Examining the Social Economic Strategies That Influence Organizational Sustainability of Community Development Programs: A Case of Good Shepherd Programs, Meru County, Kenya

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Tangaza University College
Community Development Projects (CDPs) represent an important role in supporting communities to address their immediate social economic problems. However, most of these projects collapse as soon as their prominent donors withdraw. This study intended to establish reasons for project failure and subsequent lack of sustainability. The principal objective of this study was to examine social economic strategies that influence the sustainability of community development projects in Meru County, Kenya, with specific reference to Good Shepherd Programs. The research was anchored on stakeholder theory supported by systems theory. The study used a mixed-method research design. A convergent parallel mixed approach was used to combine qualitative and quantitative data to deliver a comprehensive examination of the research problem. A population of 63 program staff, 4 program directors and 4 parent mentors groups (FGDs) were used to provide the data. For qualitative survey, the 4 Sub-counties formed the sampling frame with each sub-county having one Focused Group discussion (FGD). Eight parent mentors were picked through snowballing where the first identified parents’ mentor randomly picked from each sub-county helped to identify the next 7 other parents’ mentors based on their availability to take part in the FGDs. However, the research relied heavily on quantitative techniques through questionnaires. Purposive, census, and snowball sampling were used to select the study participants. Data analysis was done using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21 through descriptive and thematic analysis. Data from interviews was organized into themes and presented in narrative form and direct quotes. Descriptive statistics generated in the form of frequencies and percentages were used to summarize the quantitative data and presented in frequency distribution tables. The study concluded that there were numerous organizational strategies affecting sustainability of Good Shepherd Programs in Meru County. These ranged from staff involvement, program planning, communication, strategic plans implementation to stakeholder engagement. Consequently, this study suggests a wide range of proposals aimed at making the Good Shepherd Programs more effective and sustainable. Some of them include informed participation, awareness creation, communal ownership of projects, transformation and visionary leadership, development ofstaff capacities, transparent and accurate financial accountability, and elimination of dependency on donor support