All contributions and discussions so far are very interesting and I'd like to contribute as well.
Whilst the general contributors, include myself, agree that RCDF has been misused, it has brought everyone's focus on the method of disbursement of the fund and that the fund has not been used as it was supposed to be. It's all because the current system of disbursement & allocation is just so weak.
I'd rather bring our focus on the original meaning and aim for RCDF. How do we define rural development? Is it to start a small business or project? It's meant to trigger development. If it is used to build a community clinic, a classroom, or any community public infrastructure then that is development. If it is used to trigger a business / project and it eventually becomes self sustainable then that is also development. But if it is used for Christmas parties, spend for fares, or spend on any consumables, then what is development in that?
I guess RCDF is not meant to be given to individuals but a community. Imagine if every single person in the constituency lined up with their business proposals do you think the money would be enough for all? It is not meant for a personal / individual business - you'd better of go to the Bank. It is rather for community business or projects. But then the tricky part is - has the govt trained the communities about projects & businesses? What sorts of projects are viable? Imagine if every community right in the village starts piggery or poultry, then who will buy all these? Can a villager afford a $60 chicken? Where would he get that money from? If there are lots of these in all constituencies then we'd certainly run out of customers even if we ship them to Honiara for sale, there would be lots of them out there also.
You cannot just give a community a large amount of money for projects without creating a market for their products. Eventually, the money would only be misused from the intended purpose. That is the whole reason why there are no major community developments in the villages, with regards self-sustainable projects.
I therefore agree with all previous contributors that for now, RDCF can only be used for community infrastructures, NOT for any personal business project. It would be unwise now to spend on any Communities business project until & unless proper assessment, evaluation, training and a market is created for the proposed products.
I hope this shed some light about the original purpose of RCDF.
RCDF - for What??
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