Main Article Content
Background: Rooted in national and international laws regarding project planning and implementation is public participation. However, it is unclear whether public projects are enabling sufficient public input or are likely to be able to meet future management planning needs; particularly in developing countries.
Purpose: We assessed people’s experiences when contributing to a public project decision-making in order to understand the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threat to effective public participation.
Setting: We conducted this assessment with a sample of people who contributed to a public project planning and review in a Nigerian city.
Intervention: Not applicable.
Research design: Appraisal criteria are based on the principles of public participation as laid down in the law and consists of the following elements: respondents’ profile, their involvement in the project; purpose of participation, availability of information, feedback mechanism and overall view of the participatory planning process. Information collected consists both quantitative and qualitative data and these were analysed using descriptive statistics and narrative techniques of reporting.
Findings: Findings show that public participation was far below the minimum requirement of the law and not demographically representative. The most important reason respondents participated was to protect an interest in land, although some saw participation as a democratic right. Results show that attending public hearings was the commonest way of participation in a project review. Nevertheless, three-quarters of the respondents thought the final plan did not take their observations and advice into consideration. Respondents confirmed that the process was reasonably notified with opportunities for consultation meetings. Nevertheless, findings suggest some bias actions as significant proportions of respondents held absence of transparency and political interference flawed the project planning and review process.
Keywords: stakeholder engagement; project evaluation; transparency; universal design; equality
Copyright 2016 Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, Western Michigan University.