An analysis of agricultural development projects as a tool to increase community resilience: a case of Monze district in Zambia
The aim of this study was to analyse why social vulnerability was on the increase in Monze District, Southern Province of Zambia despite the many agricultural development projects that were implemented. To understand this phenomenon, the study evaluated the design and implementation of current agricultural development projects in Monze District from two perspectives. The first perspective focused on the user and the second focused on the planners. This evaluation was done to understand how these developmental projects were designed and implemented, and how the projects contributed to enhancing community resilience to reduce social vulnerability among people at risk in two sampled communities in Monze. The two communities had the same weighted magnitude of risk and social vulnerability but different number of agricultural development projects being implemented. From a user perspective, one of the two communities assessed with less project interventions was treated as a control whilst the second with more project interventions was treated as the intervention study area. Thus, the study utilised a mixed design method to undertake field community resilience analysis. It further utilised the sample survey and focused group discussions. The study randomly sampled 74 households to solicit views on their inherent community resilience and how they perceived it to have been increased by agricultural development projects. Views from the community members were collected and analysed using a modified sustainable livelihoods framework. From a planner’s perspective, the projects were analysed using content analysis and personal contacts with some planners, monitoring and evaluation officers including projects officers. Results show three main outcomes. The first outcome is that Keemba Community with seven developmental projects out of twelve being implemented in Monze exhibited less resilience when analysed using the modified sustainable livelihoods model. Nalutanda with three developmental projects exhibited more resilience. The third outcome was that the communities did not attribute their current resilience capacity levels to the effects of the current developmental projects except for hazard early warning awareness. The study expectations were that Keemba should have had more resilience since it had more developmental projects being implemented. In this way the increased and enhanced resilience in Keemba would have been attributed to appropriateness, effectiveness, efficiency, relevancy and sustainability of the many agricultural developmental projects that were being implemented. Since the findings were contrary, the study concluded that the agricultural development projects being implemented were not effective at increasing community resilience in terms of their design, planning and implementation. As such, the projects did not contribute effectively to the reduction of social vulnerability and needed to be redesigned to mainstream disaster risk reduction. The study further discovered that poverty levels were still high in both communities studied despite the interventions. The high poverty levels contributed to the prevailing low resilience and thus to increased social vulnerability in Monze, as well.