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An Assessment of the Strategies for Sustaining Self Help Group Projects in Paikoro Area Niger State, Nigeria

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  Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development www.iiste.org ISSN 2222-17 ! aper# ISSN 2222-2$%% !&nline# 'ol.%( No.1)( 21* 2* An Assessment of the Strategies for Sustaining Self Help Group Projects in Paikoro Area Niger State, Nigeria Danladi( +. , Department of eograp/ 0madu ello niversit/ 3aria-Nigeria E-mail4 l/diadanladi5gmail.com 0DE6I+0( J. &.  ! 8D# Senior +ecturer !9orresponding 0utor# Department of eograp/ 0madu ello niversit/ 3aria-Nigeria E-mail4 olufila%:5gmail.com Abstract Self-elp groups !S8s# ave been seriousl/ viewed in recent times as one of te potent instruments for socio-economic development in rural communities aving reali;ed tat governments cannot provide all te necessities of life for te teeming population in te countr/. It is in tis regard tat rural people evolved tis strateg/ as a means to overcome deprivation and neglect. <e stud/ aimed at assessing various pro=ects e>ecuted b/ self elp groups in ai?oro local government area of Niger State( Nigeria. <is stud/ used field surve/( and focus group discussion. It adopted a s/stematic sampling to select @% self elp groups and purposive sampling tecniAue to select * group leaders to ma?e 1* samples on te one and( @1) samples were generated among te members of te communities troug cluster sampling witin te neigbouroods to select ?e/ informants in wards were self-elp group pro=ects ave been e>ecuted. <e stud/ adopted descriptive statistics suc as mean( freAuenc/( averages and percentages to anal/se te data. <e stud/ identified 1% self-elp groups witin five districts ai?o aving @7!@%.2B# as te igest and Isau as te lowest wit 1@!12.@B#. ro=ects include roads( clinic(  boreoles( electrification( s?ill acAuisition centres( scools( and communit/ toilets. Cit resource mobili;ation( some %2!@7.2B# are donated b/ members( @*!2*.@B# from sta?eolders( @$!27.1# troug launcing of funds( and 1@!:.@B# from various levies. egarding sustainabilit/ of group pro=ects( ma=orit/ 11$!$*.@B# opined tat involvement of communit/ members would elp to maintain te pro=ects and some :!).*# admitted tat  provision of adeAuate securit/ was necessar/. It is recommended tat active communit/ participation in self elp  pro=ects sould be encouraged since te people treat suc pro=ects as teir own. 0lso( distributive =ustice sould  be paramount to location of pro=ects suc tat tere sould be no discrimination eiter b/ tribe( religion or  political affiliation. oreover( government sould give grants and tecnical assistance to communities tat embar? upon laudable self-elp pro=ects. Keywords 4 District Self 8elp roup ro=ect Sustenance ! ntroduction <e notion of self-elp groups !S8# as been seriousl/ viewed as a means of developing local communities in view of te incapacitation of te government to provide all te necessities of life for te increasing population. adoli/a !2$# remar?ed tat self elp group is an instrument for economic empowerment. It is essentiall/ a small voluntar/ association of poor people( preferabl/ from te same socio-economic bac?ground tat comes togeter for te purpose of solving teir common problems troug self-elp. alar !2:# viewed it as small groups of people facing similar problems( elping eac oter to solve teir problems wit a reasonable level of education but elping local persons b/ ta?ing te lead in mobili;ing tem. aul !211# described S8s as groups of rural poor comprising of marginali;ed farmers( landless agricultural labourers( rural artisans( women fol? and oter micro-entrepreneurs wo organi;e temselves for socio-economic development b/ raising initial capital supplemented in some cases b/ funds from non-governmental organi;ations !N&s# as seed mone/ for issuing small emergenc/ loans eiter for consumption( production purposes( or lin?ing up wit ban?s usuall/ wit te elp of N&s. +awal !2# viewed S8s as farmers and entrepreneurs wo voluntaril/ organi;ed temselves and wo utili;ed teir own resources to underta?e social and economic activities in order to address teir common needs.   <e understanding tat government does not ave te resources to provide for all teir needs is te driving force towards tis move wic as been successful and as led to te growt of suc communities !0li( 2)F 0/uba( 2)F aul( 211#. <erefore( S8s e>ist for development purpose( particularl/ in te rural areas not onl/ in Nigeria but also in te developing countries. <ere are socio-economic benefits attaced to suc groups in tat te/ enable rural people to accumulate savings and access credit wic ban?s are increasingl/ willing to lend !Cilson( 22#. oreover( it as been discovered tat suc groups troug teir activities assist in boosting liAuidit/ positions of te ban?s( wic are participating in te programme troug mobili;ation. Self elp groups ave made a lasting impact on te lives of people particularl/ in te rural areas and as improved te Aualit/ of lives of man/ and tere is an increase in teir consumption e>penditure !+awal !2#. esides( it as  Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development www.iiste.org ISSN 2222-17 ! aper# ISSN 2222-2$%% !&nline# 'ol.%( No.1)( 21* 2%  been observed tat te self-elp groups ave created better understanding between te members of different religious groups as te members belong to different religions !aon?ar( 2*#. 6urter still( !Gatibi and Indira( 211# observed tat S8s toda/ pla/ed a vital role in povert/ alleviation troug empowerment. ost communities in Nigeria including ai?oro local government area( Niger State ave awa?ened to see? wa/s to satisf/ teir own needs b/ embar?ing upon self elp pro=ects. #! $ecent Studies in Self%Help &e'elopment  Nigeria is one of te developing countries tat involved in communit/ development troug self-elp groups !S8s#. <e Auest for better life as led man see?ing for wa/s to satisf/ is needs in te societ/. <e National Development lan !Nigeria( 1:7%-1:$# stated tat until recentl/( communit/ development activities fell e>clusivel/ witin te purview of te local autorities. ut te state governments ave ta?en active interest in tese activities in te reali;ation tat communit/ development provides a practical means of grass-root  participation in te development process. 0ri/o !1::1# asserted tat rural development as been placed on top of te agenda in NigeriaHs national development drive. <e upsurge of interest in rural development can be attributed to a number of events wic ad teir srcin in te colonial eritage and te unanticipated oil boom of te seventies. It sows tat te government is willing to bac? up communit/ development in Nigeria. <e period between 1:7@ and 27 mar?ed a watersed in rural development efforts in Nigeria. It witnessed deliberate government efforts at mobili;ing te people for rural development. 0 number of tas? forces and bodies were set up to oversee( organi;e and to direct partnersip wit te people on self-elp activities and it includes4 Directorate of 6ood( oads and ural infrastructure !D6I#( ural Electrification ScemesF 9redit Scemes to small olders troug various speciali;ed institutions suc as eoples an?( 0gricultural and 9ooperative Development an?( 9ommunit/ icro-finance an?s( 6amil/ Economic 0dvancement rogramme !6E0 # and National overt/ Eradication rogramme !N0 E #. 0?pomuvie( !21# remar?ed tat te various state governments ad also articulated blueprints on rural development b/ adopting te integrated rural development strateg/ as a strategic option to carr/ development to te people at te grassroot. E?ong !2@# viewed communit/ participation as ta?ing part in communit/ meetings and decision ma?ing for te planning and implementations of programs( and ma?ing financial contributions towards communit/ development pro=ects. <ango !2:# remar?ed tat ever/ communit/ as a traditional structure to ensure te participation of inabitants in pro=ects and programmes tat ave positive effects on te life of te ma=orit/. <e pro=ects are identified( planned( e>ecuted and managed b/ te communit/ temselves outlive tose imposed b/ a benefactor wit little or no communit/ participation. 6urtermore( some development programmes often include participator/ measures in pro=ect design. 