The Role Of Cooperative In Poverty Alleviation (A Case Study Of Selected Cooperative Societies In Kaduna South Local Government Area)
The only way people can maximize benefit of limited resources to their reach is by self-reliance. Therefore there is need for people to use co-operative societies to achieve these. The project seeks to identify how cooperative societies can be used as means to alleviate poverty in Kaduna South LGA. Four cooperative societies and their members were used to buttress the point. Poverty is on the rampage, thus the need to stamp or alleviate is a welcome development.
Primary and secondary data were used in collecting data. In the findings, the cooperative societies have alleviated poverty in Kaduna South Local Government Area by measures of their activities in and around the territories. It also noted that they encountered some difficulties in carrying out their activities, among which is poor management. Recommendation were made in respect of the problems they are facing and avenue they can improve the lives of persons in Kaduna South LGA. It is particularly recommended that persons in positions of authority should be people with impeccable character and hardworking.
Cooperative societies need and since funds from external sources are difficult to obtain members should be encouraged to make special savings so as to enable the societies mobilize more funds from internal sources Also persons who join cooperative societies in must be prepared to do work with others to achieve the societies set objectives and must also be prepared to display transparent honesty when dealing with fellow cooperative and societies.
1.1 Background of the Study
In Nigeria today, poverty has become a major problem facing the country. The question has been asked, how can this problem of poverty, which is effecting our economy be alleviated. Several government bodies have been set up to find solution to that. However, it is important to find out what poverty is all about and the meaning of cooperative by different scholars, and merge the two together for us to have a clearer of the purpose of this study.
According to Oxford dictionary, poverty is a state of being poor. It is inability of a household to generate adequate income for the maintenance of the house members. That is to say, it can be defined from the point of view of income, and that is the general intake by which poverty can be evaluated. A Poor person means a person who is unable to find a job, obtain adequate income, unable to own property, and maintain a good healthy condition. This is the sign of poverty we are talking about.
On the other hand, cooperative is a phenomenon that denotes any form of working together voluntarily by persons or individuals to achieve common goals. To narrow it down cooperative refers to the activities of an association of persons with similar social, cultural and economic needs who willingly come together to satisfy these need in solidarity. In other words cooperative was born as a result of reaction against capitalism, competition and injustices that associated with them. Cooperatives is a purely service oriented to their members rather than profit oriented.
The cooperative members integrated their resources, for the satisfaction of their members identified need. Beside, a tree cannot make a forest; people from different places can come together and pool their resources together to satisfy their expectation.
However, based on these, cooperative is the best way of tackling the perennial economic problem of a developing country like Nigeria where a greater percentage of people live below poverty level. This is probably what informs the Federal Government in 1979 to formulate a policy guideline, that at least 25% of Nigerians should become cooperators.
The Danish people saw in cooperative as easier way of improving their national economy, especially after the war with Germany and their humiliating defeat which contributed to national poverty. They went into promotion of the economic interest of their people (Okechukwu 2001). Swedish people embraced cooperation because of the need to improve the economic interest of their people. Everybody was made to participate in one form of chosen economic activity or the others.
In Africa, particularly in Nigeria this has made the Federal Government to have several poverty alleviation schemes such as National Agricultural Food Production Programme (NAFPP), River Basin Development Authority (RBDA), Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS), National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPED), National Economic Empowerment Strategy (NEEDS) Family Support Programme. (FSP), Better life for Rural Women, family Economic Advancement Programme, and others. Some state government, were not left out in trying to find out how poverty could be alleviated. Cooperatives as socio-economic institutions through their activities are could be a potent tool for poverty alleviation particularly in fighting poverty and unemployment. This could be in the area of agriculture, provision of infrastructural facilities and education.
Therefore in Kaduna State, particularly in Kaduna South Local Government Area, the research activity is conducted so as to know the level or the impact of cooperative in reducing poverty.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Cooperatives are at work in almost every country and economic sector. It is generally recognized that cooperatives respond effectively to the ever-changing needs of people. For example, in response to the effects of globalization, people continue to choose cooperatives to address their needs. In a number of countries, people are starting new cooperative enterprises in such areas as social care and information technology. Women and youth are also choosing the cooperative form to start enterprises of their own, thus creating new jobs and opportunities. The cooperative advantage extends to the users of cooperatives and indeed to the communities in which they operate. Cooperatives set industry standards by putting into practice their values and ethics. In some countries, cooperatives are seen as leaders in promoting food safety and security, and in protecting the environment. Still in others, cooperatives are building peaceful societies by promoting understanding and collaboration among people of different cultural and income backgrounds. Indeed there is a conventional reasoning that cooperative presents the most viable channel out of poverty in developing countries.
It is in the light of the above understanding that led the Nigerian Government at all levels to promote the use of cooperative in poverty reduction efforts. Nevertheless cooperatives in Nigeria are still known to be bedeviled with problems including, lack of capital, lack of access to credit facilities, poor management, misappropriation of funds, etc. While efforts are being made by stakeholders of cooperative in Nigeria to remove and/or reduce these problems, there is an apparent consensus that the need for adequate and sufficient knowledge of the role of cooperatives in poverty alleviation still exists. For example there is a need to identify and analyse in sufficient details those cooperative activities and functions that bear directly on the economic empowerment of members, as well as identifying factors that could promote and enhance cooperative efforts in poverty reduction. Unless these issues are known and appreciated, the emphasis on cooperative as a poverty alleviating platform may continue to be unrealistic.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
Generally, the objective is to find out how cooperative societies in Kaduna South Local Government Area (LGA) are used as a tool for poverty alleviation.
