PARTICIPATION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN IKOLE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EKITI STATE”.
Background to the Study
Participation is one of the key concepts of community development. The definition of participation in development has often been related to development of projects and programs, it’s a means of strengthening their relevance, quality and sustainability. The World Bank Learning Group on Participation defined participation as a process through which stakeholders influence and share control over development initiatives and the decisions and resources which affect them (World Bank, 2012). From this perspective participation could be seen in the level of consultation or decision making in all phases of a project cycle, from needs assessment, to appraisal, to implementation, to monitoring and evaluation.
Participation could be defined as a voluntary contribution by the people in one or another of the public programmes supposed to contribute to national development, but the people are not expected to take part in shaping the programme or in criticising its contents. (Leyland, 2011)· Participation includes people’s involvement in decision making process, in implementing programmes, their sharing in benefits of development programmes and their involvement in efforts to evaluate such programmes (Cohen and Uphoff, 2015). Participation is a vital component of the self-help process and (community development). In other words, people must be involved in those decisions that affect their lives, thus gaining confidence, self-esteem and knowledge, and developing new skills (Javan, 1998).
Participation could also be regarded as one of the cornerstone for good governance. It helps to enhance accountability, transparency and ensure sustainability of development initiatives. Citizen participation in local decision-making process, promotes accountability as a precondition for good governance. Increased accountability and transparency in making community decisions regarding the collection and use of council finances is of paramount importance to ensure good governance at the community level. Accountability is here defined in terms of citizens being informed by their local leaders about actions taken on their behalf. When citizens are informed it is assumed they will be able to take corrective measures.
Participation is generally taken as a core value in community development. While community development has for a long time been recognized as a beneficial process, the importance of participation within community development has been insufficiently stressed.
However, community development is an approach in development programs that aims to improve the living conditions of people in a particular area. It is also a strategy for reaching and involving village and communities in the process of building their own life, which consequently would contribute to the national progress. It also is a movement linked to local governments to promote better living conditions for the whole community with active participation, and possible initiatives of the community (Frances 2010). Community development is also concerned with the creation of improved social and economic conditions through emphasis on voluntary cooperation and self–help efforts of the communities.
The major emphasis in community development is upon helping communities to change and develop in ways which they themselves desire, and with material aid of which they are willing to make effective use. Success in community development programs demands that the people emotionally identify themselves with these programs. Such identification gives community development the character of a movement providing strength and a sense of purpose to the current of change over a whole country. It is important to note that community development has two basic goals (two basic purposes): first, to improve the quality of life of all members of the community, and second, to involve all members of the community in the process. Furthermore, sustainability and effectiveness of community development depends on the level of people’s participation and concerned agencies. This study assumes that the type of approaches of community development will determine the level of participation of community. It is on this backdrop this study examine the participation and community development in Ikole Local Government Area in Ekiti State.
Statement of the Problem
Despite the long-lived intention by Ikole local government to enhance participation in many parts of the local government, participation is still inadequate. Involvement of people in the development process usually results in lack of ownership and sustainability of development programs. This often causes the communities to lose interest in these programs, which in turn increases dependency on the local government resources. A number of issues need to be addressed to make participation effective among the people.
The problem identified include the poor capacity of people to participate and their preferences in participation, local authorities and people are not capacitated in this effort and majority of these people don’t know the impact of their participation in the development of their community, lack of community members’ skills and knowledge, lack of social capital and trust of local people in their leaders, political, economic problems , community culture and municipality council awareness. This study therefore, aims at evaluating the nexus between participation and community development in Ikole Local Government Area In Ekiti State.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between community participation and community development. The purpose is
- to examine the roles of local community participation in development of the community projects at local level.
- to identify the benefits of participation in community development projects.
- to examine factors influencing participation of citizens in community development projects?
- to examine how citizen and community participation can be facilitated
- To assess the challenges influencing poor participation in developing the community.
The following research questions were raised for this study
- What are the roles of community members in participating in development projects at local level?
- What are the benefits of participation in community development projects.
- What are the factors influencing participation in community development projects?
- How can citizen and community participation be facilitated
- What are the challenges of community participation in developing the community?
Delimitation of the Study
This study is delimited to relationship between participation and community development activities at Ikole local government municipality which are ward 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Significance of the Study
The study would be of great benefit to people of the local government because it will enable people at local level to see the importance of participating in community development.
It would help local authorities and local people representatives to appreciate and involve citizens in decision making on matters concerning their wellbeing. The study would helped the researcher to identify viable areas for further research. Also it would be used as an additional reference to other researchers on participation in community development.
Finally, the study would serve as a guide to researcher who may want to carry out research on similar topic and it would add to existing literatures.
Definition of Terms
The following terms are define as operational use in the study
Participation: This can be refer to the contribution of an individual towards community development
Citizen Participation: This refers to citizen involvement in public decision making. In different interpretations, ‘citizens’ may be either individuals or organized
Community Development: s a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.