BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Rural development from a general point of view is the process of improving the quality of life and economic wellbeing of people living in relatively isolated and sparsely populated areas (Moseley, 2003) which are also known as rural areas.
However, despite strategies put in place in form of projects provided for rural people, many do not benefit because of their non-involvement in the project planning process and implementation hence, the emphasis on community participation in rural development project.
Rural development is more realistic when people participate in the process of
Infrastructure provision because at the heart of rural development projects are infrastructures and for the overall goals and objectives to be met, the principle for effective community participation must be adapted (Idachaba and Bankole, 2006).
Community participation as a development approach for rural socioeconomic
Development is an alternative to the top –down approach which has failed to yield the desired result because rural dwellers who are target beneficiaries were not carried along initially (Bankole, 2007). The term has been conceptualized in different ways in the literature as either public, people or citizen participation, however they all have the same focus, which is rural development (Oakley, 1991 and Afolayan, 2008). Participation is all about inclusiveness, social justice and common good which shows that rural development is community based when people in communities determine their needs and aspiration. This is because
it is realized that by so doing large numbers of marginalized rural people can be reached effectively by the government and other types of developmental projects supported by international agencies like Food and Agricultural Organization and World Health Organization (WHO and FAO, 1991).
The improvement in living standard of people through popular participation is thus central to the concept of rural development (Adedayo, Taiwo and Medupin, 1991). Therefore, community participation serves as pivot for whatever successful process rural development is trying to achieve in rural communities.
Rural infrastructures are indeed the pivot of rural development because they increase rural productivity and income, improve rural living conditions and facilitate spatial integration of rural settlements into national development landscape (Bankole, 2006). Rural development is achieved through tangible projects and resource distribution.
Improving rural development projects is one of the greatest challenges facing many rural dwellers at present. Although Obubra local government council have already
Executed and still have some on-going projects as strategies for rural development, the pattern and level of community participation in such projects are yet to be appreciable. Nhlakanipho (2010) also opined that the rural poor have not really participated in sharing the benefits from the enormous development efforts of the last three decades in proportion to their needs.
Unless the rural communities are given opportunities to participate in rural development interventions designed to improve their condition of living, the level of spatial inequalities among regions will tend to increase. It therefore becomes of research interest to analyse the processes involved in provision of rural projects in Obubra 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.
STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
Socio cultural activities and 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.
Rural development projects have been embarked upon by many communities based on self –help informed by the realization that no government can meet all the needs of all the rural communities (Adedayo, 2000). Nonetheless, the government should make provision of these projects because the fact remains that there can be no meaningful rural development without the effective harnessing of the potentialities of the rural communities. Besides, numerous government policy directives at ensuring availability and accessibility of these services to all administrative units in the country have seemingly not yielded expected results in the study area.
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 Obubra local government area.
Based on this research work, the following research questions are posed: -
i. What types of socio –economic development projects are embarked upon by the communities in the Obubra local government area rural dwellers?
ii. What is the contribution of the community to rural projects in the Obubra local government area rural dwellers?
iii. What is the level of community participation in rural projects?
iv. How are the rural community projects maintained in the Obubra local government area rural dwellers?
v. What are the constraints to community participation in rural socio-economic development projects?
STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS
A hypothesis is a tentative statement linking two or more variable in a correlation to establish a relationship that, further subjection to test will confirm such relationship as either positive or negative. The following are the two hypotheses that are to be tested.
Ho: There is no significant relationship between community development project participation and projects planning process and implementation in the Obubra local government area
Hi: There is significant relationship between community development project participation and projects planning process and implementation in the Obubra local government area
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 Obubra 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.
The findings of this study will also complement other existing studies by contributing immensely to the literature on the socio cultural activities of rural dwellers and implementation of community development projects. Lastly, this study will provide reference resources for intending student researchers in this area.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is on the socio cultural activities of rural dwellers and implementation of community development projects in Obubra Local Government Area. This study is limited to rural dwellers of the said Obubra local government.
Despite the limited scope of this study certain constraints were encountered during the research of this project. Some of the constraints experienced by the researcher were given below:
i. TIME: This was a major constraint on the researcher during the period of the work. Considering the limited time given for this study, there was not much time to give this research the needed attention.
ii. FINANCE: Owing to the financial difficulty prevalent in the country and it’s resultant prices of commodities, transportation fares, research materials etc. The researcher did not find it easy meeting all his financial obligations.
iii. INFORMATION CONSTRAINTS: Nigerian researchers have never had it easy when it comes to obtaining necessary information relevant to their area of study from respondents. The people in all these local area are finding it difficult to express their opinion in English about their community development projects. The primary information was collected through face-to-face interview getting the published materials on this topic meant going from one library to other which was not easy.
Although these problems placed limitations on the study, but it did not prevent the researcher from carrying out a detailed and comprehensive research work on the subject matter.
This work is organized in five chapters and appendices as follows:
CHAPTER ONE: In this section the introduction to the work is made and the whole idea of this study presentation, like objective of the study, the researcher question and the formulated hypothesis, statement of the research, area of coverage, limitation and definition of terms all this makes up the chapter one.
CHAPTER TWO: This section deals with the review of study, review of concept, theories upon which this work is built on as its theoretical framework, the empirical study for this work and some potential issues in the study.
CHAPTER THREE: This section talks about the research methodology, the calculation for the research population and the research presentation format, also the test for the reliability for source of data is tested.
CHAPTER FOUR: In this chapter the study is presented and all the analysis to it, is made, also, discussion and findings to the current study is drawn and a summary to the analysis.
CHAPTER FIVE: These chapter summaries the whole work done and make possible recommendation and suggest other points to be included into the work for future propose.
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