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Assessment of the level of community participation in rural development projects in Iho Dimeze, Ikeduru L.G.A of Imo State, Nigeria

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ABSTRACT

Community participation has been identified as effective driver of rural development in emerging economies. The main assumption is that community effort can help to improve the quality of life of the people and also provide opportunities for socio-economic activities. The study aims at assessing the level of community participation in rural development projects in Iho Dimeze in Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State.

Data used for the study were gotten from questionnaire , interviews, and perusal of published and unpublished materials. The data were analyzed using Chi-square and presented with charts, percentages and tables. Three hundred and forty one (341) respondents were sampled and the result showed that the level of community participation in rural development projects in Iho Dimeze is not high. This is as a result of poverty in the community, disunity in the community, lack of management expertise, embezzlement of project funds and Government insensitivity to the community problems. The research therefore recommended the followings:

The creation of jobs to capitalize the people; the appointment of credible men and women to take care of community projects; work for unity in the community to allow transparent leadership. It is also recommended all the people should be involved in the planning and execution of projects through the bottom up approach to encourage the continuation of age long self help tradition in the area.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background of the study

Since independence in 1960, rural development has been declared a priority by the successive Nigerian governments, be it civil or military (Egbe, 2014). In this regards, several organizations, institutions and agencies have been setup to undertake and monitor the development processes.

Chambers (1982) asserts that rural development is a strategy that enables a specific group of people who may be underprivileged in rural areas to gain for themselves more of what they need. By implication, this assertion most times leads to participation of the rural dwellers. Rural development at this point could be referred to as the process of improving the economic wellbeing and quality of life of a people domiciled in sparsely populated and comparatively remote areas in any given society. The focus of rural development is directed at finding ways to improve the lives of the rural population which is geared towards participation.

According to (Emeh et al, 2014), the philosophy of people’s participation in rural development in Nigeria is increasingly gaining acceptance as an importance instrument for mobilizing resources and organizing the rural populace to have cogent interest in providing for their wellbeing. The idea of self-help is one of the several distinguishing feature of rural development theory, practice and ideology, which holds that people can, will and should collaborate to solve community problems. In community development practice, it is rudimentary that the solution to community problems starts first with the community and its resources and capabilities.

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Historically, efforts at developing rural areas have been pursued since the colonial times. The concern has been to transform the mostly agrarian society in order to reach a common set of capabilities and needs of the people. Policies aimed at the improvement of the rural areas and pursued by various governments (Federal, State and Local) have been put in place and pursued particularly since 1960s.

Nigerian rural communities have ever before the advent of colonization indulged in various forms of community self-help schemes such as construction of village moats, shrines, village squares, market and a host of other activities (Ering, 2012) and (Ebong, 1991). In other words, development activities have been part of Nigeria’s cultural heritage in the 1960s, the federal and regional government were preoccupied with the establishment of farm settlement schemes. This policy thus gave rise to the various farm plantations across Rivers state and other states of the federation. The prime objective of these development policies was to prevent the exodus of youths from villages to the urban areas. (Ering et al, 2014).

Other efforts/ policies made towards rural development are the Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), the establishment of River Basins and rural development authorities in 1978. The 1980 Green Revolution, 1985 Directorate for Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), 1986 Better Life for Rural Women, 1999 Poverty Alleviation Programmes etc.

It is however important to note that community participation can provide different benefits, for beneficiaries of a project, the communities, organization and to the professionals. On the other hand, the success of community development programmes has been found to be extensively influenced by people’s ownership and participation. It is against this backdrop that this research assesses the level of community involvement on rural development projects.

1.2     Statement of the Research Problem

Community participation is one of the key ingredients of an empowered community. It is the heart that pumps the community’s life blood (Lucky, 2016).

In a broader sense, appropriate public participation is a key towards sustainable development. It is learned that community participation efficiency and effectiveness might be compromised by the difficulties faced by the community when it comes to understanding the technical reports and the complex planning issues (Jenkins, 1993). According to Brainwell and Sharman (1999), effective participation is difficult to achieve if the people are not equally represented within or as part of the whole group of stakeholder.

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However, prevailing social factors such as education, income, membership of social organization and diversity of language spoken influence the thinking and the attitude of the people towards effective participation. Also, due to differing social backgrounds, people naturally react differently to community development programmes (Lucky, 2016). The above background motivated the researcher toward ascertaining the level of community participation in rural development projects in Iho Dimeze.

