Community Development Projects and Sustainable Livelihoods: Evidence from Selected Projects in Lepelle-Nkumpi Municipality in Limpopo Province

12 Sep 2019

Development projects have been widely implemented in South Africa and the rest of the world in order to promote social and economic development. In South Africa, such projects date back to the pre-1994 era and have also been the hallmark of national development in the era of democracy. The paradox though has been the not-so apparent link between such projects and development. For the purpose of this paper the projects of interest, are in LED context. While many projects generate some incomes for beneficiaries, however, when they are assessed within the broader context of the meaning of development, it is not so clear if in fact, they have achieved such impact. In its efforts to reduce poverty and unemployment and also to grow the local economy, Lepelle-Nkumpi Municipality has implemented many community development projects.While the Municipality has used its Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) to support such projects, the impact on the livelihoods of beneficiaries does not appear to be as pronounced as expected. The aim of the study was therefore to assess more systematically and in greater depth, the impact of these projects in sustaining livelihoods. The study was based on a qualitative research design where a small sample of nine beneficiaries from three different types of projects (crop farming, chicken farming and tourism) and two municipal officials or other stakeholders were interviewed. Interviews were used to collect primary data from the respondents and secondary data was collected from sources such as IDP reports, journals and articles. The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework was adopted as the theoretical lens for the analysis of selected projects.