عنوان البحث :Evaluation of some poverty alleviation projects in the Northern State of Sudan (2005–2009)

اسم الباحث :Awadia Ahmed Hashim1 and Musa Hago Elfaki Ahmed2 :

ABSTRACT
The main objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of small income–generating projects on the standard of living and enhancing the life of the poor in three localities of the Northern State. A field survey was utilized as a research tool for data collection. Random sampling technique was used to select the samples. Accordingly 150 of the owners of the projects during the period of 2005–2009 were selected from three localities namely Dongla, Al Borggeg and Al Goled. Another 150 members were selected to represent the non–owners as a comparative group. Data were statistically analyzed using percentages and frequency distribution. Regarding personal characteristics no significant differences were found except that illiteracy was slightly higher among non–owners and family size was slightly larger among project owners. Results showed that 62.3% of the owners reported that these projects didn't change the standard of living of their families. However, the majority of those who had no projects expected those project to improve their living situations if they had them. It was also found that those projects were faced by a wide range of problems. The small amounts of loans was the most important problem beside problems with the quality of the projects, low returns of the projects when compared with inputs, low completion of the products, lack of knowledge about the management of these projects, lack of follow–up by the financing institutions, unavailability of funds for the poor and the unsuitability of the projects to the owners. Hence, these problems prevented the owners from benefiting from these projects. Based on the findings the study recommended that the government should clearly determine the number of the poor in different locations, formulate development plans that enhance standard of living of the poor, invest in agriculture and allow better opportunities for the poor, promote awareness of income generating activities and make use of international experiences on poverty alleviation .The study also recommended that financiers should increase budget for income generating projects and deploy professional staff in their branches to plan and evaluate projects, train beneficiaries and closely follow–up projects implementation.

