Self-Help Program And Rural Development

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Self-Help Program And Rural Development


Self-help program and rural development, as the title implies is a strategy through the inhabitants of an area co-operatively undertaken the building or rehabilitation and provision of their basic needs of their community using their own effort and resources (Onajide et al 1990) based on the back ground, the research was conceived to examine self-help approach and rural development in IbionoIbom Local Government Area. To carry out this, the field survey method was employed to assess the various infrastructural programs undertaken by self help and government in IbionoIbom Local Government Area.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Rural community development through self- help approach is an age long social activity in our society. Even before the advent of the colonial administration, people had at different time in history, organized themselves into group and had employed communal resource to provide physical improvement and functional facilities in their respective localities. For example communal labour was employed in constructing homesteads, clearing farm lands, roads and even some public utility, buildings such as “Obas” palace, market stalls and town halls (Journal Central European Agriculture volume 7 2006).

Some past attempts to achieve rural development in Nigeria failed due to the oil boom in the 1970s which gives the people erroneous impression that government should provide all their needs. Consequently the spirit of self- help was relegated. However, the present economic reality in the country has made the people find a lasting solution to the social and economic problems of their communities through self-help approach. The community development association develop their rules and regulations themselves, plan and execute their programmes with very little or no interference from external bodies. Specifically their activities involves holding meetings to discuss their programmes and projects, identification of their felt needs, participation in their community development project activities through supplying of labour, contribution of money and ideas. Their focus is to enhance community infrastructure through improved education, access to more advance medical treatment, increased economic opportunities and myriads of small community development initiatives.

The use of self-help approach in community development is considered as a process of social action in which the people of the community organized themselves for planning action, making groups and individual plans to meet their needs and solve their problems. They execute their plans, with a maximum reliance upon community resources and effort. Self-help approach involves the fullest participation of all the members in the community. Participation of individual in rural development activities is an act of involving residents in a project which requires a democratic approach. The belief is that, all members make their contribution to those problems which affect them.

Self-help programmes as the term implies means voluntary activities undertaken by persons in their roles as ordinary citizen. It is the process that can meaningful tie programmes to people (sipegal 1968). Citizen participation in rural area is better carried out in conjunction with the inhabitants of the rural area for the purpose of sustainability.

Generally, rural areas in Nigeria are characterized by poor drainage system, low infrastructure services and social amenities, poor housing conditions, low income earners, and less Government projects to improve the social- economic lives of the people. Rural areas have not really felt the impact of Government since independence in Nigeria because the past government lacks effective machinery for the implementation of rural development plans to make life meaningful to the rural inhabitants.

According to Lele Una (1995), rural development is improving the living standard of the masses of the low income population residing in the rural areas and making the process of their development self sustaining. The inability of government sponsored programmes to induce development in rural area brought about the thinking by the people of “helping themselves” in form of citizen participation. The principle underlying the self-help participation is to understand that Government resources are limited hence, the need to help themselves is by coming together as a group with their initiative and togetherness in other to better their live and the development of the community ( Paul Davidoff 1985).

The success of many rural development projects and programmes in many part of the world had been linked up with the use of participation of local group programmes designing, implementation and evaluation (Abenebichi 1982). The developments characterizing rural areas are enormous, hence this study is set out to examine the extend to which the people have intervened to help themselves through self- help approach.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

One of the major problems of development in Ibiono ibom local Government Area is inadequate provision of basic rural infrastructural facilities. Since history reveals that 75% of the population in Ibiono is rural, it becomes imperative for the need of rural development.

According to Ekop (1993), an area that has adequate infrastructures is likely to be more developed than areas with less provision of such facilities. The inadequate provision of infrastructural facilities and social services is the major problem impending rural development in the study area. However, what is the level of intervention by the people themselves to reduce the magnitude of problem through self-help approach? The answer to this question constituted the main objective of this investigation.

1.3 Aim and Objectives

The aim of this research is to access the participation level of people of Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area in rural development.

  1. To achieve this aim the following objective are stated.
  2. To identity the types and numbers of rural infrastructure in the study area.
  3. To investigate the types and numbers of infrastructural projects undertaken by self-help approach.
  4. To examine the various means through which the citizen participate in the projects.
  5. To investigate the factors influencing participation level of people in rural infrastructural development.
  6. To access the implication of the findings for rural development planning.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research question will be necessary to proffer solution to the problems identified in the study area.

  1. What are the numbers of rural infrastructure in the study area.
  2. What are the types and numbers of infrastructural project undertaken by the self-help approach?
  3. What are the various means through which the participant of the study area applies?
  4. What are the major factors militating against effective participation level of the people in rural infrastructural development in the study area.
  5. What are the implications of self-help programmes on rural development planning in the study area?

