THE INFLUENCE OF COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS (CBOs) ACTIVITIES ON ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT OF RURAL COMMUNITIES IN NIGERIA
Background of the Study
A number of researchers have highlighted the significance of CBOs and the contribution they make in national social and economic development in general and rural communities in particular. However much literature has not indicated the relationship(s) between particular CBOs activities and their specific influence on the economic empowerment of the community. The need to focus on the influence of particular CBOs activities on economic empowerment calls for further exploration on CBOs activities in rural community.
All CBOs work through people-centered modes of development- people targeted to benefit participants in their own development. CBOs activities are said to positively affect the process of rural change in terms of improved livelihood i.e. increase in income, improvement in health, nutrition and literacy status of the populations. Some of the programs that can ensure changes in the rural communities are: availability of micro-finance for micro-enterprise, health and education, sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, safe water and sanitation.
The importance of community-based organizations (CBOs) has assumed some currency in development circles in Kenya. In the last ten years, partly due to the prevailing socio-economic challenges and increasing donor fatigue, some donor organizations began experimenting working with CBOs. This was due to the perception that they provide a more direct route to their target beneficiaries at the grassroots. At the same time diverse types of CBOs sprang up, and local NGOs began emphasizing working with and through CBOs as part of their core strategy. And government and local authorities forged new working relationships with local organizations and citizen groups, especially in the area of service delivery to the disadvantaged communities. Efforts put to empower CBOs to improve community livelihoods cannot be underrated whatsoever; however, there is a need for further exploration to establish how particular economic activities carried out by CBOs influence economic empowerment of the rural community. This called for this study targeting rural community of Bahati division in Nakuru County. The CBOs that were focused on are: Bahati Bondeni Women Group, Nakuru Elevators and Bahati Revelation Women Group. The development partners included 3 NGOs: African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD), Centre for Applied Research and Community Development (CARCD), and Community and Capacity Development Organization (CCDO).
Statement of problem
The failure of many government development programmes in Nigeria could be traced to poor organizational structure at the grassroots level. The rural people are isolated, under educated and lack the means to win greater access to resources and some basis things of life such as pipe-borne water, electricity, postal services, health care centres, good roads and schools. The fact has been established that the government is constrained in its efforts to provide citizens with the required social and basic amenities for comfortable living (Anyanwu, 1992). Perhaps, this is due to the increasing population, misappropriation of funds, increasing wage bills, poor transportation network among others.
It is the gap arising from poor performance of government and other institutional organization that led to the formation of community based organization as means of improving the socio economic status of their communities. CBOs serve as the apex organization by which community people can embark on small scale industries, vocational trade, agricultural development projects, rural transportation and other socio economic activities (Adejumobi 1991).
It is in view of these facts that CBOs have been established by various people, bodies or groups to complement the effort made by the government. This study therefore is designed to asses the role of community based organization in the development of rural communities in Delta State.
Objectives of the study
The main objective of the study is to examine the role of community based organization in the development of rural communities in Delta State. The specific objectives are to:
Ascertain the characteristics of CBOs in Delta State
Examine the structure of selected CBOs.
Identify the contributions of the organizations to the development of rural communities which they operate.
Identify the constraints encountered by the CBO.
Significance of the study
CBOs play a significant role in community development and these roles need to be clearly understood by the policy makers, government even potential members. This will gradually help in identifying the appropriate support needed by the CBOs in order to improve on community development activities, thereby improving the standard of living in communities and also reducing rural urban drift.
This study will go a long way to understanding the mechanism of CBOs projects with particular reference to the people of Delta State. Recommendations would be made to rural communities, government and non government organization with a view to stimulating community development