المستخلص
الهدف الرئيسي من هذه الدراسة هو تقييم فعالية المشاريع الصغيرة المدرة للدخل على مستوى المعيشة لمالكي هذه المشاريع وتعزيز حياة أفضل للفقراء في ثلاث محليات بالولاية الشمالية. استخدمت الدراسة المسح الميداني كأداة بحثية لجمع البيانات. تم استخدام تقنية أخذ العينات العشوائية لتحديد العينات. وبناء على ذلك تم اختيار 150 من أصحاب المشروعات خلال الفترة من 2005–2009 من ثلاث محليات وهي دنقلا، البرقيق والقولد. وقد تم اختيار 150 عضواً آخر لتمثيل غير المالكين كمجموعة مقارنة. وقد تم تحليل البيانات إحصائياً باستخدام نظام الحزمة الاحصائية للعلوم الإجتماعي (SPSS) باستخدام النسب المئوية والتوزيع التكراري. فيما يتعلق بالخصائص الشخصية أظهرت الدراسة بأنه لا توجد فروقات ذات دلالة إحصائية غير أن الأمية كانت أعلى قليلاً بين غير المالكين وكان حجم الأسرة أكبر قليلاً بين أصحاب المشاريع. أظهرت النتائج أن 62.3٪ من أصحاب المشاريع ذكرت أن هذه المشاريع لم تؤدي لتغير مستوى معيشة أسرهم. ومع ذلك، فإن غالبية هؤلاء الذين ليس لديهم مشاريع توقعت أن تلك المشاريع ستؤدي لتحسين الأوضاع المعيشية لأسرهم إذا كانت لديهم منها. فقد وجد أيضاً أن تلك المشاريع تواجهها مجموعة واسعة من المشاكل. وكان أهمها ضعف حجم القروض فهي صغيرة بجانب مشاكل أخرى منها نوعية المشاريع، انخفاض العائدات من المشاريع بالمقارنة مع تكلفة المدخلات، وضعف منافسة المنتجات، وقلة المعرفة بإدارة هذه المشاريع، وعدم المتابعة من قبل مؤسسات التمويل، وعدم توافر الأموال لتغطية أعداد كبيرة من الفقراء وعدم ملاءمة المشاريع مع أصحابها. وبالتالي، فإن هذه المشاكل أدت لضعف العائد من هذه المشاريع ومنعت أصحابها من الاستفادة منها بالمستوى الذي يؤدي لتحسين اوضاعهم المعيشة وبالمستوي المرجو. بناء على نتائج الدراسة أوصت الدراسة بأن الحكومة ينبغي أن تحدد بوضوح عدد الفقراء في المواقع المختلفة، وتقوم بصياغة خطط التنمية التي تعزز مستوى معيشة الفقراء، والاستثمار في الزراعة والسماح بتوفير فرص أفضل للفقراء، كما تقوم بتعزيز الوعي بالمشاريع المدرة للدخل وتستفيد من التجارب العالمية في التخفيف من وطأة الفقر. أوصت الدراسة أيضاً بأن الممولين يجب أن يرفعوا من سقف الميزانيات للمشاريع المدرة للدخل ويقوموا بنشر الكادر المؤهل من الفنيين في فروعهم لتخطيط وتقييم المشاريع وتدريب المستفيدين ومتابعة تخطيط وتنفيذ المشاريع عن كثب.
INTRODUCTION
Area of the study
The Northern State occupies the far northern part of Sudan and lies in between latitudes 16–22 N and longitudes 20–32 E .It is bordered by Khartoum State in south, the Nile State in the east. Republic of Egypt to the north and Libya to the west .Administratively it is divided into seven localities: Halfa, AL Borgeg, Dalgo, Dongola, AL Goled, AL Debba and Merowe. Each locality is divided into a number of administrative units. The total area of the state is about 348697 km. The poverty rate in Northern State was 25% of the total population as estimated by Zakat chamber in (2009).
In Northern state the Zakat Chamber, Saving and Social Development Bank and the Ministry of Social Welfare are the main institutions that shared in poverty.
Problem statement
Poverty is known to prevail among people of northern state in both rural and urban areas. Many institutions like Zakat Chamber, Takaful fund, Social Insurance, Student Support Fund, Ministry of Social Welfare and Saving and Social Development Bank working in the state addressing poverty reduction. There is need to see how poverty alleviating programs are carried out by Zakat Chamber, Saving and Social Development Bank and the Ministry of Social Welfare have managed to reduce poverty and improve standard of living among the poor and to study the problems threatening or leading to failure of projects financed by these institutions and how these projects can be activated to alleviate poverty and enhance economic and social development.
Objectives of the study
The main objective of this study is to assess the effectiveness of small income–generating projects in standard of living and enhancing the life of the poor in Northern state, The specific objective of the study are :
1. To determine whether there are significant differences of some personal characteristic (sex, age, education and family size) of those who have projects and those who do not have
2. To assess the availability and suitability of small projects for the poor.
3. To see whether these projects have positively affected the poor’s life.
4. To assess the problems facing poverty alleviation projects and see how these problems can be solved.

