Community Development in Nigeria: Impact of Women

Community Development in Nigeria: Impact of Women. A Study of Onicha Local Government Area

Introduction 

1.1 Background of the Study

In Nigeria first like other countries of the world, the problem of development rural area had been a serious change. Community development is the process by which the effort of people themselves are united with those of government authorities to improve the economic, social and cultural condition of communities, to integrate these communities into life of the nation, and to enable them to contribute fully to national progress.

In most countries, women one believed to be the backbone of the rural economy. In sub-Saharan Africa, about 80 percent of the economically female labour force is employed in agriculture and women comprise about 47 percent of the total agricultural labour force. Women also provide much of the labour for men’s cultivation of export crops, provide vegetable for urban markets, contribute up paid labour to the household’s labour and also engage in trader to sustain their families together with their husbands. (Ohagwu, 2010).

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Since the developed of the rural areas is usually the government’s single most important concerned activities at every given time. The economic advancement of these rural areas cannot fully take place if women are not into involved. Experts agree that the best and perhaps the only ways to achieve sustainable rural development in Africa is to orientate it forwards people living in the rural areas which women have the greater population (Ndukwe, 2005).

Also, African women own have made energetic efforts to organize, and articulate her concern and make their voices hared. At the both grassroots and national level, more women’s association been formed during the 1960s, taking advantages of the new political opening to assert their leadership roles. They are also pressing for an expansion of women’s economic and social opportunities and the advancement of women rights. By improving their own positions, they are simultaneously strengthening African society as a whole, as well as enhancing the continent’s broader development prospects (Manah, 1998).

Among the majority of the rural and low-income urban develops, women perform almost all domestic tasks, while many also farm and trade. They are responsible for the care of children, the side and elderly, in addition to performing essential social functions within their communities. They seek to mange the environment although their struggle for survival often results in environmental damage from activities such as fuel-wood collection trading and farming among others.

While married, women may still live their kin group or in conjugal domestic units. Women head about 31 percent of households in urban and rural area across Africa often with no working resident males. In many rural area, women contribute  unpaid labour to the household’s agricultural production and spend up to 50 hours a week on domestic labour and subsistence food production; with little sharing of task by spouses or sons in the households (Ohagwu, 2010).

It is based on the above analyses that this study sets to determine the roles of women in community development in Nigeria using Onicha local government area as a study.

1.2 Statement of the Problem                                 

The role of women in community development had been a controversial issue over the year. Nduekwe (2005) stated that with fewer people living in poverty and greater levels of food security can be achieved only through realizing the goal of empowering women. Also, united nation’s report of the year 2000, agreed that promotion of gender equity and the empowerment of women is an effective way of combating poverty, hunger and disease and stimulation of development that will be truly sustainable.

On the other hand, other schools such as Akukwe  (1996) and Azi (1998) maintained that women are weaker creatures whom their activities are only accommodated in domestic activities especially in children bearing, petty trading, fetching of fire woods and water among after domestic functions. These scholars supported that argument that women hardly participate in serious functions such as war, defense and security of their countries. The above actions agreed that women are only good for domestic activities not rural development.

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Ohogwu (2010) stressed that woman in African continent face enormous obstacles. Their growing recognition and contributions has not translated unto significantly improved access to resolves or increased decision making power. Neither has the dynamism that women display in the economic, cultural and social lives of their communities through their associations and informal network which have been channeled into creating new models of participation and leadership.

Beyond such challenges, the material conditions, under which most women give and work, continue to detoriate due to economic and social decline, war and conflict, spread of bad diseases. Women constitute the majority of the poor and the illiterates, women between the age of 15 and 25 years have been have beer pushed into sex work and these exposes them to  bad diseases and infections (Munah, 1998).

All the same, women rarely have the same access to resources as men, in the past; some resources were available to them, especially dependent upon their husband. Also, women’s right, power and sphere of influence, has disappeared into the tin air which upset existing economic political, social and cultural conditions of our country. Today, there are poverty diseases, unemployment, literacy and the like because the greater population which the women folk belong to have been neglected. This is not an ideal circumstance; it calls for attention, hence this research work.

1.3 Objective of the Study:

The major objective of this study is to assess the impact of women in community development in Nigeria using Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi state as a case while the specific objectives of the study are as follow:

  1. To identify the various ways which rural women can participate in community development?
  2. To examines the effectiveness of the strategies employed by women in community development.
  3. To identify the challenges militating against rural women in community development.

1.4 Research Questions

This research work was guided by the following research questions:

  1. What are the various ways which rural women participate in community development?
  2. How effective are the strategies adopted by rural women in community development?
  3. What are the challenges militating against rural women in community development?

 1.5 Research Hypothesis

To carry out this research work, the following hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.

H01 Rural women do not participate in community development

in any way.

HA1 Rural women participate in rural development in many

ways.

Ho2 The strategies adopted by rural women in community

developments are not effective.

HA2 The strategies adopted by rural women in community

developments are effective.  

Ho3 There are no factors militating against the rural women in

community development.

HA3 There are factors militating against women in community

development.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This research work will be beneficial the government, Non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and generation public in many ways:

Government official especially those responsible for women affairs will gain from the submission made in this work, to widen the strategies to enhance women participation in community development via making favorable policies.

Also, Non-governmental organization such as poverty alleviation institutions can gain for the contribution made in this work to encouraging rural women to be actively involved in rural development.