0n e>ample of successful communit/ participation is in communit/ pro=ects in India wic were selected based on communit/ priorities and implemented wit significant local contributions of labour( materials and sometimes capital. <is effort strengtens( empowers te members and ensures te maintenance of pro=ects. eid !2# igligted tree forms of participation. 6irst( te beneficiar/ sould be involved in te  planning and implementation of e>ternall/ initiated pro=ects. Second( te e>ternal elp tat will strengtens or creates local organi;ations but witout reference to a particular pro=ect. <ird( te e>istence of spontaneous activities of local organi;ations tat as not gained assistance from outside assistance. eid !2# identified some strategies tat can be used to bring communit/ members into a pro=ect and in a meaningful wa/ so tat te/ will continue to be involved in it. 6or instance( saring pro=ect cost tat entails participants to raise funds or labour in te process of pro=ect implementation. 0lso( beneficiar/ can old consultation during pro=ect planning and management of pro=ect implementation and operation. oreover( te strateg/ can ta?e te form of building  beneficiar/ capacit/4 eiter troug ensuring tat participants are activel/ involved in pro=ect planning and implementation or troug formal or informal training and consciousness-raising activities. 8arrison !2# noted tat communit/ participation is an important component of communit/ development and reflects a bottom-up approac to problem solving and tat troug citi;en participation( a  broad cross-section of te communit/ is encouraged to identif/ and articulate teir own goals( design teir own metods of cange( and pool teir resources in te problem-solving process. <e involvement of appropriate sta?eolders in development pro=ects is important as well as planning( and implementation of public programmes tat can impact positivel/ on te life of rural communities. It is troug participation of te local people in decision ma?ing and implementation activities( te/ elp pro=ect officials identif/ needs( strategies to meet tose needs( and necessar/ resources reAuired to implement te various strategies. oreover( information dissemination is critical in tat te promoter sould provide sufficient relevant information about te pro=ect suc as te benefits of te pro=ects( te costs of implementation( te potential for financing and implementation( and possible ris? involved in suc pro=ects. <ere sould be a two-wa/ flow of information between te  promoters and te public.   Idode !2*# observed tat te scope of operation of self elp groups sould include te building of  Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development www.iiste.org ISSN 2222-17 ! aper# ISSN 2222-2$%% !&nline# 'ol.%( No.1)( 21* 2) scools and mar?et stalls. ro=ects suc as pipe-borne water( road construction( dispensaries( cottage and ospitals were usuall/ e>empted. 6urtermore( eAuipment used were simple tools suc as oes( cutlasses( diggers and sovels. <e construction of buildings did not follow an/ standard measurements as te people used teir imagination to plan and construct suc pro=ects. 0t tis stage( tere was little or no government involvement as te planning and e>ecution of tese self-elp pro=ects was te sole responsibilit/ of te people. 0?pomuvie !21# noted tat were te government was involved at all( was for te purposes of ta?ing over completed pro=ects for operation or maintenance. ut were neiter te state government nor te local government councils were interested in suc pro=ect( te missionaries used to ta?e carge. &gundipe !2@# ad remar?ed tat te idea of co-operation towards communit/ development is a ver/ common and age long penomenon. overnment in developing nations are aware of tis but gave attention to it later tan e>pected. 0vailable data revealed tat : of te 12 States in Nigeria in 1:7) e>pended N2( %71(2): on communit/ development programmes in te second national development plan. 0noter : States allocated  N1)( ):1( on similar pro=ects during te tird national development plan. In 2( &/o State government alone devoted N1)( 1)2( for communit/ development programmes. 