Challenges Of Rural And Community Development In Nigeria
The rural poor are really non-beneficiaries of the enormous development efforts of the past three decades. This study is aimed at assessing community participation in rural development projects in Sapele LGA, Delta state. Data were generated from both primary and secondary sources. The study adopted a multi-stage sampling technique of which first, among the five districts, four were purposively selected while second stage, the communities in each district were arranged alphabetically and every third community systematically selected. The study made use of 381 samples which were proportionately distributed according to population size among the selected four districts. The study made use of descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. The descriptive method involved the use of mean, percentages and frequency distribution for the summarization of the data. The Pearson Chi square analytical technique adopted to test level of significant relationship that exist between community participation and project planning process and implementation or result has a p-value of 0.0001 which shows a significant relationship. The findings also revealed that 60% of the respondents agreed that community participation is an effective tool for rural development projects. The study also established that community participation is an important element for speedy socioeconomic advancement of the rural communities. It is recommended therefore that beneficiaries of any rural development project should be mobilized and sensitized to benefit of community participation in Sapele LGA and rural projects generally, selflessness and service to humanity should be fostered by traditional authorities and NGO focusing on women should be deliberately organized to channel women empowerment and participation.
1.1 Background of the Study
The concept of community and Rural Development (CRD) as an alternative strategy to overall development of the economy, have become a world-wide acceptable phenomena in both developed and developing countries. Particularly during the last three decades, there is hardly any state policy or programmes that does not touch or have a direct bearing on the rural sector.
In Nigerian, present and past governments (central, state and local) level formulated a good numbers of policies and programes with rural focus and implications for improving rural life and the participation for rural people in National development and progress. Some examples will be mentioned and in chapter two of this research.
As noted by Abah (2000: 152) the dichotomy between urban and rural areas in terms of development can be traced back to the colonial days when Government Reservation Areas (GRAs) where established at various stations. When the urban Acts were used to seize local lands for white settlement and when the introduction of the capitalist mode of production ted to the designation of some settlements.
Like the rest of developing countries a bulk of the Nigerian wealth is derived from agriculture and oil which lies in abound quantity in rural communities. The percentage contribution of agriculture to gross domestic product steadily declined from 1972 due to the less attention paid to the rural sectoral development. (16% in 1970, to 15.7% in 1971 it becomes clear that despite our high level of urbanization, Nigeria remains largely rural. Thus, there is the realization that a dangerous gap exists in the development levels of both the urban and rural areas threatens the political and social stability of the country. Hence, the development of a country cannot be completed with the singular act of developing the urban areas at the detriment of the rural area, which supplies to the urban areas with food and labour.
Contemporarily, rural community development has become a national impetrative in Nigeria./ thus, the importance of rural community development in contemporary Nigeria society cannot be overemphasized, as much as it cannot be relegated to the background: as it’s significance stems from its recognized role in the process of achieving the improvement of economic, political, social and cultural conditions of the communities. Finally, rural community development is one of the major plank upon which national development policies and their implementation are hinged.
It therefore becomes of research interest to analyse the processes involved in provision of rural projects in Sapele local government area, perhaps absence of community participation may be a factor in the under achievement of the desired objectives and this calls for the present study.
1.2 State of the Problems
The goal of development planning in Nigeria is the achievement of rapid increase in the nations productive capacity with a view to improving the standards of living of the people. As it relates to rural areas, promotion of economic growth and the provision of social amenities to enhance the standards of living of the rural people (Abah, 2000:152).Rural development projects placed so much emphasis on participation of the communities or beneficiaries because of multiple merits of participatory approach hence some studies have been conducted on the subject. Olisa and Obiukwu (1992) saw community participation as an important element to speedy socio – economic transformation of rural areas therefore it cannot be over looked.
Afolayan (2008) examined community participation in infrastructure provision using medium sized communities in Kwara State. The study revealed that a high level of community participation in projects such as schools, electricity, roads, water, market/stalls, health facilities and town halls influenced the functional structure in medium sized communities. The United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP) Niger Delta report (2006) also referred to community participation as the process that unites the efforts of the people themselves with those of the government authorities.
