailed accounts of practice (Geertz, 1988). The approach of this study will be a qualitative one. It will seek to understand the complex attitudes and practices of the community involvement to make a development project successful. The resulting data will be situation specific (Stake, 2003), with ‘thick description’ (Geertz, 1998). The study will investigate five successful development project that spread across different locations of Bangladesh. A sufficient number of case studies will be generated from these five projects. This study will use case studies because it provides in-depth qualitative data (Kvale, 1996). Case studies are appropriate for the study because they acknowledge the local-ness of experience and knowledge of people and each project investigated will have a unique identity created by its surroundings. Because each case study is unique and has a complex entity that operates within a number of context (Stake, 2003). Instead of drawing generalizing conclusions from each case studies, themes will be developed from all the case studies. Some of these themes will be common to all the case studies and some will differ largely from case to case basis. Case studies will be developed from primary data which will be collected through semi-structured and open-ended interviews. A face-to-face approach to interviewing will be taken because it will allow the participants to assess the extent to which they will be able to trust the researcher. The interviews will be conducted in open-ended conversation which will allow participants to talk about freely on topics they deem important. Open-ended interviews are particularly useful because it avoids objectifying participants (Fontana & Frey, 1994). Open-ended approach allows research participants to express themselves more freely (Douglas, 1985), and allows them to express their concerns in ways they feel are important (Fine, 1984). The researcher will interview project beneficiaries, community members, local elites and politicians, and local government officials to answer the research question. A written account of the interview will be returned to the interviewee for feedback, adjustments and further elaboration if they wish.
There will be two kinds of outcomes in this study. Firstly, the research intends to find out the level and nature of community involvement in project planning as well as project implementation that ultimately makes a development project successful. Each year Bangladesh faces a multitude of hazards (i.e. floods, salt water inundation, droughts, cyclones and tidal surges) which are getting intensified by the changing climate (Alam, Alam, Mushtaq, & Clarke, 2017). NGOs are working with the vulnerable communities so that the communities become more resilient to these climatic threats. The study will choose five diverse development projects implemented by various NGOs that try to tackle these threats across different regions of Bangladesh. Only those projects will be selected that are considered successful by their donors and implementing agencies and have been extended beyond their original timeframe. Development interventions of prospective NGOs will vary depending on the local agro-climatic and social factors (i.e. floating vegetable cultivation for flood-prone areas or integrated fish-duck-vegetable cultivation for drought-prone areas). Such NGOs usually have good working relationships with the local community members because of their long withstanding presence. The nature of study will give the researcher necessary access to local community and allow him to understand what is making these communities to work hand-in-hand with people of NGOs who might be outsiders. Secondly, the study will also allow the researcher to understand the factors that impede community involvement in such development projects. Though this study explores the role of community involvement in successful development projects that are helping people to adapt to climate change in Bangladesh, the finding will have further relevance. Because majority of the countries around the world are affected by climate change and this research can be utilised in those countries.
Alam, G. M., Alam, K., Mushtaq, S., & Clarke, M. (2017). Vulnerability to climatic change in riparian char and river-bank households in Bangladesh: Implication for policy, livelihoods and social development. Ecological Indicators, 23–32. Cannon, T., & Mu¨ller-Mahn, D. (2010). Vulnerability, resilience and development discourses in context of climate change. Natural Hazards, 55(3), 621-635. Douglas, J. (1985). Creative interviewing. Beverley Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Fine, M. (1984). Coping with rape: Critical perspectives on consciousness. Imagination, Cognition, Personality, 249-269. Fontana, A., & Frey, J. (1994). Interviewing the art of science. In N. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln, Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 61–376). housand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Geertz, C. (1988). Works and lives: The anthropologist as author. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Huq, N., Hugé, J., Boon, E., & Gain, A. (2015). Climate Change Impacts in Agricultural Communities in Rural Areas of Coastal Bangladesh: A Tale of Many Stories. Sustainability, 8437-8460. Kvale, S. (1996). InterViews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Lewis, D. (2005). Anthropology and development: the uneasy relationship. London: LSE Research Online. Ofuoku, A. (2011). Effect of community participation on sustainability of rural water projects in Delta Central agricultural zone of Delta State, Nigeria . Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development , 130-136. Stake, R. E. (2003). Case studies. In N. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln, Strategies of qualitative inquiry (pp. 86-109). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
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