Remember that Whitney Houston song featuring Deborah Cox? Well, this post has nothing to do with love and heartbreak…:D
In an effort to revive the music skills I had almost ten years ago I went through old documents to find my Grade One music lesson books. As I pulled the books out, a CAT paper fell out.
It was interesting to how I thought and answered questions almost ten years ago. My 3b answer… really really off. That lecturer must have been shaking his head as he marked that. However, I think No.4 is almost valid…
This CAT and a recent online course I took on ‘Indigenous People and Integrated Water Resource Management’ made me think about various projects set up by various institutions in an effort to develop communities.
Most African communities have for a long time been considered ‘backward’ and in need of ‘modern systems or development’. For a long time in Kenya and the world over, blanket plans would be made for development projects and the conservation of various elements of the environment. Meaning that different regions would have the same project or plan being implemented without putting much thought on the differences in location, climate, geography, culture and the existing systems that are already in place.
Many don’t seem to understand that before colonialism, there were systems that worked. For example in Kenya, the Pokot have had a water distribution system that was developed more than 300 years ago and the Mijikenda have conserved forests through setting them apart as sacred places of worship… Getting into a community without considering the systems already in place would be madharau and therefore more and more managers are incorporating traditional/indigenous practices to modern solutions for sustainability of the projects that are being put in place.
Managers of any resource have a responsibility to first understand the environment in which they are operating. Who are the people? What do they do? How do they do it? Why do they do it? As a manager, I think that x and y are the problems in this community but what does the community say their problems are… you could be correct and find that x and y indeed are their problems. However, more often than not, you’ll find that their main issues are a and b…x and y may be an issue but not a core issue to the subject community. A manager must seek to understand the target community to ensure that solutions provided are sustainable.
We must always remember that just because a solution worked in one location, it will not necessarily work in all other locations. People are different with different needs and therefore require different solutions. In environmental management, different script different cast would be most likely to work because, one size does NOT fit all.
More reasons why projects fail: