THE ROLE OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF RURAL AREAS
(A CASE STUDY OF COMMUNITY SELF-HELP ORGANIZATION IN AWGU LOCAL
Over the years, successive Non-Governmental Organization Agencies in Nigeria have demonstrated appreciable interest towards the provision of amenities to both the rural and urban population of the country. The interest shown by this non-governmental organizational agency could be derived from their genuine intention of uplifting the living standard of the people. There is therefore no gain saying the fact that there have been some noticeable increase in educational institutions, health care centers, road constructions, water supply and so on as they strive to impress the people. Experience has shown that the provision and maintenance of amenities cannot be handled by government alone because it will be too onerous for government to satisfy the needs of all communities, bearing in mind the limitation of time and resource. It is therefore, necessary for the agencies of government to educate the people to appreciate the fact that the transformation of their country for enhancement of their standard of living should be a joint responsibility between the rural areas and the government or it’s agencies. This is why series of reforms and restructuring have been undertaken at local government level, all in an attempt to make it more responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of the people. It is also aimed to evolving an efficient and functional administrative and resources allocation system that will make for rapid growth and modernization of rural areas.
The impact of Non-Governmental Organizational Agencies (NGO’s) in rural development has attracted the attention of some great scholars. Nnoli (1981) refers development as “a natural fact in which the individuals and society interact with their physical, biological and inter human environment transforming them for their own benefit and that of humanity at large”.
Also Aroh (1997) viewed rural development as a process whereby rural dwellers come together to perform various functions in order to give a face lift to their immediate environment or rural area.
Also Obasi, Oko and Nnamdi Erondu (2010) viewed rural development as the improvement of the living standard of the people of low income population risiding in rural areas and making the process of their development self-sustaining. The United Nations children rural (1995) perceive NGO’s as organizations or loose association which are composed of people working together to address a need. They give basic elements of NGO’s.
i) An NGO is primary an intermediate organization that is development oriented.
ii) Non – profit oriented
iii) Non-government in term of organization, membership and funding
iv) A voluntary organization.
In all, Non-Governmental Organization agencies role in rural development is aimed at making people self-reliant, able to participate in national development. It also ensure that both the rural and urban areas the provision of the necessary assistance, like funds, legal and structural framework, and technical and managerial expertise necessary for the programmes (Aroh, 2002).
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The study was carried out in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State in Nigeria. The local government area occupies an area of about 200 square kilometers with an estimated population of 8,000 people (NPC, 1991). The local Government is bounded in the east by Orji Local Government, in South by Udi Local Government, in West by Abia State and in North by Ani-nri Local Government.
In these very local government which is Awgu more than 90% (90 percent) of the inhabitant living in the rural area of the local government area are Igbo’s who are mainly from Enugu while the remaining percentage are people from other parts of the country who must have come to settle in the area for the search of green pastures, such as farming, trading, schooling and business. The local government comprises of different communities like Agbo-Ogwugwu, Mgbidi, Mmaku, Ihe, Ituku, Ozalla, Owerre Court, Mpu etc. The occupation of the people is teaching, farming, trading, civil servants etc. The Awgu co-operative union was formed in 1980 and it is one of the first co-operative formed in that area during that period and it’s aim is to help to improve the living standard of the people by indulging them into contributing money which is likely known as (Isusu), so that any member that is in need of capital can take loan from the cooperative and later pay back without interest. After the 1980 co-operative come another one in (1982) which is called the Umuene co-operative after that came another one in 1986 named Umuanioke co-operative and all this tends towards enhancing the living standard of the rural dwellers and making life easier for them. This union has been noted to be a well recognized union of the development of the rural area and also has help in extending arms to the less privileged in the rural areas. There was a remarkable thing done by these Awgu co-operative union on September (2002) they bought chairs and desks for the whole primary school in Awgu Local Government Area, also in December 2004 the Awgu co-operative donated bags of rice and wrappers to the widows in the rural areas. The Agwu history is something one cannot forget in a haste, the people of Awgu are people of integrity, honesty and responsible, as I was told the Awgu people are known for their hard work, zeal to help one another and have the spirit of oneness and believe in teamwork from the above indication it means that they live a life worthy of emulation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Through the rural dwellers non-governmental organizations have continued to play a significant role in rural development by producing food and agricultural raw materials for export and local consumptions but yet so many rural areas still lack the basic amenities of life such as good roads, postal services and communication e.g. MTN Network, Nitel, Glo, Airtel, Etisalat etc Anyanwu (1981). The unbalance in provision of these basic amenities and infrastructural between the rural and urban areas have occasioned an unprecedented rural urban daft with a depressive effects on the rural economy which the facts has been established in a way whereby the non-governmental organizational agencies is constrained in it’s efforts to provide citizens with all the required social and basic amenities for comfortable living Anyanwu (1992). The truth is that Non-Government Organizations have been established by various community members, who came together to compliment the effort government.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to highlight the role of the Awgu co-operative development union, Awgu local government while specific objectives of the research work are:
a. To ascertain the personal characteristics of each member of the Awgu co-operative development union, Awgu.
b. To ascertain the level of contributions of non-governmental organizations for rural development.
c. To examine the structure of the development union.
d. To identify the constraints encountered by the Awgu co-operative development union in their rural development effort.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of this study is to ascertain the benefit of Ngo’s to the society. It also include the beneficiaries and this means those who benefit from these study and they are:- Teachers, Student, Farmers, Communities/Villagers and society at large.
However, it is important to note immense contribution made by Ngo towards enhancing the standard of living of the people and also reduce the burden of over dependency on Government.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to achieve the objective of this research work the following research questions are designed to adviere that:
i. What are the contributions of non-governmental organizations agencies in rural development in Awgu local government?
ii. To what extent are people at the rural area involved in the development of their area?
iii. In what ways do the people of the community involved in taking the decision for the maintenance of their area?
iv. To what extent are the people of the rural area initiating programmes and projects for the development of the rural areas.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study is the impact of non-governmental organizations in rural development with particular reference to Awgu co-operative union in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State as a yardstick for other state of Nigeria as regards to development of rural areas.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
In carrying out this research work I encountered so many obstacles. There were difficulties in getting the respondents, because most of them have gone to farm and some to market etc.
Some of them were afraid of feeding me with the proper information because to them they are seling out the secret of their community or area. I lacked the financial resources which affected the research negatively.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
In order to give easy comprehension of the entire research, it is required that some terms of importance used should be defined. Such terms are as follows: -
Government: Can be defined as an institution of a state whereby the interest, welfare and need of the citizens are been protected.
Organization: Is defined as a highly rationalized of persons co-operating with one another to announce and achieve a specific goal.
Community: Referred to as a relatively small isolated centre with a stable population in which all economic and social service necessary for life can be realized.
Rural: A part of society that is relatively more natural than artificial.
Development: It involves improvement, progression, enhancement and change in economic, social socio-cultural, infrastructure, political of a state, development is a multidimensional changes in nature and attitudes of one’s life.
Role: It is referred to as the objectives.