Dzinavatonga (2008) investigated community participation and project sustainability in rural Zimbabwe using Sangwe communal land in Chiredzi as a case study. The author employed purposive sampling technique for interviews with key informants in the community and random sampling in selection of communities in the wards for the field survey. The author‟s findings revealed that there is a need for the government and non – governmental organization (NGOs) to facilitate the creation of a community based network programme that ensures the participation of the rural communities in project planning and implementation. However, facilitation does not mean the facilitators dictate to the communities what to do but provide the necessary conducive environment for the community to institute this community-based network programme. This is because it is through such network the rural communities participate actively in the realization of sustainable projects in Sangwe.
Although community participation is at the centre of rural development and should be one of the foremost pre-requisites in development process both from procedural and philosophical perspectives, none of these studies (Olisa and Obiukwu, 1992; McNeil, 1993; Olawepo, 1997; Adesope et al, 2000; Adedayo, 2000; Oyebanji, 2000; Ofuoku, 2011; Ogunleye and Oladehinde, 2013) have focused on rural communities in Sapele local government area.
1.3 Research Questions
In view of the statement of research problem, the following questions are posed: –
- What types of socio – economic development projects are embarked upon by the communities in the study area?
- What is the contribution of the community to rural projects in the study area?
- What is the level of community participation in rural projects?
- How are the rural community projects maintained in the study area?
- What are the constraints to community participation in rural socio-economic development projects?
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of this study is to assess community participation in rural development projects in Sapele LGA, Delta State.
However, the specific objectives of the study are to:
- Characterize the types of community development projects in the study area.
- Identify the forms of participation of the rural community in the development projects.
- Examine how the community projects are being sustained/maintained in the study area.
- Assess level of community participation in socio – economic development projects.
- Examine the constraints to community participation in rural development projects in the study area.
1.5 Null Hypothesis
HO: There is no significant relationship between community participation and projects planning process and implementation in the study area.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The spatial scope of this study centred on the assessment of community participation in rural development projects in Sapele local government area, Delta State. The rural communities include Amukpe, IbadaAmukpe, Okuovwori, Degbrode, Irhiabome, Ogiedi, Okuogbara, Ugbimidaka, Okuovu 1 and Obotie. The selection of communities is based on the alphabetical arrangement of Amukpe, Elume, Okokporo and Ugborhen districts; hence, every third (3rd) settlement in each district was systematically selected for the study. The study focuses on community participation in socio-economic development projects since the creation of Sapele local government area in 1989. The extent of the work includes several community projects in the study area, challenges encountered by community members, levels and forms of participation and effect of community participation on utilization of the projects.
Rural development projects included in this study are educational infrastructures, health services, markets and electricity projects. The fieldwork and secondary data used in the study span between the creation of Sapele local government area in 1989 to date.
1.7 Significance of the Study
Community participation is essential for rural development project of Nigeria and the developing countries in general because the idea is to improve the rural human condition. Community participation has also been perceived in various sectors of the economy to mean improvement in the quality of life of the rural communities which can be further classified as socioeconomic development which include education, health, water, electricity etc. (Obateru, 2003).
This study is necessary because findings will assist Sapele local government council, traditional authorities and other development agencies such as community workers to consider different approaches of involving rural dwellers in their rural development projects. Various stakeholders would identify the role which they might play at the beginning of the development process to prevent obstacles that lead to poor community participation. Community members would also contribute by suggesting strategies which the community leaders can use to regain and maintain the sustainability of the community.
However, since there is a renewed emphasis on rural areas lately, the reason for this study on community participation is unconnected with the important role rural communities play in rural projects because former framework adopted by some previous administrations have failed to achieve many of its aims due to the bureaucratic top-down approach (McCommon, 1993).The basic assumption is that development should trickle down from the growth centre (core)to periphery but failure in achieving this goal precipitated a new framework that appreciates rural people as major stakeholder in their own development (Stohr and Taylor, 1981).This is often referred to as „participatory‟, „local democracy‟ or „bottom-up‟ approach (Rafiu, 2007). The approach allows rural dwellers express their views and help define development course for the rural area in line with their expectations and plans. The bone of contention here is that development should commence from below (bottom) that is grass–root or rural areas as against the previous from above (Adefila, 2012).