The specific objectives include:
- Examine the personal characteristics of members of cooperatives in Kaduna South LGA
- To find out the type of poverty prevalent in the Kaduna South LGA.
- To examine the roles played by cooperative societies to tackle the poverty in the local government area.
- To analyse the impact of cooperative activities in poverty reduction in the area.
- To identify factors affecting performance of cooperative in poverty alleviation activities in the area.
- To make recommendation based on the findings
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the profiles of members of cooperatives in Kaduna South LGA?
- What type of poverty is prevalent in Kaduna South LGA?
- What are the roles cooperative societies in Kaduna South LGA play in reducing poverty?
- To what extent does cooperative become a means to poverty alleviation?
- If cooperative organisation can alleviate poverty what type of poverty?
- What types of cooperative society can help?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Poverty has become a threat to the Nigeria society in general. If the findings of this study is everything to go by, there would be a measurable value to the following:
- To the poor, to know the working of the cooperative in the Kaduna South LGA. This will go a long way in assisting them to reduce poverty, by established cooperative societies.
- To the staffs of the cooperative society, this work can serve as a mirror which cooperative staff can see their objectives targets, achievement and importantly people perception.
- To the Federal Government they can use this work as a yardstick to measure effectiveness of cooperative societies. The Government can through this work know appropriate steps to be taken in improving the working of cooperative societies.
- To Nigeria in general, the work can be of immense contribution. This can be used to know the types and levels of poverty existing in Nigeria and the step taken by the government in curbing the menace.
1.5 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The focus of this study is to find out how cooperative societies in Kaduna South LGA can alleviate poverty. This is limited to selected registered cooperative societies in Kaduna South Local Government Area.
It could have covered the whole of Kaduna State, but due to the following, factors it is strictly limited to Kaduna South Local Government.
The factors are:
Due to constraint of time, the period in which research is to be carried out is short, the researcher therefore have to select few cooperative societies in Kaduna South Local Government Area.
Cost and Insufficient Data:
As a result of increase in transport fare, the researcher could not be able to visit the whole cooperative societies in Kaduna South LGA.
On the other hand, the respondents could not release all the necessary documents and information about their societies.
Low level of Education:
Most respondent are not adequately educated, they found it difficult to read and fill the questionnaire and this limited the information for the researcher.
In spite of the above limitations, the results of the investigation could be said to be valid and reliable at the time of the study.
Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1 Summary of Findings
This study has so far assessed the poverty alleviation of cooperative societies in Kaduna South LGA. The study in its fullness has attempted to bring into focus on how cooperative societies in Kaduna South LGA, can alleviate poverty. Data were collected through questionnaires administered to the four selected cooperatives societies members in Kaduna South LGA. The data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics.
In view of the prevailing advantage and high potential for poverty alleviation. Various research works on the subjected in both developed and developing countries like Nigeria confirmed the great significant role of cooperative societies in offering overwhelming opportunities for poverty alleviation cum employed generation.
Generally at the end of this study the following findings were made based on empirical evidence from the data analysis.
- Cooperative societies alleviate poverty in Kaduna South local government area. The major focus of poverty alleviation in the societies includes improvement in the standard of living, provision of essential needs, and increasing the income of the members.
- Cooperative organisation are found in all sectors in Kaduna South LGA, but some are not functioning again due to certain problem beyond their control.
- Each cooperative societies set up has goals and objectives that they wish to achieve, but logistics and incentives towards achieving those goals remain a problem.
- Cooperative societies operating in Kaduna South LGA encounter a lot of problems, prominent among them are lack of funds, managerial inefficiency, limited access to credit facilities and substandard infrastructure facilities etc.
- Cooperative organisation suffer from low share capital as a direct consequences of low membership size and general poverty level in the LGA coupled with non negotiable and holding of multiple shares.
- The embezzlement of fund in some cooperative societies by corrupt officials and in some societies members display high degree of apathetic attitude towards the affairs of their society.
- The prevailing economic depression of the country has adversely affected the poor production and consequently the efficiency and effectiveness of cooperative organisations in Kaduna South LGA. Finally, and considering the above findings and based on the empirical evidence from the data analysis the cooperative business organisation cannot eradicate poverty entirely in Kaduna South LGA.
This study has successfully evaluated the poverty alleviation activities of cooperative societies in Kaduna South LGA, reflecting on the finding observation. The study has equally identified some problems militating against the success and survival of cooperative organisation in Kaduna South LGA.
Based on the empirical data from cooperative societies and result of the data anlaysis, and having established the constraint militating against effective performance of cooperative societies in the activities of poverty alleviation, the following recommendation have been developed:
- The officers of the cooperative societies in Kaduna South LGA should be made up of cooperators who are highly knowledgeable, honest, hardworking and selfless. They should be able to motivate the members and direct activities towards achieving set objectives.
- As a business organisation, cooperative societies in Kaduna South LGA needs proper funding, since they are finding it difficult to get their external sources of fund. Share entrance feeds, make special saving and deposit in the societies. These will go a long way in providing the societies with own funds create a sense of belonging and make borrowing possible.
- The officers should try to keep proper book of account of the societies in order to avoid fraud and misappropriation of funds.
- Persons who join cooperative societies in Kaduna South LGA must be prepared to do work with others to achieve the societies set objectives and must also be prepared to display transparent honesty when dealing with fellow cooperative and societies.
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