1.3     Aim and Objectives of the study

1.3.1  Aim of the study

The aim of the study is to access the level of community participation in rural development rural projects in Iho Dimeze.

 1.3.2  Objectives of the study

  • To ascertain the community’s willingness to participate in rural development projects.
  • To ascertain the most effective existing mechanisms for community participation in rural development projects.
  • To ascertain the stage at which the people are allowed to participate in the development projects.
  • To know the rating of community participation in rural development projects in Iho Dimeze.
  • To know the maintenance level of rural development projects in the study area.

1.4     Research questions

The following research questions guided the study

  1. How willing is the community to participate in rural development projects?
  2. What is the most effective existing mechanisms for community participation in rural development projects?
  3. What stage is the community involved in rural development projects?
  4. What is the rating of community participation in rural development projects?
  5. What is the level of maintenance of rural development projects in Iho Dimeze?

1.5     Research Hypothesis

H0 = Project maintenance is independent of community participation.

H1 = Project maintenance is dependent on community participation.

1.6     Scope of the Study

The thematic scope of the study focused on the level at which the people participate or get involved in execution of rural development projects in their community, while the geographic scope of the study is some villages in Iho Dimeze in Ikeduru Local Government Area in Imo State.

1.7     Presentation of the study area

Iho-Dimeze is one of the 24 autonomous communities in Ikeduru local government of Imo State in Eastern Nigeria. Iho-Dimeze autonomous community is made up of nineteen villages; namely: Umuishi, Ishiafor Okpuala, Amukamara, Umuakpim, Ndiokwu, Obi-Umuori, Umunomo, Umuejike, Akpaka, Umuechem, Nowere, Umushioke, Ezekwenjo, Umudim, Amaokwe Okpala, Umudimoche, Amueje, Umuezeala and Umuagwu.

1.7.1  Location

The community is bordered by Akabo, Uzoagba, Ngugo and Atta in Ikeduru L.G.A while bordered by Ogwa and Mbieri in Mbaitoli L.G.A. Iho has coordinate values of 5034’ 0”N and 70 6’ 0’’E.

 1.7.2  Climate

The raining season begins in April and lasts until October, with annual rainfall ranging from 1,500mm to 2,200mm (60 to 80 inches). It has an average annual temperature above 200c (68.00F) and an annual relative humidity of 75%, with humidity reaching 90% in the raining seasons.

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The dry season experiences two months of harmattan from late December to late February. The hottest months are between January and March.

1.7.3  Topography

The topography of the study area is even. It is generally a low land and shallow area characterized by low gentle sloping land.

1.7.4  Population

According to the Ikeduru local government authority, the population of Iho is approximately 20,000. The place is however dominated by the indigenes and actual owners of the land.

1.7.5  Economy

The people of Iho Dimeze are predominantly farmers, traders and teachers. The community is the headquarters of the Ikeduru local government area. Iho holds a large deposit of hydrocarbons, yet to be tapped.

1.7.6  Facilities

Iho Dimeze has one of the most prominent markets in Ikeduru and Mbaitoli called “Eke Ije Dibia” populary known as “Eke Iho”. The Ikeduru general hospital is situated in iho, along the Owerri-Okigwe express road. The Holy trinity church, Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, holiness evangelistic church and others are among the worship centres found in Iho community. Iho has one secondary school, the Iho comprehensive secondary school and four elementary schools. It also has a civic center which serves the community on public functions. It was built by Women development in the community (Aladinma Women). Notably also, is the Ikeduru stadium located in the community and the police post.

1.8     Significance of study

This research is aimed at ascertaining the level of community involvement in rural development projects. The findings from this study will enable the government at both state and local levels to formulate policies and programmes that will encourage effective community participation at all stages of rural development projects that are aimed at improving the lives of the rural dwellers. The knowledge would also enable the rural dwellers to understand the need to show interest in participating. The frontiers of knowledge would also be advanced to the benefit of other researchers.

1.9     Limitations of the study

The time frame for the study, the study area coverage, limited sample size, wrong interpretation of the questionnaire items by the respondents and the low return rate of the administered questionnaire are the limitations of the study.


Pages:  45

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF         

Chapters: 1-5                                 

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.

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