The study Assessment of Community Participation in Rural Development Projects in Sapele local government area is also worthwhile because it will help identify missing link in rural development since it is realised that one influence of the rural development through participation is that it encourages outsiders to learn gradually from the rural people who are always happy to be involved in planning their development (Olawepo, 1997). He further noted that rural projects associated with rural area where participatory development is adopted should be encouraged because rather than development impetus originating from „top to down, the reversal of process is the case where development facet is suggested and undertaken by the communities in relation to their felt needs.
It is further hoped that the findings of this study serve as a frame of reference for the development programmes which are taking place in rural areas, be helpful to government, policy makers, development agencies in identifying the necessity of community participation in their project cycle, help in the modification and re – strategizing on how participation approach could be used in problem solving efforts towards improvement of the quality of rural life. The study will form a database for future studies and serve as important reference materials for planners, multilateral organizations, non – governmental organizations (NGOs), foundations and others interested in rural development particularly in Sapele, Delta state and the Niger Delta as a whole.
1.8 Organization of Study
The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature. The chapter three gives the research methodology while the chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data. The study concludes with chapter five which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
The study reported in this thesis assessed community participation in rural development projects in Sapele LGA. The Chapter in particular contains the summary of research findings, conclusion and recommendations.
5.2 Summary of Research Findings
The aim of this study was achieved through set objectives which are:
- Characterization of types of projects in the study area; examination of the forms of participation by the community in rural development projects; assessment of level of community participation in socio – economic development projects and examination of the constraints to community participation.
- The study revealed that more than 60% of the respondents that agreed that provision of rural development projects through community participation has been a concern of rural communities in Sapele LGA. For some of the projects provided, functionality is shortened due to poor sustenance.
- Various reasons attributed to these include lack of government presence or neglect, inadequate funding, community negligence, that is, lack of care or interest on projects and non-involvement of community members during the project planning and implementation process. This invariably means that for any rural development project to be successful, the active contribution of beneficiaries through community participation is required.
- The Pearson Chi-squared analysis concluded that rural dwellers in the study area were not impressed with the process involved in the provision of rural development projects and that a significant relationship exist between community participation and project planning process and implementation. Self-help also influences rural development projects.
- Lastly, the study noted constraints encountered during the provision of these rural socioeconomic development projects. These constraints gathered from the respondents include greed, selfishness, lack of unity, lack of sensitization, poor funding.
The study was carried out on Challenges of rural and community development in Nigeria. In determining an effective community participation in rural development projects, a survey was carried out to achieve set objectives posed and previous studies reviewed as shown in the literature review in chapter two.
The findings revealed by respondents identified problems encountered by community members that hinder their participation in rural development projects during the planning and implementation stage. Also, it was noted that females in Sapele LGA do not attend community meetings that seek to share information regarding rural development projects because it is a taboo and this incidentally is still being practised in most African traditions till date.
Furthermore, the study discovered that the Paradigm Shift Approach that involve to a bottom-up approach to community development is strongly being adhered to in the study area. This indicates that there is need to strengthen the concept and practise of community participation in rural development projects and sensitize rural dwellers to key into it. This study therefore compliments earlier study by (Stohr and Taylor, 1981) that appreciate rural people as major stakeholder in their own development since the previous top-down approach has failed in achieving many of its goals due to several bottlenecks.
The provision of functional infrastructural facilities and services has great impact on the growth and socio – economic development of the rural community. Thus this work puts forward the following recommendations for all stakeholders in rural development:
- Consultation with the rural dwellers, sensitizing and creating of awareness should be duly carried out because collective effort is what provision and execution of a successful rural development project requires.
- It was discovered that the spirit of communalism previously associated with rural areas has been dwindled in Sapele LGA giving way for greed and mutual suspicion which hinder collective participation in projects. To address this, traditional authorities should be re-engineered to seeing themselves as the father of all community hence fostering the spirit of self-help, selflessness and service to humanity in their respective domains.
- Lastly, women should be allowed to be actively and deliberately involved in community participation. This is because women participation in development is a current global best practise and Sapele LGA cannot be an exception. In this light, NGO focusing on women should be organized to channel women empowerment and participation.
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