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, building 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 the plans, with a maximum reliance upon community resources and effort. Self-help approach involve 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 lack 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 them areas with less provision of such facilities. The inadequate provision of infrastructuring facilities and social services service 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 ensure 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. To achieve this aim the following objective are stated.
i. To identity the types and numbers of rural infrastructure in the study area.
ii. To investigate the types and numbers of infrastructural projects undertaken by self-help approach.
iii. To examine the various means through which the citizen participate in the projects.
iv. To investigate the factors influencing participation level of people in rural infrastructural development.
v. 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.
i. What are the numbers of rural infrastructure in the study area.
ii. What are the types and numbers of infrastructural project undertaken by the self-help approach.
iii. What are the various means through which the participant of the study area applies.
iv. What are the major factors militating against effective participation level of the people in rural infrastructural development in the study area.
v. 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 show a way that it will slow- 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 the self – help approach.
1.6 FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESIS
The following hypothesis will guide in research findings. The following hypothesis are stated below:
Ho: There is no significance difference between the number of rural infrastructure developed by the Government and self-help approaches.
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) polities wards and a total of 208 villages. Emphasis is placed on rural infrastructural facilities such as schools, boreholes, health centers, markets, roads, electricity etc. 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 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 of 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 conception frame work and literature review which chapter three deals with the study area with regard to location, historical background, culture of the people, physical setting, 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.
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