A conceptual framework for sustainable community development

2018-06-11T07:35:32Z (GMT) by Christi Niesing
One of the main challenges facing South African citizens in terms of sustainable community development, remains the fight against poverty. One of the strategies implemented by the South African government to eradicate poverty, is the implementation of income-generating community projects. The advantages of the development of such interventions include the development of skills in conjunction with financial benefits stimulated by economic activities in communities. The expectation exists that income-generating community projects should develop into sustainable businesses after the initial skill development and donor funding. Unfortunately, this expectation is unrealistic, because income-generating community projects fail to develop into sustainable businesses and have a limited life span. However, they do facilitate sustainable community development in terms of skills development, development of entrepreneurs and economic development. The main objective of this study was to construct a conceptual framework to guide the planning and implementation of income-generating community projects to facilitate sustainable community development through the use of income-generating community projects. The case study of the Holding Hands income-generating community project provided an opportunity to study the development, implementation and functioning of an income-generating community project to develop a framework for the development and implementation of future income-generating community projects. The methodology consisted of a qualitative approach to explore a case study in order to develop constructivist grounded theory. A document analysis of the available documents on the planning, development and implementation of the Holding Hands income-generating community project was used as the first phase of data analysis with the assistance of ATLAS.ti. This resulted in the development of 10 themes and 33 codes. The gaps identified in the data were filled with indepth interviews conducted with the participants of the Holding Hands income-generating community project. The in-depth interviews confirmed that a SWOT analysis can be a useful tool to assist community mapping and that a social network analysis of the participants can provide required networks to enhance the impact of interventions on sustainable community development. The literature review provided additional information to support the identified codes and themes. The findings of the data analysis and the literature review were integrated to develop a conceptual framework based on four core principles consisting of five phases, ten steps and thirty-three actions to guide the planning, implementation and measurement and evaluation of income-generating community projects to facilitate sustainable community development. The limitation of the study was mainly rooted in the fact that it consisted of a single case study within a specific context. This provides an opportunity to test the conceptual framework in future research.