Participation patterns of rural communities in development projects in the Nongoma district of KwaZulu-Natal.
There are strong arguments in the literature on development that underdevelopment of rural areas is caused by lack of grassroots participation in the development process. Participation of the rural poor in the whole development process is therefore regarded essential for redressing problems of underdevelopment. This study sets out to explore whether the level of participation of the rural poor is satisfactory and whether the participatory approach is capable of effectively redressing underdevelopment problems. A qualitative, interpretative approach was used in attempting to answer this question. Interviews and questionnaires were used to find information on project, participants and supporting organisations. This information was interpreted and analysed to find out if the current practise of participation has the potential for sustainable development. The study concludes that the current practise of participation has not reached a satisfactorily level required for sustainable development. The main stress on this participation seems to be the weak institutional support which fails to match the development efforts of the poor within the broad spectrum of the rural development process.