A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF WOMEN AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (A CASE STUDY OF AKURE NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, ONDO STATE)
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This study examines the “critical evaluation of women and rural development”, a case study of Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo state. Rural development can be viewed generally as a process by which the efforts of the people concerned are united with those of governmental authorities to improve the standard of living in the rural area. This is enhanced through full participation of the people concerned to develop their rural area. In doing this, the researcher based her study on how to ascertain the women and rural development, to investigate the level of consultation with women and rural development, eight (8) autonomous communities were used in carrying out the research, primary and secondary data were used.On the basis of the findings of the study, it was observed that the majority of women participants who took part in the survey were married. They were in their economically active age with a moderate level of education. The participants were more engaged in farming activities as main occupation. The level of participation in Community and Rural Development Programmes by the respondents was moderate with an average of about 8 stages out of the 19 stages offered. Their involvement in the project was majorly in the area of project identification followed by project selection and need assessment.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The participation of rural women in development process is considered to be largely determined by social, cultural, political and economic factors. These factors have led to inactive participation of women in the development process thereby increasing their vulnerability status especially in the rural communities. Rural women‘s participation in development process has therefore become the focus of many local and international debates in the past two decades. Different fora such as the 1995 Beijing Declaration, the 1995 Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women held in Kenya and the United Nations Development Fund for Women, have recognized the plight of women‘s participation in development especially in the developing countries. According to the Beijing platform for Action, each Member State should work on twelve critical areas of concern which includes power and decision making, poverty, poor health, education and training for women, violence against women, women and armed conflict, women and economy, human rights, media, environment, institutional arrangement for advancement of women and the girl child. Nigeria, as a signatory to the declaration, was able to develop the National Gender Policy in order to promote the prohibition of all forms of discrimination against women in the public and private sphere and institutions. Despite this effort, Nigerian Women are still faced with the problem of marginalization, and worse hit, are the women in the rural communities.
The issue of women participation in agriculture and rural development has had an increasing interest for researchers and donor agencies across the globe because of the role of women in economic development and their marginalization status. According to Kabeer (2012), the terms and conditions of women‘s involvement in the economic sphere are important issues that continue to dominate the debate on gender relations in other words, the new developments led to an increase in the number of women in labour force, but the impact on their quality of life and decision making process is still to be felt. There is overwhelming evidence that of development policies and projects formulated bypassing the involvement of rural women in most African Countries (Hunger Project, 2016). Their voices are less likely to be heard, they have less access to decision –making and less time to participate (World Bank, 2012). The problem of lack of women participation in development process is well documented across literature on participation and gender (Kongolo, 2002 and Kabeer, 2012).
The World Development Report (2013) revealed that approaches that involve the poor (communities) in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects have been successful. Projects which have incorporated gender issues and also make use of human labour were said to have proven effective. The Federal Government of Nigeria, the
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World Bank and other international donor agencies such as the Department for International Development (DFID), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) saw the need for service delivery mechanisms that are demand-driven, covering multiple sectors and depending on the specific community determined needs. This led to policy designs to involve communities in the design, implementation and evaluation of their own development agenda known as the Rural Development (CDD).
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
The rural women in Nigeria and in many developing countries are faced with the responsibility of farm work, housekeeping and earning money to supplement family incomes. The problem of insufficient time to perform all their productive and reproductive roles in a given day affects the women‘s ability to improve their own welfare and that of their families. In order to achieve sustainable development in our rural societies, the extent to which we are able to design development strategies that will respond to the needs of both male and females in the society rests to a large extent, upon what we know about gender related issues such as differential access to resources, division of labour in productive activities as well as access to useful information that will improve their general wellbeing.
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In Nigeria, common socio-cultural practices, lack of or limited access to political, economic and social power further deepen the vulnerability of women in particular, and by multiplier effect, of children and other vulnerable groups. This situation is not different in Anambra State where Rural Development Projects such as the National Fadama Project and the Rural development Project are presently intervening. Despite the Social Inclusion principle of the CDD process, the participation of women in development process especially in the rural areas is still a big issue. This study therefore, sought to determine the participation of rural women in CDD and the contribution of the process to their livelihood. This therefore led the study to raise the following research questions:
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the socio-economic characteristics of women in the study area?
- What is the level of participation of women in the Community and Social Development Project?
- What is the influence of the socio-economic characteristics of women on their level of participation in rural development Project?
- What is the impact of women participation in rural development Project on their Livelihood?
- What are the constraints limiting the participation of women in rural development project?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study was to determining the level of Women participation in Community demand driven development and its contribution to their livelihood in rural areas of Ondo State. The specific objectives were to:
- i) Describe Socio-economic characteristics of the women in the study area;
- ii) Determine the level of women participation in Rural development Project in the study area;
iii) Determine the influence of the socio-economic characteristics of women on their level of participation in Rural development Project;
- iv) Determine the impact of women participation in Community and Social Development Project on their livelihood;
- v) Identify the constraints limiting the participation of women in the Community and Social Development Project
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The research work shall be relevant in various ways, students of public administration will find this research useful, it will also be useful for policy makers in making future policies for the development in rural communities in Ondo state and beyond. Thirdly, the research would also help other rural community to know the importance of women and Rural Development. Futhermore, The research work shall serve as a reference material to other researches wishing to examine the finding of this research work.
1.6 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
In the process of researching this project work, there are some challenges or difficulties which the researcher encountered. They are as follows:
- TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
- FINANCE: There was a great challenge of finance that prevented the researcher from gathering more information that was needed for research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
It is important to give a brief definition of the following terms, in order to know the meaning of the key concept and some words in the research work.
DEVELOPMENT: It can be defined as a change from primitive ways of doing things to advance or mechanize ways of doing things.
RURAL DEVELOPMENT: It can be viewed as a process by which the efforts of the people are united with those of the governmental authorities to improve the standard of living in the rural communities or areas.
RURAL AREAS: we can see rural areas so an area that is background In terms of social amenities and other materials found in urban areas.
WOMEN: It can be defined in my own view as an adult female person or marked women in the society.
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