Problems And Solutions Of Community Development In Nigeria
People in rural communities contribute a lot towards the development of their areas either by providing the labour required to execute the project, contributing financially or initiating the project and following the planning and execution.
- Chapter one is the introduction of the study, the objective, significance, limitation and definition of terms in the project work.
- Chapter two talks about the problems of community in Mkpat-Emir Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
- Chapter three talks about the oral interview used for the collection of information for the study.
- Chapter four presents the data collected and also analyses.
- The last chapter which is chapter five contains the summary, conclusion and recommendations.
1.1 Background of Study
Nigerian policy makers in recent years have been showing appreciation degree of interest in efforts by groups of individuals and communities to pool their resources together to solve common problems aimed at making life worth while in their locality.
Community effort is a purposely device that has for ages sustained and maintained most communities in Nigeria including Ukam, after the civil war, there was little or no financial assistance from the state or federal government with regard to their human, economic and social resources devastated. Without delay they mobilized resources to rebuild their war battered economy and social infrastructures rebuilding of homes, roads, schools, markets, post offices and provision of amenities like water, electricity etc were done through the communities efforts.
Sometimes the government offers technical and financial assistance to rural communities embarking on such self-help efforts. They do this through government agencies like community development departments in the Federal and state’s ministries of Rural/Social Development and Directorates of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructures (DFRRI). These notwithstanding the fact remains that a lot of problems persist. Attempt will be made in this paper to examine those problems that militate against community, with particular reference to Ukam. Autonomous community in Mkpat-Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. It is with the view of identifying possible improvement strategies.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Generally most rural communities are faced with or confronted by a set of community development problems and may therefore require information to develop responses.
The main aim of this work is to look into and find out these problems the rural communities encounter while executing community development programmes with particular reference to my town Ukam which is in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. These problems will be highlighted based on my research. The work will in addition offer recommendations with a view to involving more permanent solution in its future community development programmes.
1.3 Research Questions
- To what extent has Ukam Community Development Association UCDA in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area contributed to the development of the area?
- To what extent does poor findings affect the UCDA contributions to the development of local government area?
- What are the programs and project put in place by UCDA for Mkpat Enin Local Government Area development?
- Does the UCDA in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area have the capacity for community development?
- What other factors hindered UCDA towards community development?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
This study is intended to assess the contributions of community based organizations to the development of Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwaibom State, and why in recent time they have fallen below people’s expectations.
The specific objectives include:
- To evaluate the contributions of UCDA to the development of Mkpat Enin Community over the years.
- To identify the remote and immediate causes of their decline in performance as agent of change.
- To suggest new approaches to development in the local government, the state, and Nigeria generally.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significance of this project lies in the beliefs and practices of Ukam community and their way of life. The reforms and the way of life this community in the olden times and the present situation and how they have changed in recent times.
1.6 Limitation of the Study
Due to the social and political nature of the community, there was the need to interview the traditional ruler, the village head and the only unbiased executive of Ukam Community Development Association (UCDA) for a meaningful outcome.
1.7 Definition of Terms
An unsatisfactory situation that causes difficulties.
A way of dealing with a problem or difficult situation
A group of people living together in one place, having a common religion or race with similarities of attitude or interest and culture
To make something more advanced
1.8 Scope of the Study
In this study, we shall examine the activities of these organizations in Mkpat Enin LGA particularly their various contributions to the development of the area. We shall also examine continued reduction in their activities and possibly the reasons behind this. The study covers the period between 2002-2007. The whole five years was under a democratic dispensation. This period is also chosen because it was the period when many of the UCDAstarted disintegrating their impacts was no more felt. Indeed, many of UCDAare on the verge of collapse.
Other specific issues addressed in this study are as follow:
- Identification of community felt needs.
- Preparation of development plan and annual budgets to provide for the felt needs.
- Resource mobilization and management for budget/project implementation.
- Physical implementation of projects in line with community plan/budget.
- Impact of the projects on the socio-economic life of the people in the areas of:
- Primary and secondary education
- Primary health care
- Water supply
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
This study examines the contributions of community based organizations to the development of communities in Nigeria, a study of Mkpat Enin, LGA.
