Working practices, problems and needs of the community development projects in Punjab Province, Pakistan

  • Asif Ranjha

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Community development programmes have been initiated to tackle the shared problems of local communities. The nature, volume and tenure of the development programmes depend on the felt needs and available resources. Different nations initiate community development programmes at different times. Pakistan was among first few countries to launch local level development programmes during the early 1950s, after consultation from the United Nations. The Government started the Village Agricultural Industrial Development (V-AID) and Community Development Projects (CDPs) that focused on rural and urban areas, respectively. The CDPs introduced the self-help and bottom-up development approaches in the early years, which led to great success. The mode of working of CDPs was changed with different transitions and expansions in their working styles and services. These projects are still alive and provide community development services directly, as well as indirectly through nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) registered with the Department of Social Welfare.
    This survey research was conducted to describe and explore the present working practices, problems and needs of government-run CDPs in Punjab Province, Pakistan. In 36 districts of Punjab, officers-in-charge at the CDPs (Deputy District Officers), NGOs registered with the CDPs and non-CDP-registered NGOs were included as respondents. Questionnaires having both closed-ended and open-ended questions were used as data collection tools. Results in the form of frequencies and percentages are presented in simple tables, multiple response tables, bar charts and pie charts. In addition, open-ended responses were coded, quantified and presented in multiple response tables.
    Analysis of data obtained from the three groups of participants provided rich and valuable results about the current work practices of CDPs. I found that CDPs are well-known government-run development projects that register, guide, assist and monitor NGOs and initiate direct programmes in communities. Almost all CDPs cover more than 35,000 people in their working areas with and face problems of untrained staff and staff shortages as mainly reported by NGOs. The respondent NGOs, in comparison to the DDOs, report the CDP staff performance as low and unsatisfactory. The role of CDPs in the NGO registration and emergency services is acknowledged. NGOs viewed the CDPs registration services overly long and complicated. Further, the mode of operation of the CDPs and their authority to deal with the local people and NGOs was found to be complex. In this regard, CDPs have limited authority and have to follow instructions given by higher authorities. The respondent NGOs consider the CDPs and higher authorities to be more authoritative in deciding planning and implementation of projects initiated by the CDPs directly at the local level.
    The CDPs face various problems that affect their smooth working. The responses of all three types of respondents report heavy population coverage, staff shortages, lack of staff training, lack of funds, and a lengthy and complicated NGO registration process as major hurdles affecting CDPs performances. Other problems include the limited authority of CDPs to fund NGOs and to take action against nonfunctional and unregistered NGOs, lack of transportation for field activities and noncooperation of the NGOs and local people. In addition, the CDPs need proper office buildings, equipment and cooperation from higher authorities, NGOs and local people. Following analysis of the responses provided, this study recommends that the higher authorities should equip the CDPs with more and better trained staff, more funding, better office buildings and equipment, more transportation, an improved and easy NGO registration process and more authority. The respondents also suggest the local NGOs and community should remain in contact and cooperate with the CDPs, and that the DDOs should assist the local communities and NGOs in problem-solving.
    Date of AwardNov 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMurray Simpson (Supervisor) & Tim Kelly (Supervisor)


    • Community Development Projects
    • Community Development
    • NGOs
    • Participation

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