SELF HELP PROGRAMMES AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
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.
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