The research itself was prompted by the poor performance of community based organizations in the socio-political and economic development of the area between 2002 to 2007. Community development by community based organizations is an age long social activity in the area. Even before the creation of the local and state governments, people had at different time in history, organized themselves into groups and associations for instances Mkpat Enin Descendant Union was founded by Mkpat Enin indigenes in Eket 1935. The heroic achievement of this organization has proven the foresightedness of the founding fathers.
According to Rahman (1998) Mkpat Enin Descendant Union at home and the Diasporas conceived the idea of secondary school education and their efforts produced the community secondary school in the old Northern Region in 1943.
On the basis of the above, Mkpat Enin LGA became famous in community development between 1940 to 2000, All the above attracted the attention of the researcher. However, our worries stem from the fact that from 2002 based on the researcher observations that performance and activities towards community development by UCDAhave been on the downward trend. It is important to note that since Nigeria got her independence in 1960, there had been persistent call by all levels of government on the people to come together and form association in order to attract government attention and assistance.
According to Andrew (1996) successive governments have stressed the need and their willingness to encourage mass participation in rural development, to this end, government has encourage the creation of community development association. The people of Mkpat Enin LGA have answered this call they have formed many Associations and have executed many developmental projects on their own initiative, but-unfortunately have received little or no government assistance particularly from the local government. In this study, we examined the contributions of UCDA to socio- economic development of their communities and blamed the local government for the poor performance of UCDAs. The whole work is contained in six chapters as shall be summarized below.
In chapter one, we made clear the general background to the study taking cognizance of the problem that necessitated the research. Chapter one also outlined the objectives of the study with a view to assess the contributions of UCDA to the development of Mkpat Enin LGA, identify the remote and immediate causes of their decline in performance, proffered solution and suggest new approaches to development. Two proposition were postulated as a guide to carry out the research which had to be validated or refuted at the end of the study.
Our scope covers and examines the activities of the UCDA in Mkpat Enin Local Government between 2002-2007 with a view to investigate reasons for their poor performance. Our study is restricted to UCDA in Mkpat Enin LGA and their activities in the area of socio-economic development other specific issues addressed in this study are mobilization of resources for project implementation. Impact of these projects on the socio-economic life of the people in the area, and relationship between the UCDAand Mkpat Enin LGA in terms of technical and material support. Also, few concepts that can be drawn from this study were given operational definition to enhance the real focus of the study.
Furthermore, chapter two centered on literature review, we explore several existing literatures on UCDAand their activities in socioeconomic development of communities in Nigeria and other parts of the world. We made a comparism between Community Based Organization (UCDA) and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in this chapter as well, we identified the theory of Paulo Freire (2004) who introduced “Community action model” The community action model then became a suitable theoretical framework for this study. This theory emphasizes the importance of people in a community to team together to attain socio-economic development it also builds on the strengths of community to create changes from within. In this study, UCDA is seen as a means to fulfilling this among residents in Mkpat Enin LGA.
In chapter three, research methodology was presented comprising the use of traditional research instruments such as questionnaires, group discussion, and observations methods. In most cases, we derived our data from secondary sources and this was complemented from primary sources in this study, as well our population is all the UCDA in
Mkpat Enin LGA, while the sample size was chosen from this population.
In chapter four, we presented an overview of the socio-economic profile of the people of Mkpat Enin LGA; its historical background, geographical location and population, occupation of the people, level of education, the level of political awareness and participation in governance, infrastructural facilities, in this chapter as well, we narrated the specific UCDAstudied, and challenges faced by the UCDA‟s.
The data collected from the field was presented in chapter five based on our assumptions. Percentages were used to analyze the data in order to illustrate the magnitude and differences in the result obtained. From these results, some logical conclusions were arrived at according to each assumption. In addition, we included observations and group discussions that were made in the course of our investigation, this is followed lastly in the chapter by research findings.
In the 21st century, UCDAhold a great promise to provide the much needed socio-economic infrastructure in the developing countries. They are increasingly making up for the shortcomings of the state, particularly in developing countries where the state is weak and conspicuously absence in the development of communities. They are considered part of the civil area in society, which exist in form of clubs, unions, people‟s associations,
development or cooperative associations etc.
