Critically Discuss the Life of a Project in the Context of Community Development.

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CRITICALLY DISCUSS THE LIFE OF A PROJECT IN THE CONTEXT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.

Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION3
DEFINTITION OF KEY TERMS3
CONCEPTUALIZATION OF THE LIFE OF A PROJECT IN THE CONTEXT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT3 THE CONTACT MAKING PHASE5
THE INITIATION PHASE9
THE PLANNING PHASE13
THE IMPLIMENTATION PHASE18
MONITORING AND EVALUATION19
CONCLUSION24
REFERENCES25

INTRODUCTION

Good community development is action that helps people to recognize and develop their ability and potential and organize themselves to respond to problems and needs which they share. This is usually achieved through community development projects, in which there is active participation of the people in all the phases of the project cycle. These phases include the initiation, planning, implementation and evaluation of a project. It is the intention of this paper to critically examine the life of a project in the context of community development. The approach used in this paper is of looking at each of the phases of the project life cycle separately and also to discuss how they are correlated in a continuous process.

DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS

A project is defined as a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end - constrained by time, funding or deliverables, undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value (Enriquez; 2003). It is an individual or collaborative enterprise planned and designed to achieve an aim.

Community development is a structured intervention that gives communities greater control over the conditions that affect their lives. It is the process of increasing the strength and effectiveness of communities, improving people’s quality of life, and enabling people to participate in decision making to achieve greater long term control over their lives (Chambers; 2003: 03).

A community development project will therefore not only lead to the achievement of certain objectives, but also improves the capacity of the community members and empowers them to undertake future projects.

CONCEPTUALIZATION OF THE LIFE OF A PROJECT IN THE CONTEXT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Community development is a process whereby community members come together to collectively generate solutions to common problems or take advantage of opportunities that will benefit the whole community (Cernea; 1998). Enriquez (2003) is of the view that community development should be long term, well planned, inclusive and equitable, holistic and integrated into the bigger picture, initiated and supported by community members, benefit the community and must be grounded in experience that leads to best practices. These characteristics are important in the life of a community development project. This is because community development aims to empower community members, to give them a sense of ownership and to equip them for the future. It is therefore important to keep in mind that community development is not service delivery, social work or welfare nor is it a “feel good” exercise. It is actually a self-directed process aimed at a broad range of economic, social and environmental community benefits that involves a lot of action and work and builds the ability of the community to manage change.

According to Green, Haines and Halebsky (2000) the project life cycle refers to a logical sequence of activities to accomplish the project’s goals or objectives. Regardless of scope or complexity, any project goes through a series of stages during its life. There is first an initiation or birth phase, in which the outputs and critical success factors are defined, followed by a planning phase, characterized by breaking down the project into smaller parts or tasks, an execution phase, in which the project plan is executed, and last, a closure or exit phase, that marks the completion of the project (Green et al; 2000). Project activities must be grouped into phases...
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