Importance of the study
The study gains especial importance because it deals with the poor who are more than 90% of the total population of Sudan according to Mahran (2005). According to baseline survey carried by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS 2009) poverty incidence of the Northern State was 36.2%. Therefore, the poor represent an important section of the society and they must play an important role in economic and social development and progress like the other members of the society. The poor people will not be able to play active role in economic and social development unless they are well capacitated and have access to necessary resources.
Hypotheses of the study
The following hypotheses serve as the guiding research assumptions for the investigation:
1. Null hypothesis: There is no significant effect of the projects on income level, social services and quality of life.
2. Alternative hypothesis: There is significant effect of the projects on income level, social services and quality of life.
Abbreviations:
ADS : Area Development Schemes
FAO : Food and Agricultural Organisation
SPSS : Statistical Package for Social Science
SSDB : Saving and Social Development Bank
MSW : Ministry of Social Welfare
Definition of terms
These terms are used in this study to mean the following:
Poverty:
It is used to refer to any person or groups in a condition of relative deprivation in such things as income, employment and power.
Poverty alleviation:
This term refers to the process of reducing the number of the poor and improving their living conditions through public action and programs that they have greater impact on poverty.
Poverty reduction:
The elimination of symptoms of poverty such as a progressive reduction and eventual limitation of malnutrition, diseases, illiteracy, squalor, unemployment and inequality.
Income–generating projects :
This term is used to refer to any small scale development business under– taken by individuals or communities and supporting organizations which they assumed to be technically sound, practically applicable, socially and culturally acceptable and economically feasible and environmentally friendly
Quality of life:
This term refer to the basic needs like food, shelter, clothes, etc.
THEORATICAL FRAME WORK OF THE STUDY
According to FAO (1993), poverty refers to the inability to attain the minimal standards of living. Sudan is characterized by widespread and mass poverty affecting both urban and rural populations. Results reported by Ali (1994) reflected that poverty in Sudan has increased substantially between 1978 and 1993. The percentage of the poor people was 54% in 1978, and further increased to 91% in 1993. A more recent study by the Ministry of Manpower (1997), suggested a similar upward trend of poverty .Many researchers agreed that the decline of average income could be an evidence of poverty in Sudan. Nur (1992) found that, the expansion of poverty among urban people was higher than that among rural people. Mahran (2005) argued that poverty had become the major concern of the general public, the government, as well as national, regional and international organizations. More than 90% of the population in Sudan are classified as poor, both in rural and urban areas (Mahran, 2005). Furthermore, life expectancy is lower and child mortality is higher than the levels in many middle–income countries. Under the present / circumstances, the prospect for the Sudan millennium development goals of halving the number of the poor between 1990 and 2015 is seem to be bleak. Approaches should, therefore, be sought to score some success in this regard. The high incidence of poverty in both rural and urban areas is visibly reflected in various material deprivation inflicting the majority of the population. The most affected are those people in remote rural areas, the urban poor, nomads, women, children and the internally displaced (ADS, 1999). However, according to the national baseline survey carried by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS 2009) poverty incidence of the Northern State was 36.2% while at the national level was 46.5%.
Poverty alleviation refers to the process of reducing the number of the poor and improving their living conditions through public action and programs that have greater impact on poverty. Poverty reduction is elimination of symptoms of poverty such as progressive reduction and eventual elimination of malnutrition, diseases, illiteracy, squalor, unemployment and inequality.
Reducing poverty is considered to be one of the major objectives of economic development. However, economic growth is generally considered to be a necessary condition for alleviating poverty (Stewart, 1985). Income–generating projects refer to any small scale development business undertaken by individuals or communities and supporting organizations which they assumed to be technically sound, practically applicable, socially and culturally acceptable economically feasible and environmentally friendly.
A number of local, regional and international institutions, organizations and agencies have been involved in poverty alleviation activities in Sudan. Each of these has its own approach, delivery mechanisms, objectives and target groups (Sayed, 2006). SSDB (2009) and Ahmed (2004) reported that there were some problems hindering those poverty alleviation projects such as lack of awareness of the objectives of the microfinance, small amounts of loans, low values of guarantees, lack of knowledge and training about the projects, low returns of the projects and lack of marketing channels for the products.
There was a group of government institutions which supported the efforts of alleviating poverty in the Northern State of Sudan .This study was aimed to evaluate the efforts of Zakat Chamber, Saving and Social Development Bank and the Ministry of Social Welfare as the major institutions dealing with poverty alleviation and reduction in the State.

METHODOLOGY
Random Sampling techniques were used to select two different categories of samples. Accordingly, a group of 150 of the owners were randomly selected in three localities namely Dongola, Al–Borgeg and Al–Goled. A total of 114 who were financed by Zakat Chamber were selected randomly from a total of 1150 who were financed during the period of 2005 and 2009, while the rest represented 36 people who were financed by SSDB and Ministry of social Welfare (MSW) during the same period. Another group of 150 members were chosen randomly from the three localities to represent the non–owners group. Primary data for this study were collected using a questionnaire as a tool for field survey by personal interviews. Research areas covered were the contribution of the project in improving the standard of living, availability of the projects to the poor, adoption of appropriate feasibility studies, follow up by financing institutions, suitability of the projects to targeted households and continuity of those projects. Secondary data were collected from reports and document Two types of questionnaires were designed to collect the data .One for the owners group and the second one for the non–owners. The survey was carried out during May–July of 2010.Statistical Package for Social Sciences Program (SPSS) was used for analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the perception of the two concerned groups.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Personal characteristics of the owners of the projects compared with non-owners in the Northern State
Table 1 shows that the chances were equal to females and males to have the credit for the projects. Also, the data show that the ages of 78% of the owners and 82% of non-owners ranged between 30 and 60 years . The data in Table 1 show that a high percentage of the owners (73.3%) were literate compared to 60.0% of the non- owners who were illiterate . Among this literate group it was found that the primary level was the major one (38.67% and 34% of the owners and non-owners, respectively). The same Table revealed that most of the owners and non-owners (84.66% and73.33% respectively) had their family size in the range of 5-15 members. Probably, the large family size was one of the social characteristics of the State.
Table 1. Frequency distribution and percentage of respondents by some personal characteristics.
non-owners Owners Sex
% no
% no
43.3 65 50 75 Male
56.7 85 50 75 Female
100 150 100 150 Total

