An evaluation of community partipation in attempts to start a community garden project in the Shakashead community.
The purpose of the study was to describe and analyse community participation in attempts to start a community garden project in the Shakashead community. A key focus of the study was to identify the level of participation of the community in all aspects of the project cycle, that is, the planning, implementation monitoring and evaluation phases. The study was carried out in an informal settlement situated in the North Coast about 75km from Durban. The community garden project was funded by the Luthuli Education Trust and initiated by the Borough of the Dolphin Coast as an endeavour to address abject poverty and unemployment in the community. Qualitative research methodology guided the evaluative nature of the research. The case study research strategy was used as the community garden project in the Shakashead community served as an example of a development programme in action. The data collection methods included participant observation and semi-structured, individual interviews. Purposive sampling was used to obtain respondents for this study. This process involved the deliberate selection of members who played significant roles in the attempts to start a community garden project in the Shakashead community. These research respondents included members of the Shakashead Civic Resident's Association, a Development Consultant who represented the funding organisation and the client liaison officer employed by the Dolphin Coast Borough. The overall aim was to document their perceptions and understanding of the attempts to start the community garden project and the reasons for the unsuccessful operation of the project. Four major themes emerged from the data to exemplify the significant elements of community involvement experienced in the attempts to start a community garden project in the Shakashead community. These themes included: a) the structural components required for full community participation; b) the importance of support and training for community members; c) local leadership and its impact on development; d) the hierarchical procedures of organisations. The recommendations included areas for further research and several changes ID working practices.
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