The Role of Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainable Backyard Aquaculture (A Survey of Fish Projects in Kikuyu, Lari and Githunguri)
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The Government initiative to expedite commercial aquaculture through the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) fishpond projects since 2008 has had resounding success, based on the demand for these projects by prospective farmers. A total of 20,000 fish ponds have been constructed across 140 constituencies (Muiruri, 2010). Aquaculture production went up by almost 250% between 2009 and 20 I0 but the fish prices increased by 27.6% in the same period (Economic Survey, 2011). How sustainable are these projects? This study investigated how pond fish farmers in Kiambu County undertake PM&E of their projects and how this influences economic sustainability. PM&E was divided into Project Success and Project Control variables. The study examined how Project Control and Project Success variables relate; and also influence sustainability. Three purposive samples each of 34 respondents, based on project location (Kikuyu, Lari and Githunguri) were targeted by the study. Data was elicited through examination of an . interview survey of one hundred and two (102) Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) beneficiaries in Kikuyu, Lari and Githunguri districts. Secondary observation was also done to verify the status of record-keeping as an indicator that PM&E is undertaken by the respondents. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze the baseline characteristics of the project. Correlation analysis was done to investigate whether the Project Control and Project Success variables co-vary in the study, and to quantify the strength of the linear relationship between the two. Inferential analysis was undertaken to show whether project location and intervening variables were significant to project sustainability. The Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) approach using the Weighted-Sum Model (WSM) of the maximization case method was used to analyze the relative degree of PM&E undertaken by respective project locations and the consequent effect on project sustainability. Results showed the existence of emerging systems of integrated fish farming, not conforning to the project implementation guidelines. These are innovations by farmers endeavouring to enhance project sustainability; and, 66% of the projects targeted in the study were operating at a level that can be economically sustainable. Kikuyu was found to perform best in this respect followed by Githunguri and Lari in that order. Lack of fishing nets hampered frequency of harvests as farmers in the each district share one net. The study concludes that PM&E through accessible record keeping, as well as pond security, are significant to the economic sustainability of the projects. Also, innovations in project implementation enhance project sustainability. Both aspects are illustrated by the results of Kikuyu. The study recommends that government policy should come up with a system that will motivate farmers to keep records in forms that can be accessed years on in the life of a project if its sustainability is to be monitored and evaluated. It also recommends that collaborative efforts between government and other stakeholders in the private sector can consolidate efforts in the areas of community mobilization, consistent farmer training, extension services, credit facilities, provision of affordable fishing equipment, processing and marketing. Project sustainability is more complex than economic sustainability alone. Further research would take one or more of these aspects to explore such as political, socio-cultural, technological, environmental, demographic and legal sustainability.