1.5 Justifications of the Study

Rural development has been the major concerned of the past Government administration, but the failure to achieve this through Government intervention has caused the people of Ibiono Ibom to think of alternative ways to better their living condition and improve their socio-economic life by coming together and participate in self-help projects, and thus, the study is justified in such a way that it will show- case the level of participation of the citizen towards the provision of their basic needs (infrastructures ) in the area. As well as factors influencing the level of participation in rural development through self– help approach.

1.6 Formulation of Hypothesis

The following hypothesis will guide in research findings. The following hypotheses are stated below:-

Null Hypothesis: Ho: There is no significance difference between the number of rural infrastructure developed by the Government and self-help approaches.

Alternative Hypothesis: Hi: There is significance different between the number of rural infrastructure developed by the Government and self-help approaches.

1.7 Scope and Limitation on the Study

Self-help programmes are a very wide topic, which one may not exhaustively research upon. As a result, the focus of this study is on the self-help programmes in rural development with particular reference to Ibiono Ibom level Government Area which comprises of eleven (11) political wards and a total of 208 villages. Emphasis is placed on rural infrastructural facilities such as schools, boreholes, health centers, markets, roads, electricity.

Basically the research will identify the rural development project undertaken by the citizen and assess the level of participation by the people in the study area. The study will also highlight the factors influencing the effective participation of people in the study area and also investigate others issues arising from the objective of the study.

1.8 Structure of the Study

This research work is structure in six chapter. Chapter one otherwise called the introductory chapter contains the introduction, which give general over view of self-help programmes, statement of problems outline the aim and objective of the study, research questions, justification of the study. Chapter two discuss the conceptual frame work and literature review while chapter three deals with the study area with regard to location, historical background, culture of the people, physical setting, and population characteristic of the area.

Chapter four outlines the methods and procedures employed in conducting the study while chapter five shows data presentations, data analysis and discussion of findings. The last chapter (chapter six) contains the summary, recommendations and conclusion. This is then followed by references and finally appendix.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the effect of self-help program and rural development.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of self-help program and rural development.

5.2 Summary

The study revealed that community self-help was a potent instrument at the disposal of rural dwellers in reducing abject poverty, thereby promoting the common good and wellbeing of their communities. However, community self-help has lost its desired attention in rural communities in AkwaIbom State. The study identified myriads of factors responsible for the dearth of self-help efforts in the development of rural communities in AkwaIbom State. It submits that, given due attention base on the highlighted recommendations, self-help projects can be revive and promoted as a veritable tool for community development in the State. Self-help projects are potent to sustainable rural community development. Development will be sustainable to the extent that it allows for community participation, contributes to increased local growth that rural people can see, and are able to access the resources to keep it going. Thus, sustainability implies effective participation to assure that the projects and activities undertaken respond to articulated priorities at the local level. A sustainable strategy will thus have to enhance the revenue base of local people over time (although initially the contribution will be small). It will, moreover, have to define a major role for local government in coordinating the participatory decisionmaking and in mobilizing available resources.

5.3 Conclusion

The study conclude that self-help is a relevant strategy for rural development in Nigeria. Like the cooperative movement, the self-help movement in many parts of Nigeria rest on the rich tradition of the people. We found also that local communities in Urhoboland in Delta State and other states in Nigeria, have been undertaking self-help projects from time immemorial. But the latest development in selfhelp activities is the partnership which the government now forms with the people. It has been established that there is a relationship between time related events an the motive force that sustained self-help development activities in IbionoIbom in AkwaIbom State. These motive forces have been idealized to relate to

  1. The instinct of self and corporate survival and
  2. The societal felt need. It is these two principles, which are known to vary spatially and temporally, that govern the inner dynamics of self-help activities and thus dictate the observed spatial variations in the attainment of economic well-being.

5.4 Recommendations

Haven completed the study the researcher recommends that

  1. The State government should kick start the campaign to revive self-help programmes, by enlightening the people on the significance of the scheme and also appropriating certain amount of funds in the State government annual budget estimates as match-in-grants and aids to rural communities.
  2. The State government should look into the issue of corruption that bedeviled the scheme in the past. It was noted that the increasing level of poverty is a militating factor against the success of community self-help and has been largely responsible for the dearth of the scheme in the past.
  3. Therefore, the state government should revive the rural economy by establishing farm settlements in every local council area and building cottage industries to invigorate the local economy. Also the issue of conflict which has discouraged community self-help efforts should be given attention by the state government and the communities.
  4. The state government should also step-up enlighten campaign to revive the spirit of community self-help in the mass media.

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