WIT Press

Sustainability: The Dream Of International Development Projects


Free (open access)





Page Range

431 - 442




87 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. Dulcey Morán, M. Ferguson


Human development is now seen as a moral imperative for humanity, wherein developed nations assume a moral responsibility to ensure development of the less developed nations. The basis for this imperative includes socialhumanitarian, political and economic considerations. However, when success is measured in terms of sustainability, then most human development projects have been abject failures. This study sought to examine the factors that impact on sustainability by analysing the experiences of people who deliver human development projects. Nine people who had worked on one or more of five selected information communication technology (ICT) human development projects, participated in the study. The five projects were initiated and managed by ONGAWA, a Spanish NGO, and implemented in South America and Africa. The study adopted the semi-structured interview format. This approach enabled study participants to freely express their lived experiences of planning and delivering human development projects while at the same time ensuring that the pre-defined research question was addressed. The main finding from the study is that in order to foster sustainability a detailed diagnosis should be carried out. Significantly, the diagnosis should use participatory learning and action (PLA) approaches that mandate involving aid-recipients and active stake holders. However, participants’ experiences are that donors and funders often desire rapid implementation and visibility. This is often incompatible with the slow, deliberate pace required by PLA approaches. Since NGOs largely rely on donor funding, they often only poorly or rarely use PLA approaches. The study points to the need for non-governmental organisation involved in development aid and human development projects to formulate strategies to educate donors and funders on the necessity and practical implications of PLA if sustainable human development projects are to be fostered.


sustainable development, human development project, participatory learning and action, PLA, non-governmental organisation, NGO, Information communication technology, semi-structured interview