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Anyanwu, (1992), difference or lack of cooperation of communities with projects owing to inappropriate communication techniques or consultations have been known to lead to colossal wastes of scarce human and material resources.
The rural sector is central to Nigeria’s development. According to Thwala (2010), the sector has close to 80 percent of the country’s population who are engaged mainly in primary production activities. Nearly half of the country’s labour force is employed there and they generate one-third of its GDP which accounts for about five percent of its total exports. According to Imoh, Isaac & Nwachukwu (2009), the main reason for programme failure was the non-inclusion of programme or project benefiting communities in the entire programme planning and execution.
The peculiar socio-cultural setting in Nigeria cities and rural communities especially calls for an appropriateness of participation by the beneficiaries. Paternalistic approaches to community development projects in fact do bring about situations where people’s needs are satisfied without allowing them any freedom or responsibility (Anzorena. 1980: Elegalam, 1980: Skinner. 1983). As a national policy, community participation is, as it is being currently conceptualized, a new approach to rural development and implies total involvement of the people in the matters that concern them.
It is against the background that this discussion attempts to examine community participation in rural development and the emphasis is on the forms and reasons for the people’s participation in the rural development programmes.
However, in more recent time development agencies have come to realize the importance of such participation in various forms involving communication, consultation, implementation and evaluation of projects.
Participation and other related concepts like sustainability and empowerment are at the center of development discourse (Blackman, 2003) and it may be argued that participation is as old as democracy itself. The most Nigerian citizens especially at the rural people are most deprived and neglected in that they have least access to essential services such as health, education, housing and other services. In essence, infrastructural and institutional arrangements are deficient at the local level where most people who need them live. This therefore means that citizens are not carried along in the decisions on sustainable development.
Access to quality services informs the achievement of the millennium development goals (MDGs) and preserving the fundamental human rights. There is clear evidence to show that citizens of many developing countries especially the poor are still facing negative consequences of weak development outcomes World Bank, (2003; 2004).
However, in Nigeria implementation of sustainable development projects has been impeded as observed by the top down approach in which the people were not involved in project conception, planning and monitoring which often led to failure and abandonment of many valuable projects. Of recent, infrastructural approach to
Development remains a vital instrument to reach and assist poor communities in the developing countries UN, (2005). Development interventions in the past have tended to focus on resource and knowledge transfer to beneficiary communities through the stale centre-down approach FAO (1991); Creighton, (2005)). Having realized the weakness of this approach, it has paved way for the adoption of the ‘bottom-up’ approach to development. Since the 1970’s, there have been deliberate government efforts towards mobilizing the people for sustainable development. The integrated rural development, river basin development authorities, community development and institutional strategies constitute integral parts of concerted efforts geared towards socioeconomic transformation at the grass-roots.
However, inspite of the clamour for ‘bottom-up’ approach to national development, project beneficiaries are still being deprived of participating in the identification, planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of projects that are meant to improve their welfare (Blackman, 2003; Akpomunje, 2010)). Even when an element of ‘participation’ is built into projects, it is often largely in terms of local investment of labour and not necessarily participating in decision-making. Beneficiary communities are only informed after plans have been made and this is done through formal meetings where the officers justify their plans but modification is not considered APO, (2002); Thwala, (2010).
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
According to a research by Dr. Kalu Peters, (2009); citizens of Awka Local Government are often not aware of what developmental projects the government carrying out for their good hence they do not know what to do towards its accomplishments. Various world developmental agencies like the World Bank, the United Nations, The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organizatio (Unesco) all has called for involvement of citizens who are the actual beneficiaries of this developmental efforts to go about it by involving entirely those who are meant to benefit from it but in Nigeria it has not ever being so as government officials and agencies who are in direct control of this projects or are liaisons see it as an opportunity to immerse wealth and favor their people.
This participation agitation has always advocated that it’s not just identifying areas for development alone but it is also pertinent to involve the people in identifying the areas of needs and how to effectively and efficiently implement and sustain these projects. Communities for whom these projects are made are also often not aware of the developmental projects planned for them by the government or non-governmental agencies, how to benefit from them or what is expected of them to see to the fruition of this projects hence they consciously or unconsciously sabotage the very projects for which or with which the government and agencies which to use and meet up with the worlds requirements on developments around the world. The communities are supposed to through Town hall meetings, August meetings, call for memos, engaging community leaders and traditional be mobilized to participate in rural development projects though unfortunately this is not the case.
It is also note worthy that the rural dwellers may not know what community development projects are and how it can affect them talk more of what they are expected to do to see to its success especially when it involves the government. To sustain rural development projects, the community members of such benefiting rural areas must be directly involved in the formulation, implementation and post project processes.
This study therefore seek to find out the ways through which the community members of Awka North Local Government Area will be involved in the sustainable rural projects mapped out for their development by the Nigerian government.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The specific objective of this study is on how to bring about sustainable rural developmental projects in Awka North L.G.A, others are;
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions for this study are as follows:
For the purpose of this study, the following hypothesis will be tested.
H0: Community members of Awka North do not participate in projects aimed at their development.
H1: Community members of Awka North participate in projects aimed at their development.
H0: Non involvement of community rural dwellers in developmental efforts does not truncate its sustainability and implementation.
HI: Non involvement of community rural dwellers in developmental efforts truncates its sustainability and implementation.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be beneficial to policy makers in identifying the need to make policies that will encourage citizenship participation in rural developmental projects in Nigeria in order to ensure its sustainability. It will also open the eye of community dwellers in this rural areas to know that they have a right to determine what projects be carried out for them, how it should be done and to what extent it is fully implemented. The government would also use this project in making her policies and in the execution of her policies especially towards ensuring it gets to the grass roots. Developmental agencies and world bodies will also benefit immensely from this research work.
Students and scholars will also most importantly always consult this work for future academic purposes.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is focused on finding out how community members of Awka North L.G.A.participle in rural developmental projects in their area are being carried out and how this participation can ensure its sustainability.
In the course of this research, there was the problem of time sufficiency as the time for the study was grossly inadequate. The researcher has to use the time allowed for lectures for research.
The choice of the right state for this research was also not an easy one as the researcher had to consider accessibility to information needed for the research.
Epileptic power supply and shortage of fund was also a problem to the researcher.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Community Participation: This bothers on how to involve the native or naturalized member of a state or other political community or a local in issues or matters concerning or related to them. It is how they can share in the activities of their group to which they belong or get engaged in it.
Sustainable development: Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report which defines it thus; “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
RURAL DEVELOPMENT: This involves those projects or programs that are established for the purposes of developing such areas as categorized as rural settlements in a country so as to make it habitable and sufficient with all necessary facilities for human survival and existence in this modern times.