Community based initiative : Rusumo Community Secondary School construction

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Southern New Hampshire University
As the title suggests, the central aim of the project was to assist the Rusumo Ward community members to determine for themselves, on their own initiative a community based project that they feel they need most for solving their felt need. Through different methodologies that include focus group discussions assisted by pair wise ranking the Rusumo ward community members singled -out a community secondary school as their immediate need. The community members did not end-up there, but they went further to assess how best they could achieve the objective. They made a critical assessment of the resources and opportunities available and thus planned and started the implementation. As the report shows, at the reporting time the secondary school construction is at full swing, with a total value of 32,173,000 Tanzanian Shillings. 7, 173, 000 Tshs as peoples' contributions (22.3%) and 25,000,000 as grant from UNHCR Sub-office Ngara which is 77.7% of the total project value. The project goes on further to explore on how best the school should be best managed and administered where the survey carried-out reveals that regardless of the difference in education level and gender, all respondents were of the opinion that the school should be for general education, for both girls and boys (co-education) and owned and governed by both parents and the government. The most contradictory responses were on school maintenance, sources of school funds etc. While it was agreed that both parents and the government should take care of minor maintenance, and while the main source of fund should be from school projects, it was also clear that parents were not prepared to take responsibility. This might be attributed to the poverty level among most of the community members, while some others suffer from the free-rider problem. Despite of the project success, the paper clearly shows that, the genuinety of the people's involvement in the selection of the project from their own initiative based on their felt needs is still questionable. There are a lot of external influences in people's decisions. Also the local communities are not ready to take responsibilities. They still believe in external sources of finance for their development. Poverty is singled-out as the main cause f and thus needs to be purposely tackled. The small elements of the free-rider problem can be easily tackled through community education. Finally the paper suggests the formation of an independent body (CBO) to oversee the development program in the ward instead of depending on government organs that promotes the interference. (Author abstract)