The Utilisation of Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) In Kabwata: A Participatory Communicative Appraisal
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The study was focused on investigating the participatory communication strategies that are used in the utilisation of the Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) and the extent to which community members participate in CDF financed projects in Kabwata Constituency. Established in 1995, the funds were intended to fund micro-community development projects that were not only visibly beneficial, but also involved the active participation of ordinary members of communities.Using a triangulated approach of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, results from the study revealed that in the case of Kabwata Constituency, there exist no explicit communication strategies to create awareness on the utilisation of these funds. The result is that most residents are ignorant on CDF projects in the constituency. Consequently, this has led to very low level of participation in these projects. The low levels of participation exist at all levels of the project cycle, that is, identification, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.Ironically, members of the constituency revealed an overwhelming desire not only for the need to regularly receive information on CDF, but also to actively participate in the funded projects. Apart from wanting to receive information from officials of sub-district structures (Ward Development Committee and Constituency Development Committee), most residents equally preferred being given this information by the Lusaka City Council (District Plarming Unit) in addition to the media (television, radio, posters) and other interpersonal communication networks (such as friends, relatives, neighbours).Just as the CDF was instituted in a top-down fashion that did not involve the active participation of ordinary Zambians, the trend has persisted in that guidelines have undergone several phases of revision without the input of ordinary members of constituencies. Undoubtedly, this has not engendered a culture of participation in CDF-financed projects because despite the current guidelines providing for the dissemination of information, the DPU and the sub-district structures have not adequately done so.