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Title:An examination of 'participation' and 'sustainability' in a food security project among the rural poor in northwestern Tanzania
Authors:Silva, Sonya
Kepe, ThembelaISNI
Periodical:African and Asian Studies (ISSN 1569-2094)
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:agricultural projects
food security
community participation
rural poverty
External link:https://doi.org/10.1163/156921010X491245
Abstract:Using a case study of a community development project in northwestern Tanzania, this paper examines how the language of participation and sustainability in development policies at the international and government level affects the selection of, and levels of participation by, people in agricultural food security projects within the varying socioeconomic sectors of the rural poor. It explores whether it is possible to balance the goal of project sustainability with reaching out to the most vulnerable groups in rural communities, particularly the poorest people with limited resources. The paper is based on data collected in July 2008 through a short questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, participant observation and a number of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques that included wealth ranking, among others. The paper concludes that there is a growing segment of the poor who face too many constraints to participate, become 'empowered', as well as advance the well-intentioned goals of sustainability of community development projects. The result, the paper argues, is that the poor can remain on the margins of projects that were meant to get people out of poverty. Thus there is a need in development projects to match the language of 'participation', 'empowerment' and 'sustainability' with a healthy bias towards poor people. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]