"Project design revisited" A case study: A review of the Sigatok Valley rural development project
Although many rural development projects have been formulated and implemented in Fiji, the design and implementation of very few have been evaluated after the completion of these projects. Fiji, like every other developing country, had been and still is implementing rural development projects for economic development and alleviation of poverty. The general performance of these projects has been observed to have done little to stimulate any significant sustainable long-term benefits for the rural sector. The purpose of this Study is to determine what are the main lessons for the sound design of rural development progress in Fiji. ''Design problems" are by far the most important single reason identified in the literature for shortcomings in project performance. This dissertation critically considers project design through a "Case study" of the Sigatoka Valley Rural Development Project in Fiji. A range of selected performance criteria are used to evaluate the project over its life cycle to date. These criteria are: (1). project environment; (2). basic character of project; (3). mode of project initiation; and project organisation and management. Also evaluated are the technical issues of using a framework of contemporary indicators, namely (1). schedule too big; (2). production technology deficient; (3). poor engineering; (4). wrong organisational structure; (5). too many components; and (6). too big. In conclusion, this Study draws eight lessons from the case study presented that are crucial in improving designs for agricultural development projects in Fiji and are as follows; feasibility study documentation should entail project design issues that will enhance sound project implementation rather than concentrating only on the proof of economic viability to facilitate project "start-up"; consultation with project beneficiaries; "deeping" of project identification activities; careful sensitivity analysis of ''project environment conditionality", particular emphasis on impact of the macro-economic and political framework; the crucial question concerning project size and number of project components; the necessity for pre-project development of appropriate institutional framework and human resource development (technical capability) mechanism to support beneficiary-based sustainable development; practical intervention packages must recognise ethnic differences and needs; "building-in" the elements of project flexibility as a critical part of project design and formulation, with an emphasis focused on strengthen the project monitoring and evaluation system; greater effort in using the sequential approach in project development planning; and project sustainability, with serious attention given to an effective "transitional phase" at near project completion stage.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsdevelopment; rural development project (''Integrated”); project design; project preparation; sustainability; case study approach; project "environment conditionality" (Macro); participatory and the "learning process" approach; project flexibility; institutional and human resource development
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