Project Management Practices and Sustainability of Food Security Projects in Counties within Arid Lands, Kenya
Nyaga, Juster Gatumi
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Despite the staggering economic, social and ecological costs of meeting food demand, the expected impacts of implementing food security projects have not been felt. Although inclination with execution related to food projects in many regions has displayed substantial improvements, the trends with sustainability is relatively unsatisfactory, as less projects show continuity. Upon realizing their importance, the Government of Kenya has put measures by creating partnership to implement food security projects towards improving its accessibility in low-income communities. However, their sustainability has been a challenge in the sense that some projects remain partially operational five years after the withdrawal of the main donor while others become defunct. Despite of numerous projects implemented in Counties within arid lands approximately 50% are unsustainable as indicated by the majority having short life-span, stalled, never impact on community and other collapse. Past related studies have presented conceptual, contextual and methodological gaps. This study aimed to examine the effects of project management practices on the sustainability of food security initiatives in Counties within arid lands in Kenya. The specific objectives were to determine the effect of project leadership, stakeholder engagement, project monitoring and evaluation and capacity building strategies on sustainability of food security projects. In addition, this study investigated the effects of enterprise environmental factors on the association between regressor and regressed variables. The study is anchored on resource-based view theory, contingency theory and project management competency theory. Positivist viewpoint was deemed appropriate in this investigation. There was use of descriptive and explanatory research designs. The investigation targeted 413 food security projects implemented between the year 2014 and 2017 and within eight Counties in arid lands in Kenya with a sample of 203 food security projects. The respondents were 243, consisting of project group leaders, UN agencies representatives and County government representatives. We employed stratified random sampling to obtain proportionate trials from each of eight Counties and primary data were gathered using a self-administered survey. Explaining the characteristics of the distribution, the study used means and standard deviation, while to assess the strength and direction of association Pearson’s correlations coefficients was used. Multiple regression models assisted to assess the cause effect relationship in study variables. Findings indicated that project leadership, stakeholder engagement, project monitoring and evaluation and capacity building strategies had significant effects on sustainability of food security projects. The study concludes that project leadership, stakeholder engagement, project monitoring and evaluation and capacity building strategies improves the sustainability of projects. Also, the study concludes that EEFs do not have moderating effects on the relationships between PMPs and projects sustainability. Therefore, the analysis suggests that project leaders ought to suggest clear guidelines which ensure they have the required qualifications to direct the project operations and resources. Stakeholders should be engaged at all stages of the projects for their commitment towards the projects. Projects should be continuously monitored and evaluated to pick on the issues affecting project and more strategies for capacity building should be embraced for project sustainability.