Evaluation of Project Failure Causes in a Community Based Organization (CBO): A case study of Pakistan


By Arif ud din

Abdul Wali Khan University



The purpose of this research study was to examine the main causes of the project failure in a Community Based Organization (CBO) operating in Khyber Pahtunkhwa (KPK), Pakistan. The current research identified and ranked significant reasons for the project failure. The results explain that the identified 25 Project failure causes are contributing to the project failure few were the more significant contributor and other were less.   The research data was collected from the employees and board of directors of the organization. A research study was conducted in one of a development organization (CBO) working with communities in disaster-prone areas in (KPK), Pakistan. The top five highest ranked project failure reasons were poor planning, poor project designing, lack of concrete support and commitment from upper management, poor project management, and dysfunctional decision- making process respectively.

Keywords: Project failure, CBO, Employees, Organization,


Community Based Organizations (CBOs) considered as voluntary organizations or grassroots level organizations, commonly unregistered and consists of local informal people get the financial resources mainly from members or NGOs. CBOs also received funding from the state   directly when the intermediary is available and start communication (Otiso, 2000). In Pakistan mostly CBOs or grassroots level organizations registered and usually received financial resources from the state, members and international donors through NGOs and some CBOs have the capacity to initiate direct donor funding without an intermediary.

CBOs operate through community-centered approach and development process occurs as community participation, readiness of micro-finance, community health project and improvement of infrastructure. CBOs consider as not for profit organizations operating on a local and national level for the welfare of community development (Clark, 1999).

CBOs positively impact the lives of rural community i.e increases in income, reproductive and health improvement, involve in activities of disaster risk reduction, quality education and increasing literacy rate. CBOs play a role of a bridge between citizens and the government and or more concern or responsive than any other agencies.

According to Karanja (1996)   CBOs meet target people needs and considering as a key target group for executing development projects at the grass root. CBOs do not only involve in poverty alleviation but also playing a key role in empowering local communities.

According to Hekala (2012)   64% donor funded projects fail a recent McKinsey- Devex survey put forward and findings showed that the two major reasons of project failure were poor project planning and lack of managerial skills.   More than 50% of World Bank many projects fail, according to U.S. Meltzer Commission report (2000). Dvir et al (2003) found that lack of planning will probably guarantee failure, but it does not assure success.

According to one study conducted on 97 failure projects the managerial controllable cause involved in project failure (Pinto J.K e tal 1990).

Current research study finds out the main causes/reason behind the project failure in community based organization. A Research study was required because the CBO projects fully or partially failed instead of huge funding and with all necessary resources required for operation. However, major problem CBO faced included not timely completion of projects, planned activities were not achieved accordingly, set quality standard was not achieved, and the community was unsatisfied with project deliverables.


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About the Author

Arif ud Din

Charsadda, Pakistan




Arif ud Din is currently Program Coordinator for UYWO- Action Aid in Charsadda, Pakistan. During his career he has also been project coordinator for Action Aid Pakistan, Charsadda; project officer for CRDO- Care International, Pakistan; project officer and deputy team leader for Church World Service USA Pakistan/Afghanistan, Mansehra, KPK. Arif ud Din holds a MS/Phil in Project Management from COMSATS University. He also has a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree with specialization in Management from Virtual University of Pakistan, a Master of Science degree in Chemistry from Hazara University Mansehra, and a Bachelor of Education (B.E.D) degree from Peshawar University, Pakistan. Arif can be contacted at [email protected]