The typical cases of funded development projects are donor-funded. One of the major problems faced by donor-funded projects is that after the withdrawal of donor funding, the projects are not sustainable. Literature has identified some of the factors that cause lack of sustainability including low stakeholder ownership and commitment, lack of understanding of community context, lack of community empowerment, leadership, technology choice, and over-ambitious objectives. I use the social constructivist approach to study the Limpopo IDC Nguni Cattle Development Project in Limpopo Province of South Africa which I got in contact with through student supervision. The project is based on a livestock pass-on system using the indigenous Nguni cattle. The objectives of the project are to reintroduce the Nguni cattle to their original owners, to contribute to livelihoods, to alleviate poverty, and to contribute towards food security. I collected data from three key informants who have been involved with project formation and management and are still involved with it. I collected data through recorded interviews and analyzed them using thematic analysis. I concluded that this project, not only demonstrates the ability of the government to take over projects from donors and run them successfully/sustainably, but it also provides a model of how this can be done. The critical question is: Can the projects for which this model is appropriate be identified a priori as this would increase their sustainability.


donor, funded projects, development, sustainability, qualitative methods, interview, key informants

Author Bio(s)

I have more than 20 years of research on development issues in Africa, mainly from the Sub-Saharan African countries. I have worked with academics, international and national institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. I have field experience in design, implementation, and analysis of large data sets. I have quantitative analysis skills and both the training and experience of working in multidisciplinary teams. Although having a quantitative background, over time I have developed an appreciation of the strength of the complementarity between quantitative and qualitative research. My research interests are in economic development in general but specifically food security, irrigation development, rice development (in Africa) in so far as these have impact rural development in Africa. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: makombeg@yahoo.com


I would like to acknowledge the three respondents who were very patient during the scheduling of the interviews which was complicated by the COVID-19 protocols. I would also like to acknowledge the Limpopo Department of Agriculture and the University of Limpopo for allowing me access to the three respondents.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.







To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.