Community Participation in Public Urban Improvement Project - Towards understanding of ‘on the ground’ processes and outcomes in the UEIP project, Banepa, Nepal
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There has never been common understanding of the concept of community participation. Along with the positive effects, various authors have also pointed out many negative outcomes. Nevertheless, community participation is still being practiced in various ways. Initiated by the researcher's own interest, this study is carried out for assessing community participation in a public urban improvement project of Nepal. The major objective is to understand the relationship of 'community participation on the ground' to 'project's success'. Therefore the main research question posed for the purpose of this study is – 'How did the community participation within the UEIP Banepa impact the project's success?' Among the numerous subprojects carried out within UEIP, three subprojects are selected as study units. They are - i) Road Upgrading Subproject, ii) Urban Community Facilities and Urban Area Improvement subproject and iii) Sanitation and Waste Water Management Subproject. The main theoretical bases for carrying out this study are' (i) the interrelationship of the objective, intensity and instruments of community participation' and (ii) OECD success criteria for projects. The 'four questions of participation'- contribute to identifying these three dimensions of community participation in project. Various existing ladder of participation are also referred as useful base for evaluation. 'Case study' was adopted as research method and qualitative data were analyzed for the research. The sub projects are analyzed on the process of community participation, the factors that affected the process and their outcome in resulting project's success. It was found from the analysis that a common approach of community participation that was carried out in the subprojects was not always contributing towards the long term project success. There were various factors on the ground that affected the process. They were mainly -the limitations of projects approach, nature of job of the subprojects, community availability for participation and formal/informal energy flow in participation. Depending upon these factors on the ground, the community participation reached to a moderate intensity in the case of road upgrading subproject and urban area upgrading subproject. However in the case of sanitation and wastewater treatment system, community participation was not visible during implementation phase. Where community was available for participation, the short term success conditions of efficiency were achieved through conflict resolution and inputs to effective implementation. However, impacts of community participation contributing to long term success were seen only in the road upgrading subproject, where this process could build some kind of shared ownership to the sub-project. This thesis then proposes a model mainly for formative evaluation on the availability of community to participate in a project. And finally the research is concluded by providing some practical implications to follow a consistent approach to align with objective of community participation in the project. In doing so, a need to pre-assessment of motivation and availability of the community participation, potential positive strength of informality, and a joint approach of expert-local synergy is proposed.