The Effectiveness of VDCs* in Community Development The Case of (ADS) in North Kordofan

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Nahid Mirghani Omer, El Amin
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This research attempts to study community participation in dealing with development interventions, with focus on Village Development Committees (VDCs\\\\\\\') performance as grass roots organizations. The research views the UNDP conception of grass roots organizations in Area Development Schemes (ADS) interventions. In this context, it examines community participation in all project stages. In addition, it examines whether participation in development theory is reflected in practice, as well, the research measures the effectiveness of participation in communities’ development. Moreover, it highlights the constraints that impeded the application of participation in practice. The research depends on the theoretical and empirical methods as a theoretical framework to study participation and development concepts, through which the experience of ADS studied. Also Experiences on participation from Sudan, African, Asian and Latin America countries were revised and considered as a frame for the research, while on the empirical part the research used random probability samples mainly the simple sample for the selection of villages and respondents\\\\\\\' samples. The primary data was collected through questionnaire and focus group discussions, whilst the secondary data was collected from the revision of previous studies, reports, references and the internet websites. The data was analyzed by Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The research concludes that, community members were not fully participated in the project identification stage. ADS was theoretically presented the participatory development approach in a scientific and practical way; however there are some negative sides related to its application on the ground. In this context, the involvement of community members in decision making was not as planned, particularly vulnerable groups, this situation contradicted the theoretical concepts of participation. Additionally, VDCs role was limited to the distribution of inputs and monitoring the repayment of credit. Moreover, some VDCs members oriented the communities on technical issues to support the implementation of agricultural activities; but VDCs are no longer functioning, as they used to depend on ADS staff in decision taking. On the other hand, ample time and efficient participatory tools were not applied at the early stages of the project. However, a limited number of community members attended inadequate technical and managerial training to enable the effective thinking in dealing with development interventions. Although ADS in collaboration with VDCs exerted a considerable effort to enable them perform their roles, nevertheless some attitudinal, managerial, and financial constraints hampered VDCs effective performance. To establish a strong basis for participatory development, and to ensure its effectiveness, the research recommends building up and upgrading capacities and skills of VDCs as well as community members. The involvement of community members in the early stages of the projects and the decision-making should be notably increased. In addition, rational planning is recommended for the project to reach its goals and objectives. Moreover, in applying participation in practice, theoretical conceptions of participation in development theory, should be seriously considered
Effectiveness , VDCs, Community Development , (ADS) ,North Kordofan