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close this bookNatural Resources and Rural Development in Arid Lands: Case Studies from Sudan (UNU, 1985, 85 pages)
close this folderIV. Planners' and participants' perceptions of development in the semi-arid lands of Sudan: A case study of the Khashm el Girba scheme
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentThe problem
View the documentThe Khashm el Girba scheme
View the documentDifferences in perception between planners, management, and participants in the scheme
View the documentScheme participants' adaptive responses
View the documentTowards a restructuring of the scheme
View the documentConclusions
View the documentReferences

(introductory text...)

The problem
The Khashm el Girba scheme
Differences in perception between planners, management, and participants in the scheme
Scheme participants' adaptive responses
Towards a restructuring of the scheme

From the preceding studies it is clear that a most important factor encouraging, or discouraging, the acceptance of new innovations in the arid lands of Sudan has been the degree to which participants in the process have been able to identify with the proposed development In particular it has been noted that the result of the provision of better water supplies in southeastern Kordofan was different from what the government expected, and similarly the expansion of mechanized agriculture in the Nuba Mountains area has had unexpected results. It is true that some of the results should have been foreseen, but the main reason they were not lies in the assumption that "development" means the same to everyone and that people's reactions can be dependably predicted on the basis of experience elsewhere, especially when a blueprint for irrigation-scheme development has been adopted. This was the case with the Khashm el Girba irrigation scheme in eastern Sudan, involving the use of 500,000 feddens of land west of the Atbara River for irrigation by gravity flow from a dam across the river in 1964. The model for the development was the analogous Gezira irrigation scheme covering some two million feddans in a similar general region in central Sudan.

That these assumptions are unjustified has been made plain by various authors who have written on the success and failure of the Khashm el Girba Scheme (Sorbo 1971, 1977; Fahim 1973; Thimm 1979). This report deals with the varying attitudes, aspirations, and perceptions of planners and officials on the one hand and the various groups of settlers on the other. The main conclusion is that the various groups have widely different viewpoints and, unless these can be brought more closely together, the scheme is unlikely to achieve a high degree of success. The main lesson for aridland development is the overriding need for a full assessment of the perceptions of the participants if success is to be achieved and waste minimized.

- H. R. J. Davies