Stakeholder Participation and Sustainability of World Bank Funded Water Projects in Karamoja, Uganda
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Sustainability considerations are necessary during the project design and implementation as this ensures that the project meets the needs or the objectives that it was intended to achieve for a given period of time. Most development projects are undertaken to improve the social and economic wellbeing of the communities in which they are implemented. Therefore, it is important that the projects are sustainable so that the communities can be able to enjoy a higher quality of life. In a survey conducted by Twaweza (2018), it was established that both in the urban and rural areas of Uganda, households were facing challenges with regards to cost, time, and convenience in access to water. The World Bank in collaboration with the Government of Uganda has financed numerous water development projects. A survey of the projects show that a significant number of these projects are not operational or are operating below the required standard. The status of the projects raises concerns about the sustainability of the water projects which are financed by donors such as the World Bank. According to the Stakeholder Theory, the participation of stakeholders affects project outcomes, thus, it is theorised where the stakeholder have a stake in the project process that the project will meet its set out objectives and be sustainable. The aim of the research project was to establish the effect of stakeholder participation on project sustainability. Stakeholder participation focused on inclusion in project identification, planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. The study was by guided the theory of systems, the stakeholder theory, and the contingency theory. The research design used in this research project was descriptive. The target population of the study were the sixty water project constructed in the seven districts in the Karamoja region of Uganda. The unit of observations were officials from the World Bank, district officials from the Ministry of Water and Environment, project developers, community leaders, and beneficiaries. The information needed to determine stakeholder participation was obtained using questionnaires. The data collected was analysed using descriptive and inferential analysis which consists of correlations and regression. From the responses given, it was established that the stakeholders were involved in the determination of the site of the projects, the projects developed adhered to government development plans, there was consultation in determining the site of the projects, timelines were agreed upon by the stakeholders, every step of construction was controlled by the stakeholders, funds were released based on progress made and there were regular site visits. Through statistical analysis it was determined that stakeholder participation in project identification, project planning, project implementation and project monitoring and evaluation had a positive and statistically significant effect on sustainability as implied by coefficients of 0.277, 0.193, 0.297 and 0.146 and p-values of 0.000, 0.000, 0.032 and 0.007 respectively. From the findings, it was concluded that increased participation of stakeholders in every aspect of the project process enhanced project sustainability. Based on the findings, it is recommended that the stakeholders, particularly the beneficiaries should be included in all aspects of the project.