EVALUATION OF YOUTHS PARTICIPATION IN SELF-HELP COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN ASABA
1.1 Background of the study
From the earliest time of human history people have enjoyed and shared together the good tidings of nature because of the presence of communities and the social activities performed by the people for the advancement of their community, which is better called Community Development (CD). The notion of community development was first stated publicly in 1948 at the Cambridge Conference on African Administration at which community development was considered as a movement aiming to promote better living for the entire community. For Hill (2011), it signifies a coordinated strategy whereby the community members conduct activities and initiatives in order to ameliorate the living situation of the people live in that community. This according to Johnson (2008) signifies the improvement in the physca1 and material wellness including livelihood of people in the community. Community development consequently, assist individuals to discover and develop their skill and potential in order to meet their issues and needs which they share (Effiong, 2012). (Effiong, 2012).
Community development marks the stage in the life of a community where by members come together to take collective actions in order to generate solutions to their identified problems.Some scholars like Afuye (2015) posit that community development is a structured intervention that gives communities greater control over the conditions that affect their lives. This however, does not solve all the problems faced by a local community, but it does build up confidence to tackle such problems as effectively as any local action can perform. In essence, community development works at the level of local groups and organizations rather than with individuals or families. Implying that community development has to look both ways; not only at how the community is working at the grassroots, but also how responsive key institutions are to the needs of local communities.
In this regard, people collectively make use of available local resources (human and material) at their disposal to improve their standard of living. They may form community based development unions which would enable them participate in community development projects. The spirit of self-help guided the zeal of the people and in no time, roads, for instance, were constructed through virgin forest to link up villages and other neighbouring communities. People also undertook self-help community development projects like building of markets, community halls, road expansion and maintenance, tree planting to check erosion and communal palm fruits harvesting, amongst others (Nzeneri, 2008). Self-help community development projects are those tangible ventures that the inhabitants of the community embark on in order to improve the living condition of the people residing in that particular community. For example money realized from communal palm fruit harvesting is usually used to sponsor the education/scholarship of indigent students in the community as well as foot the bills of other development activities
One of the basic assumptions of community development herein is that community development activities are all inclusive as it provides opportunity for people to learn and grow thus, ensuring that no segment of the populace is exempted, youths inclusive. According to (Rowland, 2011). Definitely, being young is a transitional phase of life which carries with it increased vulnerabilities and delinquencies. If the youths are not adequately harnessed it becomes a problem. Youths therefore, could be effectively mobilized and involved as assets, beneficiaries, partners and youth leaders in community development activities which abound in various communities; instead of displaying their unruly behaviors as militants, terrorists and other restiveness in the community and society today. lnvolvement is the act of participating in the achievement or accomplishment of a particular task. Youths involvement in the context of this study means giving the youths opportunity to effectively participate as facilitators in community development agenda in all the stages because of the effect it will have on their lives now and in future. Through their involvement they will be acquainted with the myriad of problems in their communities and suggest remediation.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Daring, full of vitality and vigor, curious, enterprising, enthusiastic, self-sacrificing, full of ambitions, wonderful initiatives, and hopes are the attributes of youths in general. All of these qualities may be leveraged to help community development programs succeed. According to Banda (2005), there is a strong belief that community leaders’ effective participation in self-help community development projects is desirable in our quest for the qualitative development of our rural communities, particularly in these days of continued government cuts to development funding at all levels. Most communities in underdeveloped nations such as Nigeria are known for starting self-help development initiatives, but the sad reality is that most of these projects are never completed. Consequently, it appears that their efforts are not commensurate with all they have invested as reflected in the rate of some abandoned self-help projects. It seems not possible to even ascertain the areas and level of involvement of all stakeholders in the communities especially the youths who are supposed to fast track development activities in their communities.Although, literature showed that community development officers and experts especially in developing countries, like Nigeria, have frowned at the low involvement of youths in community development. So many reasons have been adduced for such anomaly, which include; that youths seem not to be considered as matured people and as such have been excluded right from decision making process, planning, implementation, supervision and evaluation of community development projects by community development stakeholders (Shaw, P.N. (2007).