% No % No Age
5.33 8 7.33 11 Less than30
82 123 78 117 31-60
12.67 19 14.67 22 Above 60

% no % no Education
40 60 26.67 40 Illiterate
60 90 73.33 110 Literate
100 150 100 150 Total

non-owners Owners Educational level
% no
% no
40.0 60 26.67 40 Illiterate
7.33 11 7.33 11 Khalwa
34.0 51 38.67 58 Primary
10.0 15 13.33 20 Intermediate
8.0 12 12.0 18 High secondry
0.67 1 2.0 3 University
100.0 150 100.0 150 Total

% no % no Family size
26.00 39 12.00 18 Less than 5
73.33 110 84.67 127 5-15
00.67 1 3.33 5 above 15
150 150 100 150 Total

The role of the projects in the standard of living of the poor and the role of the finance institutions in the availability of the projects in the Northern State
Table 2 shows that more than half (62.67%)of the owners reported that these projects didn’t change the standard of living of their families but 37.33% of them agreed with that .On the other hand 66% of non-owners reported that these projects could have changed the standard of their living if they were made available to them. This result reflected the limited success of those projects as perceived by those who had experience with them and the relatively high expectation of those who have no experience with those projects. Also, Table 2 shows that 78.33% of the owners said that these projects were not available for all who needed them or all the poor around them and 56.67% of the non-owners agreed with them. It was also found that 26.67% of non-owners knew nothing and didn’t hear about these projects .This may be due to the lack of effective communication with the society and the limited promotion and publicity for those projects among the communities.

Table 2. Frequency distribution and percentage of respondents by ability of the projects to change the standard of living and availability of projects.
Standard of living Owners non-owners
No % No
%
changed 56 37.33 99(expected to change) 66
Not changed 94 62.67 11(not expected to change) 7.33
Did not know about the project 00.00 00.00 40 26.67
Total 150 100 150 100


Availability of projects No % No %
available 31 20.67 25 16.67
not available 119 78.33 85 56.67
Did not know about the project 00.00 00.00 40 26.67
Total 150 100 100
Feasibility studies, follow-up and suitability of projects to beneficiaries
When owners were asked if they made feasibility studies for their projects before having them, most of them (87.33%) said they didn’t make those studies (Table 3). It was known from documents that those studies were prepared beforehand by the financing institutions and they would just be added to the customers documents. Beside that, Table 3 shows that there was a weak follow-up of the financial institutions because 79.33% of the owners claimed that there was no follow- up for these projects. The data in Table 3 indicated that most of the owners (76%) reported that their projects were suitable for them.






Table 3. Frequency distribution and percentage of respondents by making the feasibility studies, follow-up by financer and suitability of the projects for beneficiaries.
Feasibility study Follow up
Suitability
no % No % no %
Made 19 12.67 Follow up 31 20.67 suitable 114 26
Not made 131 87.33 Non-follow up 119 79.33 Not suitable 36 24
Total 150 100 total 150 100 total 150 100
Continuity of the projects
When project owners were asked if their projects were still operating it was found that, 43.33% of them had their projects failed and stopped after one or two years while 56.67% continued to operate (Table 4).

Table 4. Frequency distribution and percentage of respondents
by continuity of projects.
% No Projec
56.67 85 Continued
43.33 65 Stopped
100 150 Total

Problems which led to the failure of the projects
Table 5 shows that there were many problems that led to projects failure. The low level of competition of the products in the market ranked first followed by the unconvincing results of the projects, the use of money located for the project for other purposes, the low quality of the products, the high cost of products compared to returns and the lack of appropriate knowledge of management and operation of projects. Table 3, 4 and 5 show clearly that due to the lack of beneficiary involvement in preparing of the feasibility study, lack of close supervision and follow-up and lack of knowledge and training of how to effectively operate those projects, nearly half of those projects had low performance and were discontinued.

