Evaluation of the contribution of village development committees to rural development in Mahalapye sub district of Botswana-2004-2014
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
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Since 1968, Village Development Committees (VDCs) have been charged with the responsibility of community-led development through a presidential directive. In recent years, VDCs have been faced with both controversies, and success stories. This study sought to assess the contribution of VDCs to rural development in Mahalapye Sub-district of Botswana between 2004 and 2014 by questioning VDC members, community members, and Community Development Officers in four villages within the Sub-district. The two main research questions of the study were: a) the extent to which VDCs’ activities conform to the VDC objectives, and b) The performance levels of VDCs. This study was a mixed method because the researcher wanted to offset the weakness of both qualitative and quantitative research for the purposes of breath, and depth of understanding. Quantitative methods were embedded in qualitative interviews. The sampling procedures used were snow ball and multi stage. The research used the framework of Systems Theory to evaluate the contribution of VDCs to rural development of Mahalapye Sub-district between 2004 and 2014. Focus group interviews with thirty three (33) VDC members of the four VDCs, and individual interviews with seventeen (17), and two (2) Community Development Agents were the main methods of collecting data. Documents such as VDC minutes of the four villages, media reports, and policies of developments were consulted. Qualitative content analysis method was employed for data analysis. Mean average was used to calculate percentage suitability of some specific questions. The research results showed that between 2004 and 2014, VDCs have contributed towards infrastructure development within Mahalapye Sub-district such as construction of VDC houses, bus shelters, conference rooms, maintenance of VDC houses as well as taking social services to the people, such as diffusing information on social protection programmes. The findings also indicated that ix VDCs were also carrying out social responsibility activities such as donating to the needy. The level of contribution was satisfactory as community members were knowledgeable about VDC activities, and satisfied with the activities of VDCs in their communities, and strongly believed that between 2004 and 2014, VDCs contributed significantly to their quality of life. The results indicated that the four main VDC objectives in Mahalapye Sub-district were: A) To identify and discuss local needs B) Assist community development department in their assessments C) Solicit help from donors to carry out local developments D) Provide a forum of contact between community and its leaders. The results further showed that the community members and VDC members believed that VDC objectives are still relevant, and needed some modifications. VDC members were also averagely (50%) satisfied with the VDC workshops. Based on the findings, the study recommended the following: the review of tenure of office of VDC members, recognition of principles of adult education in the training of VDC members, formation of VDC association at the Sub-district level, and recognition of the longest serving VDC members.
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