Assessing the Causes of Failure of Common Initiative Group Projects in Donga Mantung Division
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Common Initiative Group projects are established in most of the communities as a strategy to create jobs and alleviate poverty. In the area under investigation Common Initiative Group projects were established by members of communities but some of them failed and others are not sustainable in economic terms.
This study assessed the reasons for failure of common initiative group projects in Donga Mantung Division. The objectives of the study were to determine the reasons for the failure of common initiative group projects. Questionnaires and interviews were employed to collect information. The study makes use of tools such as tables, bar charts, coefficient and regression analyses in the presentation and processing of data.
The study revealed that lack of funds, poor project management, poor management of funds, lack of commitment and motivation, low level of education of project members, lack of youth involvement in Common Initiative Group projects, lack of monitoring and evaluation by government officials and community leaders, lack of training and unavailability of workshops for project members and lack of government involvement in addressing project challenges were identified as the reasons for the failure of common initiative group projects.
It is therefore recommended that the group members be properly trained on matters relating to projects in all dimensions so as to be able to know what projects truly entail. Funds should be properly managed such that the available funds are used exactly for what they are meant for.
Common initiative groups are established in almost every council area due to the fact that community members are encouraged to create their own jobs in order to get money to be able to satisfy their basic needs such as food and housing and even basic medical care.
In the area under study, Common initiative group projects were established and community members are still establishing Common initiative group projects. This study will therefore be based on finding out why such projects have often failed.
There has been a consistent effort from all local community authorities and government officials especially the ministry of agriculture to do all in their powers to empower the community members to be able to be self-sufficient (employed). That is to be able to take care of their basic needs
A project is a complex, non-routine, one-time effort limited by time, budget, resources, and performance specifications design to meet customer needs. Project management is a set of tools, techniques, and knowledge that when applied, helps to achieve the three main constraints of scope, cost and time.
The growth in new knowledge has increased the complexity of projects because projects encompass the latest advances. A project manager can perform everything right from a project management perspective but the project can still fail depending on its success criteria to help to ensure project success.
Project managers can use different techniques and tools that are useful to manage projects efficiently. These include network activity diagram, bar charts, macro and micro cost estimation approaches and resource scheduling techniques. The use of these techniques and tools could lead to a better chance of project success.
Today, emphasis on an integrated project management process is the focus of all project effort towards the strategic plan of an organisation and reinforces control of both the project management techniques and tools and the interpersonal skills necessary to orchestrate successful project completion.
Unfortunately, some projects were completed successfully but some were not completed on time, over budget or being cancelled. There are many project planning and scheduling techniques to manage and help to ensure project success. Some of these techniques, however, may not be suitable for specific types of projects and thus, cause projects to fail.
Evidence abounds that recognising what constitutes success or failure in project management literature has remained vague (Ika, 2009; Thomas & Fernandez, 2008; Baccarini, 1999; Jugdev & Muller, 2005). So far, what can be concluded from most studies on project success and failure is that notwithstanding their frequent usage, there are still disagreements on how best to define success and failure.
It is for such reasons that Wateridge (1998) suggested that success or failure should not be construed as black and white elements. Therefore, a perspective based understanding of project success and failure has been undertaken in the review of the literature.
Generally, the varying sizes and complexities inherent in projects create an additional uniqueness for any individual project. This uniqueness also makes the mechanism wherein stakeholders interpret success to be at variance. As such, Westerveld (2003) concluded that it is unlikely to have a common set of criteria for determining project success.
Traditional project management attempted to define and measure success by just using the triple criteria of time, budget and quality (Atkinson, 1999; Cooke-Davies, 2002; Jugdev & Muller, 2005). Over the years, research has construed success from diverse dimensions thereby incorporating additional criteria.
For instance, Lim and Mohamed (1999) defined project success through the use of micro and macro criteria. The micro criteria include time, cost, quality, performance and safety while the macro criteria comprised of the micro criteria as well as the project deliverables during the operational phase.
Other dimensions to project success include customer satisfaction (Belassi & Tukel, 1996; Raz & Michael, 2001; Zwikael & Globerson, 2004), business success generally in terms of profitability as well as those that consider accomplishing organisational objectives (Thomas & Fernandez, 2008; White & Fortune, 2002) as well as customer satisfaction (Dvir, 2005; Pinto & Slevin, 1988; Thomas & Fernandez, 2008)
1.2Problem Statement and Justification of the Study
In many developing countries which have progressed in their development ventures, the governments of such countries have invested a significant portion of their budget in the agricultural sector. Given the high level of unemployment in Cameroon, most local communities are barely trying to feed.
Their main source of income and living has been the dependence on agriculture which is yet to be developed as many of these people involved in this agricultural practice look severely stressed after long hours of work on the farms.
These local community members have often strived to make the most of the farming activities they carry out yet this activity is yet to gain the place it deserves that provides jobs for local communities and reduce the rate of poverty in these communities and hence reduce the number of young people who leave the villages in search for greener pastures in urban centres.
Poverty alleviation implies bringing poverty to minimal levels that can be tolerated at the social level notably by ensuring strong, sustained and job-generating growth on the one hand and by increasing, extending and improving social services, including health, education, housing, training, water, electricity, roads, etc. on the other hand (Vision 2035 Paper)
In a bid to support this activity carried out by these local farmers, the government and other development partners have often resorted to encouraging the farmers to be grouped into common initiative groups.
This is to say that farmers involved in the cultivation of a similar crop say maize, plantain, palms etc should come together for a common interest and share their ideas and help each other in the bid to redress the issues facing them. This has been done in most of the communities in Cameroon thus far.
Most of the groups which were formed were advised to write projects to be able to see how feasible the projects are after which the projects are studied and a percentage or all of the funds are given to the common initiative groups for the realization of the projects. Some of the projects are completely financed while others are partially financed.
From the above studies, it is clear that common initiative groups are out to make life better for their members but it has been realised that even after a number of years these common initiative groups have remained in the same position or progressed to an insignificant level.
That is the members of such groups are either still unable to afford three square meals a day or find it difficult to have good housing for themselves or worse don’t have access to basic healthcare. It is for this reason this study is out to find out why these projects by the Common Initiative Groups (C.I.G) have failed or are not sustainable economically.
This is to say that the groups of the group members are yet to get the full benefits: self-employment, reduction in poverty, access to the basic health care they anticipated from such activities. The living standard of the group members has still not changed to a significant level even after several years of operation of the common initiative groups (C.I.G).
In the same light, the level of employment these groups envisaged to create is far from being achieved by them. Talk less of the profits in terms of finances that these groups have been able to make. This research is therefore out to answer the following questions
The main research question of the study is what are the causes of failure of C.I.G projects in the Donga Mantung area?
The specific questions which guided the course of the study include:
-Are various group members trained on projects?
-Are the C.I.G members involved in the realization of projects?
-What is the level of government involvement in C.I.G projects?
-Are the various projects monitored and evaluated?
-Are there enough funds for the projects?
-Are the group members relevantly informed on project matters?
The main objective of this study is to find out why C.I.G projects keep failing to meet its objectives.
-To achieve this, the following specific questions are relevant
-To find out if various group members trained on project matters
-To find out the level of involvement C.I.G members in the realization of projects
-To find out the level of government involvement in C.I.G projects
-To find out if C.I.G projects are monitored and evaluated
-To find out if there are enough funds available for projects
-To find out if all relevant information is communicated to all group members and project stakeholders