Table 5. Frequency distribution and percentage of respondents by reasons lead to stop the projects.
% No Reasons for the discontinuity of the project
21.53 14 Beneficiaries were not convinced with the result
27.69 18 Low product competition
18.46 12 Money used for the other perposes
6.15 4 Lake of knowledge
10.77 7 Cost is higher than returns
15.38 10 Low quality of product
100 65 Total


CONCLUSIONS
There was no significant differences in personal characteristics between project owners and non-owners except that illiteracy was slightly higher among non-owners and family size was slightly larger among project owners. Poverty alleviation projects in the Northern State did not succeed to improve the living standards of the majority of their owners because they were not perfectly studied to suit the beneficiaries, not closely followed-up and nearly half of them failed and discontinued.
Reasons behind this failure were the unconvincing results of the projects, the use of money for other purposes, the low quality of the products, the high cost of products compared to returns and the lack of appropriate knowledge of management and operation of projects.
RECOMMENDATIONS
Based on previous review, results and conclusion, the study recommends the following to be addressed by the concerned authorities :
• The Government should :
- Make efforts to determine the number of the poor, locate their places and their real problems.
- Formulate national development plans to involve and make use of this large segment of the society (the poor) to participate actively in economic and social development.
- Invest heavily in agriculture which allows an expansion of economic opportunities to reduce poverty and ensure food security.
- Update the measurements and tools of the extension services.
- Form a central body to coordinate the efforts of the different activities in the field of poverty alleviation.
- Promote the awareness and interest of the poor in these projects and to show them how these projects could help them to increase their income and enhance their standard of living.
- Make use of the international experiences in poverty alleviation especially the Asian ones.
The financial institutions especially the governmental ones:
- Should increase the budgets to the projects to improve the quality and efficiency of these projects.
- Need to deploy professional staff in the financial field to plan and evaluate these projects and support them by training.
- Must train the owners to know how to manage the projects successfully.
- Should follow-up the projects and improve the mechanism of their operation.
- Local councils at the villages level could be developed to act as a follow-up mechanism.
- Studies must be carried out to measure the feasibility of these projects to the target groups.
- Researcher should continuously evaluate the overall impact of the poverty alleviation programs to identify and make use of their weakness and strengths in future planning.

REFERENCES
Ahmed, M.M. 2004. Factors Hindering the Small-scale Projects that were Financed by the Zakat Chamber .M.Sc. Thesis, University of Gezira, Sudan.
Ali, A.A.G. 1994 Structural Adjustment Programs and Poverty in the Sudan, Arab Research Centre, Cairo.
ADS. 1999. Area Development Scheme, The National Strategy of Poverty Elimination, Khartoum, Sudan.
CBS. 2009. Poverty in Northern state, Estimate from national baseline household survey. Central Bureau of Statistics, Khartoum, Sudan.
FAO. 1993. Rural Poverty Alleviation Policy and Trends .Rome, Italy.
Mahran, H.A. 2005. Public Policy and Poverty Reduction in Sudan (1997 - 2002), IFPRI / AP Collaborative Research Project, Khartoum, Sudan.
Ministry of Manpower, 1997Trends and Profiles of Poverty in Sudan (1990-1996),In collaboration with the H.O, Final Report, Khartoum, Sudan.
Nur, E.M. 1995. Poverty in Sudan in 1992 with and without Copping Practices .Research Report .The Solidarity Fund, Khartoum, Sudan.
Sayed, O.A. 2006. The Impact of Non-governmental Organizations (NOGs) on Poverty alleviation in Sudan. An Empirical Analysis with Reference to ACORD, Port Sudan. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Gezira, Sudan.
SSDB. 2009. Saving and Social Development Bank: Productive Families Project Reports, Dongola, Sudan.
Stewart, F. 1985. Planning to Meet Basic Needs. Macmillan, London, UK..

2015-01-15 :تاريخ النشر

http://www.albutana.edu.sd/Publication.php :المجلة العلمية

Lorem ipsum dolor