Case studies of project sustainability: implications for by Michael Bamberger

By Michael Bamberger

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Agency for International Development (USAID) financed integrated rural development projects and found that sustainability was a major problem. Many of the projects were designed at a time when it was assumed that careful planning and well-designed implementation strategies were the main keys to success. The full complexities of project operation and institutional development were not yet appreciated, and consequently did not receive enough attention from international development agencies and national governments.

Page 4 for science and technology to increase productivity when that later stage comes along. 3 OED published its first overview study of sustainability issues in 19864, followed by a review of sustainability experience in the fertilizer subsector5, and in education and is in the process of preparing a number of other sectoral reviews. 7 World Bank Project Completion Reports now tend to include a section on project sustainability. At the broader developmental level, issues relating to environmental protection have become one of the highest priorities of the World Bank and other international development agencies and increasing efforts are being made to cooperate with nongovernmental and local organizations experienced in these fields.

While an agency may initially be provided with adequate resources, these may be eroded over time due to inflation, pressures to increase salaries (at the expense of the maintenance budget), or a gradually loss of political support. Interagency coordination (C-3) and coordination with community organizations and beneficiaries (C-4) are also important indicators. Finally, a high proportion of development projects are subject to major modifications during their implementation and operation, and the long-term sustainability of a project will frequently depend on its ability to adapt to changing economic, technical, and social conditions.

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