0vailable data from So?oto State revealed tat between 1::1 and 1::)( te government designed $ programmes for communit/ development activities and increased budgetar/ allocation for suc from N*%(  in 1::1 to N2.% million in 1::). 0lso( te federal government designed different programmes tat focused on rural and communit/ development in te past few decades wic include &peration 6eed te Nation !1:7$#( 9ommunit/ an?s !1::#( and etter +ife for ural Comen !1::1#. <e 6ederal overnment e>pended a total sum of *).*$) million on communit/ development witin 1::K2. &ut of tis( mone/ e>pended to construct multi-purpose centers in various communities all over te countr/ ad te largest sare of @.): million. <e federal allocation to communit/ development was as low as 2( in 1::( but rose to 2@. million in 2 !&gundipe( 2@#. <is implies tat government recogni;ed te significance of rural development troug communal efforts. (! )ethodology 3.1 Reconnaissance Survey 0 reconnaissance surve/ was carried out in te stud/ area. <e idea of te visit was to familiari;e wit te activities of te self elp groups. 0lso( discussions were eld wit individuals in te groups suc as te leaders and communit/ members. Self-elp pro=ects suc as roads( culverts( scools( ospitals( mar?ets( dispensaries( cinema viewing centres( grave/ards( mosAue( farms( poultr/( and orpanage omes were seen on ground. 3.2 Data Selection <e t/pes of data tat are reAuired to acieve te set ob=ectives are4-   i.   Socio-economic caracteristics of te respondents e.g. gender( age-group( marital status( educational level( occupation ii.   </pes of self elp group pro=ects e>ecuted( were te/ are located( and teir goals and present condition !functionalit/# iii.   esources used( teir sources and ow te/ were mobili;ed iv.   ro=ect management st/les for operation( maintenance( repairs( sourcing of operational and maintenance fund v.   Strategies for te continued survival of te pro=ects 3.3 Sources of Data <e primar/ sources were Auestionnaire surve/( in-dept oral interviews( focus group discussion( and field observation. <e Auestionnaire surve/ was in two parts. <e first part concerned te leaders of te self-elp groups and te following issues were addressed4 !a# main duties of te groups( !b# ow te/ supervise pro=ects( !c# number of pro=ects te/ ave andled( !d# ow te/ mobili;e group members( !e# sources of finance( !f# teir strategies to improve te performance of te self elp groups and sustain te pro=ects. <e second part of te Auestionnaire surve/ assessed te opinion of te communit/4 !a# teir contributions to te pro=ect and !b# sougt to determine teir assessment of te effectiveness of te pro=ect in developing te area. <e secondar/ sources consulted were official ga;ettes from te local government( boo?s( =ournals( conference papers( maga;ines( newspapers( tesis( documents and materials from websites.  3.4 Sample Size and Sampling Techniques ai?oro +ocal overnment 0rea consists of five districts( namel/( ai?o( Gaffin-?oro( Gwa?uti( 0dunu( and Isau. 0 reconnaissance surve/ revealed tat tere are 1% self-elp groups !S8s# in te stud/ area. 0 multi-stage sampling procedure was adopted in order to select te respondents for te Auestionnaire surve/. 6irst( a s/stematic sampling tecniAue was used were te selection of ever/ tird S8 from te provisional list of te total S8 was done. <is amounted to @% S8s. <is sample was distributed proportionatel/ among te districts. In te second stage( four ?e/ e>ecutive leaders of eac group( namel/( te resident( Secretar/( 6inancial secretar/ and te <reasurer were purposivel/ selected to collect information on ow te pro=ects e>ecuted( sources of funds( management and maintenance and te sustainabilit/ of te self-elp group pro=ects  Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development www.iiste.org ISSN 2222-17 ! aper# ISSN 2222-2$%% !&nline# 'ol.%( No.1)( 21* 27 can onl/ be gotten from te self-elp group leaders .<is /ielded a total of 1* leaders of te @% S8s sampled for Auestionnaire surve/. 6or te second set of respondents( tat is( te members of te communit/( te Grei=cie and organs !1:7# tecniAue was adopted. <is metod stated tat a population si;e of between 7%( and :::(::: will be adeAuatel/ represented b/ a sample of @$2. <erefore( for te population of te districts wic is 1$$(2@ a total of @$2 respondents were selected for te Auestionnaire surve/ but @1) samples were available for te stud/. 