Nevertheless students and scholars in development administration can benefit from this work in their future researches. Also, members of the public will benefit from a good public policy ensilaged by this study.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State only the activities of rural women in community development exercise will be studied from the year 2000 till date.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

The researcher encountered few challenges on the process of carrying out of this research work. Some of these challenges include: inability of the respondents to volunteer relevant information about the research, because of the fear that it may not be treated with confidence. Others include; lack of fund, time, relevant materials, error in statistics, lack of well equip library in the state and dearth of data among others.

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1.9 Definition of Terms

Impact: The force of an idea, invention, system, etc. it can also mean an influence which something has over another.

Community: It means a group of people living a particular geographical location over a stipulated period of time. It is always characterized by human and non human factors.

Development: It is an act or process of increasing or improving something from a lower standard to higher standard. It is a geometrical increase in size and weight of living or non living things. It is an act of improving from an already status.

Community Development: It an action taking by a set of people living in a particular geographical location to improve their standard of living. It action often taken by government to upgrade the standard of living of her citizens.

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

This study investigated and examined “the role of women in community development” questionnaires, interviews and observation methods were used for data collection. The study was restricted to the women from Umuniko Isu community in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi state as a study.

5.1 Summary

It deals with the finding of this study which were deduced form analysis of data in the last chapter. The relationship of these findings to other researcher made on the topic of study were also indicated

5.1.1 Most Women in the Community are Farmers and

       Traders

That most of the women in the community engage in farming and trading simultaneously. These of their community and it corroborates with the findings of the United Nations Food and Agricultural organizations report of 1996, that women in Africa are responsible for 70 percent of food production and 60 percent of agricultural marketing.

5.1.2 Most of the Women Belong to Mutual Aid Society

It was discovered that virtually all the women in the community belong to one mutual-aid society serve as informal rotating credit associations which allow the women to poll their resources the reduce their workload and invest agricultural productions, improving their homes and paying o their children’s school fees.

5.1.3 Most Women Belong to Cooperative Societies

With regard to the finding, most of the women in the community are members of cooperative societies. These cooperative societies have provided women access to resources and opportunity to invest in cooperative ventures like procuring and owing a rice milling machine, cassava processing machine oil palm extraction machine and so on.

5.1.4 Influences from Women through Different Groups

       in the Market

It was discovered that although the market is owned by all but that the women through the different market women groups that exist in the market control the prices of those entire product they deal on. Through these means, they regulate the prices of products in the market and unanimously influence government polices through demonstrations.

5.1.5 There are Factors that Militate Against Women

       Role in Community Development   

It was found out that there are many challenges that have militated against the role women play in community development these challenges which ranges from lack of enough land for faming inadequate credit and inputs, poor education and so an have been major obstacles that have hindered women from using their full potentials and also related their contribution towards community development.

5.2 Conclusion

From the findings of the study, the following conclusions were drawn.

5.2.1 That the women forms Umuniko Isu Community contribute immensely in the development of their community. They provide the backbone of their rural economy by engaging in food production, providing agricultural labour force and marketing of agricultural products. These activities of the women serve as the engine of growth and development in their community.

5.2.2 It is concluded that the women in the community belong to many informal organizations like the mutual aid societies, cooperative societies. The major aim of each of these informal is to assist members by allowing them pool resources to reduce their workload and to invest in savings societies or cooperative ventures. Some of these cooperative societies have provided women acess to resources which they use to supply most fruits, vegetables and food staffs in the market.

5.2.3 It is concluded that the role women play is highly effective in community development and that women are indispensable in community development agriculturally or economically. That is why Dr. Lukas Brader, Director-General for international Institute for Tropical Agriculture asserted that “if Africa is to develop a more productive, sustainable, and equitable agricultural sector, it cannot afford to neglect women”.

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5.2.4 That the women face challenges that militate against their contribution towards community. These challenges include access to land which has it that women rarely own land and when they do their holdings tend to be smaller and less fertile than those of men. Others are excruciating manual labour, lack of credit and other inputs are excruciating manual labour, lack of credit and other inputs lack of access to formal education and training and so on. These challenges have it made it practically impossible for the women to advance their role in community development.

5.2.5 That there are possible solutions to those challenges militating against the role of women in community development. These possible solutions are that women shouls be given access to large area of land for farming credit and other inputs should be made adequately available to women in the rural communities, they should be given adequate educational training and their farming method should in mechanized.

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the data analyzed, findings and conclusion drawn, the researcher made the following recommendations.

5.3.1 Women should be given Educational Training

Food security in Africa cannot be assured without improving the situation of women producers. Women have shown themselves to be ready to take advantage of new opportunities. Evidence form a World Bank study suggests that if women had the same human capital endowments and used the same production factors and inputs as men, the value of their output would increase. Therefore adequate credit and other inputs should be provided form women.

5.3.3 Basic Amenities should be provided in the Rural

       Areas

The government should provide basic amenities like electricity, pip borne water, good access roads and health care centres in the rural area. These will help the women a lot in processing their farm products, market of their products and also give them sound health to carry out their daily activities without hitches.

5.3.4 Cooperative Societies should be encouraged

The government should encourage the various cooperative societies that exist in the rural communities by providing them enough funds to run their activities. This will go a long way in enhancing the role women play in community development.

5.3.5 Women should be granted Access to Land

Due to the role women play in community development they should be granted access to large area for land to start communal gardens form which they generate income, provide food for their family and cater for the welfare of their children.

5.4 Suggestions for Further Studies

  1. A comparison between the role of men and that of women in community development.
  2. A study on the problems militating against the role of women in community development.
  3. An in-depth study of the impact of the role of women in national development.

Impact of Women in Community Development in Nigeria: A Study of Onicha Local Government Area

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