Kenya is one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa that is not able to feed its population sufficiently and it, therefore, relies on outside assistance. Many food security projects have been funded by both the Kenyan government and other development partners in an effort to mitigate against food insecurity. Unfortunately, as revealed by assessment reports, such projects leave little impact after the end of funding.
Context and purpose of the study
This study evaluated factors affecting the sustainability of community food security projects funded by various organizations between 2005 and 2009 in the Karai and Ndeiya divisions of Kiambu County, Kenya. This study was necessary because among the literature reviewed, no other study had been done on the sustainability of community food security projects. An evaluation research design was adopted and a purposive sampling method was used to select key informants from stakeholder organizations and project groups. Data were collected using face-to-face interviews with ten key informants (community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, financial institutions and the government of Kenya) and focus group discussions with twenty groups (ten women’s groups, four men’s groups and six mixed groups) that had benefitted from the funded projects. The data collected were analyzed using the chi-square test at the 95% confidence interval level.
Results and main findings
The findings revealed that the sustainability of community food security projects is affected by group members’ participation, rainfall patterns, leadership, management and funding levels.
Conclusions and recommendations
Based on the outcome of the study, we conclude that food security projects are not sustainable. The recommendation is that group members (the beneficiaries) must participate in project planning and implementation for purposes of ownership and sustainability. Farmers need to be empowered with knowledge on irrigation and off-season intensive farming of high-value crops. We are very optimistic that this recommendation will be useful for program planners, donors, policymakers, implementers and stakeholders in project design and for funding sustainable community food projects. A further study should be done on the role of stakeholders in project sustainability.