0 cluster sampling metod was used to select ?e/ informants. <is involved identif/ing neigboroods were S8  pro=ects ave been e>ecuted and selecting ?e/ informants witin eac neigborood for Auestionnaire administration. <e number of ?e/ informants selected for interview in te neigborood varied according to te number of different pro=ects alread/ e>ecuted in eac area. 3. !ethods of Data nalysis <e data collected were anal/;ed b/ coding and entering te data from te completed Auestionnaire into computer. Descriptive statistical tecniAues of te statistical pac?age for social sciences !S SS# computer  programme were ten used to summari;e all data collected using te mean( percentages( freAuencies and tables. *! $esults and &iscussion 4.1 Socio#economic $haracteristics of the Respondents <able 1 presents te traits of te respondents in te stud/ area. It sows tat !%%.1B# members of te communit/ were males and onl/ !@$.:B# were females wit onl/ !).B# no response. <e low percentage of females migt  be attributed to te fact tat men are more sensitive to developmental issues tan women and so were read/ to  provide information needed( toug te ?e/ informants were te target( in wic most of tem are male. egarding te leaders it sows tat !)7.1B# participated in te stud/ were males and onl/ !@2.1B# were females wit onl/ !.7B# no response. <is indicates tat a large proportion of te leadersip of te self-elp groups are more of males tan females wo appened to be te leaders of eac group. It is obvious tat men are more concerned and involved in te development of teir communit/ tan te women. <oug te peoples culture also affects te womens participation in pro=ect e>ecution as in connection wit teir religion( women are mostl/ indoors e>cept wen situation necessitates tem to come out. <e age distribution of respondents varied. <able 1 sows tat wile !:.%B# of te communit/ members were below te age of 2 /ears( over !7%.B# of tem were 2-2: !%*.7B # /ears. Some of te respondents were witin age-group of @-@: !2.)B#. &nl/ !1%.2B# respondents were over * /ears. <is means tat te ?e/ informants are of /oung and mature adults wo sould be familiar wit self-elp pro=ects in te stud/ area.   <e self-elp group officials sampled also varies in age. a=orit/ of te leaders sampled are witin te /oung and mature adult age categories. <is implies tat te/ are energetic and active individuals. &n marital status( tere are fewer people wo ave never married amongst te S8 leaders sampled !1%.7B# tan amongst te communit/ members in general !1$.B#. 6ewer married people are to be found among te sampled communit/ members in general !)@.:B# tan among te S8 leaders sampled !$.7B#. 0lso( tere are more divorced persons among te communit/ members sampled !7.B# tan among te S8 leaders sampled !1.*B#.  No widow among te S8 leaders sampled( but !1.1B# among te communit/ members sampled. <e general  picture ere is tat people marr/ ver/ earl/ in te stud/ area. <is ma/ not be unconnected wit te fact tat farming is teir main wor? and te/ ardl/ furter teir scool education( wic could lead to dela/ed marriage. <able 1 presented level of education of te respondents and about !@:.:B# attended secondar/ scool and !2*.1B# possessed primar/ education. <is anal/sis elps to e>plain te low level of education of most of te respondents in te communit/. It is observed tat te general level of education of te people as profound influence on teir perception of self-elp group activities in te stud/ area. egarding occupation of te members of te communit/( ma=orit/ !)%.2B# of te respondents are farmers wic e>plain te ig number of respondents tat ad onl/ primar/ education and secondar/ onl/. 0bout !@.7B# are civil servants wile some !*.1B# are traders. 0lso( It sows tat about !**.@B# of te leaders are farmers wic e>plain te ig number of respondents tat ad onl/ primar/ education and secondar/ onl/. 0bout !27.:B# are civil servants wile !2).*B# wo appened to traders.
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