Our analysis so far shows that UCDA in Mkpat Enin LGA had been in existence for a very long time even before the creation of the local government. The proliferation of UCDA in this area is as a result of the fact that people recognized the need to come together and produce common social facilities that would benefit them particulary in a situation where we have weak sate. UCDAhave performed relatively well in the past by the provision of socioeconomic facilities in the local government like schools (both primary and secondary) Health centers or cottage hospitals, feeders roads, peep well, drainages, market stalls and motor parks. These are facilities that are very important to the people, but unfortunately, the provisions of these vital facilities by the UCDAhave declined or on the downward trend to the extent that they found it difficult or unable to embark on new project, and to the extent that the few projects provided in the past are now in a poor state or condition due to lack of regular maintenance.
The above in turn raises question about what Is actually wrong with UCDAand why they have not been able to forge ahead on their past achievements. The above now become the subject matter and problem that attracted the researcher, some appalling problems were identified particularly the lack of local government assistance to UCDA‟s. It is the position of this research that UCDA cannot and should not be seen as an institution that can solve all problems of developing countries but because of their role in the provision of social facilities for the people, they can be seen as supplementing government efforts in socio-economic development, based on the above, we proffered some recommendations.
From the analysis of our findings, results, as well as inferences drawn, the following recommendations are made.
- Government at all levels should encourage the proliferation of and economically support the goals and objectives of UCDA in the study area, creating a common forum where both governmental and nongovernmental organizations could contribute their quota.
- The advantages of fund raising from the community has been well recognized and utilized by UCDA in the study area, many of UCDA have organized series of fund raising activities but have not been able o realize their targeted amount due to low turnout of members of the community. The government and the general public can complement the efforts of UCDA by donating „generously to UCDA so that they can finance local projects for the people.
- Related to the above is the member’s participation in UCDA activities particularly attendance of meetings and contribution of inputs for project implementation. Members of these organizations have supported their organizations in the past but have not been able to continue with this gesture due to the poor economic situations of the county. The economy is the hub of the society; therefore, government should take concrete measures to revamp the economy. If the economic is buoyant enough, members would be able to participate effectively and contribute financially to the activities of UCDA‟s. This will go a long way in assisting the UCDA and make them to perform according to the “community action theory” which emphasized on self determination by people in a community to come together and develop their community from within rather than waiting or calling on the government to come and do it for them.
- The politicization of giving assistance to UCDA in the LGA is a bane on the performance and efforts of these organizations, to eradicate this, the community development office of the local government should take it as its responsibility to mobilize and sensitize these community based organizations to explore the benefit of the assistance given by donor agencies so that they can execute development projects.
- The study observed that there is the practice of doing it alone among UCDA‟s, many of them have little or nothing to do with each other, infact some of them are not aware of the existence of other organizations. Therefore, the study suggest a UCDA networking in inter-organization relations, this network can be use to form a mega organization in order to attract financial assistance from government and other agencies. Government, or international agencies can be catalyst, facilitators and organizers in this respects.
- UCDA should know and understand the nature of the environment where they operate particularly the people. They should foaster good relationship and rapport with the people this will make people of the area to cooperate, participate, and contribute financially to the UCDA programmes.
- More importantly at this juncture, this study suggest UCDAas an alternative approach to development in Nigeria as is done in India, Japan, Indonesia etc. The rapid growth and expansion of UCDAs‟ in Akwaibom state attest to their critical role in the development process. We perceived UCDA as vehicles for providing democratization and economic development, this is in line with Wagona findings that UCDA are increasingly considered good substitutes for weak state and market in the promotion of economic development and the provision of basic services to most people. This study equally perceived them as catalyst for societal changes because they are responsible to the needs and problems of their people particularly the poor.
- The study also revealed that UCDA contributions in the local government have turned out to be “infrequent” and “unreliable” of recent, this is because beyond the problems of lack of support by the local government and lack of finance, there are organizational incapacity and report of insulting behavior, corruption, poor leadership, nepotism that undermined people‟s confidence in UCDA‟s. These worrisome indices, no doubt call for urgent need to strengthen these local and grassroot institutions as viable alternatives or complementary institutions of development which can be use as a panacea to poverty alleviation. It is therefore our resolute, that UCDAif properly assisted and encouraged can adequately contribute to the socio-economic and physical developments of both members and their immediate communities.
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