The stakeholders in question include all parents, community leaders in the community. In some rare occasion, when the youths willingly participated in community development activities, they seem not to be given a free hand to participate in vital issues like, decision making process, project implementation, supervision and evaluation. Could it be that community leaders and other stakeholders are not convinced that if the youths are effectively involved in their own community development projects, it would to a great extent reduce abandonment of self-help projects, make significant impact on the lives of the people now and in future, as well as help to curb various social ills which has eaten very deep like cankerworms into the fabrics of societies world over. Hence, the essence of this study which focused on examining youths’ involvement in self-help community development projects in Asaba Local Government area of Delta State.
1.3 Objective of the study
The broad objective of this study is to examine youths participation in self-help community development projects in Asaba. Specifically the study seeks to:
1. Ascertain the extent of youth involvement in the planning of self-help community development projects in Nsukka Local Government Area.
2. Find out the ways youths involved in the implementation of self-help community development projects in Nsukka Local Government Area.
3. Ascertain how youths involved in the monitoring and evaluation of the self-help community development projects in Nsukka Local Government Area.
4. Find out the constraints to youths involvement in the execution of self-help community development projects in Nsukka Local Government Area.
1.4 Research Questions
1. What is the extent of youth involvement in the planning of self-help community development projects in Asaba Local Government Area?
2. Find out the ways youths involved in the implementation of self-help community development projects in Asaba Local Government Area?
3. How does youths involved in self-help community development projects in Nsukka Local Government Area?
4. What are the constraints to youths involvement in the execution of self-help community development projects in Asaba Local Government Area?
1.5 Significance of the study
The findings of this study will be useful to community leaders, traditional rulers, and community members including youths, government, donor agencies, future researchers, Local Government Chairmen, in the area of study and beyond.The findings of the study will provide useful information to the Community leaders on the best way to mobilize their youths to actively involve in self-help community development projects.Community members including youths will find the results from this work very useful because, through this means, they will realize that it is also their responsibility to participate in the development of their communities. The study will provide useful information to the government on the present condition of most rural communities and the need for them to partner with these communities to improve the living standard of the people in the community in order to reduce the sufferings that they are passing through, thereby helping in curbing the menace of extreme hunger, underdevelopment and other societal vices. Finally, the study would contribute empirically to the body of existing literature and it would serve as a reference source to students or other researchers who might want to carry out their research on the similar topic.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study borders on the evaluation of youths involvement in self-help community development projects in Asaba Local Government Area of Delta State. It will also cover the extent of youths involvement in the planning of self-help community development projects in the area; the ways youths were involved in the implementation of self-help community development projects in the area the constraints to youth involvement in self-help community development projects in Asaba Local Government Area of Delta State.
1.7 Limitation of the study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing to the nature of the discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. More so, the choice of the sample size was limited as few respondent were selected to answer the research instrument hence cannot be generalize to other secondary schools outside the State. However, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.
1.8 Definition of terms
Community Development: Community development is a process where community members are supported by agencies to identify and take collective action on issues which are important to them. Community development empowers community members and creates stronger and more connected communities
Youth Participation: Youth participation is the active engagement of young people throughout their own communities. It is often used as a shorthand for youth participation in any many forms, including decision-making, sports, schools and any activity where young people are not historically engaged
Afuye, H. O. (2005). Community Development in West Africa. Nigeria: Ibadan Publishing Press.
Banda, K. (2005). Community Activeness Among Youths: The Tanzanian Experience. Katongo Yukwua Publishing Press. Tanzania.
Effiong, J. B. (2012). Evidence from Yakurr L.G.A, Cross River State. International Journal Of Social Science Tommorrow, 1(6).
Hills, M. (2011). What is Community Development. Retrieved September 8, 2015, from http:www.comdeu.come/authlfan.htm
Johnson, K. (2012). Dimensions of Community Development Projects in Guinea. Africana Fep Publishers.
Nzeneri, I.S. (2008). Handbook on Adult Education. Principles and Practices. Uyo: Abigab Associates Limited.
Shaw, P.N. (2007). Mobilization as an Effective Strategy in Community Development Projects. Indian Journal of Community Development. 3, 50-61.