The feasibility and community perceptions of the Caprivi Development Project

Biewenga, Carla (2009-03)

Thesis (MPhil (Sociology and Social Anthropology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


There is a great need for development, especially in impoverished rural areas. One such area is the Caprivi in Namibia. This study analyses the viability of the Caprivi Development Project and how it is perceived by the communities in terms of improving their livelihoods. The first part of this study sets out the theoretical framework on rural development over the past half century. Theories such as the modernist, small-farm orthodoxy, neo-liberalist, integrated rural development, participation models and the sustainable livelihood framework are reviewed. The usefulness of participation and the sustainable livelihood framework for the purpose of this study is emphasised. Thereafter the lessons learned from mechanised dry-land crop farming initiatives are explored. The extent to which the natural environment such as rainfall and soil fertility and organizational structures which include the project design, technology and infrastructure, the formation of cooperatives and finance, government policies, training and development and the project objectives that affect the permanence of agriculture are assessed. The importance of community commitment to a project for its sustainability is emphasised. Hereafter, the case of the unique Caprivi and the need for development in this impoverished and isolated region is presented. The history, environment and politics are discussed. The economic activities in the region, the people and their lifestyles along with the livelihood strategies they pursue are outlined. Against this background, the aims of the Caprivi Development Project, the project design, its structure, the stakeholders and the challenges faced in making this project a success are presented. The study then reports on how this project is perceived by the farmers involved in this rural development project, with special reference to its perceived benefits this project holds in terms of improving their livelihoods, and what could contribute to its possible failure. In the final chapter, theory, lessons learned and research findings are brought together, before reaching some final conclusions relating to the two research questions posed, namely whether this project has the elements of a successful development project and whether the community supports and see this project as an opportunity to relieve poverty and improve their livelihoods.

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