Learning for development : factors that lead to successful development projects for marginalised communities affected by climate change in Bangladesh (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
This study investigates the factors that are responsible for making international development (ID) projects successful in rural and urban contexts in Bangladesh. In particular, it investigates five ID projects that are usually referred to as development projects, which have been implemented by various Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), international development organisations, government agencies with help from foreign donors and the Government of Bangladesh, to assist marginal Bangladeshi communities to cope with climate change.
With the onslaught of climate change, these communities are needing to learn new ways of approaching traditional livelihood, make best use of limited resources and change their habits and practices. Sometimes they are compelled to migrate to urban cities and learn a new way of life. Many development projects are designed and implemented to assist these communities in learning so that they can address the demands of a changing climate. They have varying degrees of success. This study investigates five development projects that are reported to be successful.
This is a qualitative study utilising a multiple case study approach. The primary data collection method for understanding the factors responsible for the success of a development project includes semi-structured interviews with key project stakeholders, direct observation of real life practices, photographs, research journal and documents from relevant NGOs and development organisations. Stakeholders of the five development projects typically include project beneficiaries, staff members of implementing NGOs and international development organisations, relevant local government officials and local community members. Data from each of the five case projects have been presented in a narrative form that offers a thick description of the various endeavours of these marginalised communities to adapt with climate change.
The research process has been guided by an appreciative approach whereby the focus has been to look for stories of success, evidence of success, strategies applied for attaining success and other underlying elements responsible for positive changes. However, this study also identifies project elements that are considered ineffective and less successful by the project stakeholders.
Bangladesh is often considered as a development success story as the country experienced steady economic growth and decline in poverty incidences since the 1990s. However, owning to its unique geographic location, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Various effects of climate change have imposed formidable concerns on the lives and livelihood of millions of poor Bangladeshis. Especially in the rural areas, climate change is threating conventional livelihood such as agriculture, fisheries, various off-farm and non-farm occupations through subtle changes in the atmosphere and weather conditions. In many cases, people are forced to abandon their traditional habitat and profession, and migrate to urban slums in search of shelter and steady work.
As a result, a large number of development projects have been implemented to help these rural communities and climate migrants to adapt with climate change. The key objectives of these projects include: helping rural communities and climate migrant to modify, diversify or change livelihood to suit the climate; improving basic infrastructures of urban slums where climate migrants generally reside; empowering women; providing health and nutrition services; building vital infrastructures in waterlogged areas; improving access to government services and local markets.
Many of these development projects have delivered positive outcomes for the marginal communities. Consequently, many such development projects have been extended and expanded beyond their initial duration and area by the implementing agencies. The effectiveness of these projects has created a need to understand the underlying success factors that have made these projects work. This study intentionally reports from the grassroots with regards to how communities are coping with climate change. However, the analysis of the success factors may be relevant to other contexts that are facing similar threats from climate change.