The study will place emphasis on the community development efforts of women in the economic development in Nigeria.
Community development involves some kind of co-operative actions by every member of a particular community to improve the well being or welfare of town members, Battern, R.T.R. (1957, p.8) in recent times, there has been noticeable change in people’s community development as the great provider. There is now remarkable awareness that the people can now develop their community through their own efforts and with their own resources, since the states or local government, government to which people look upon her help could not attract enough revenue from the federal government to come to their rescue.
It is against this background that people organized themselves into groups for self-help activities in communities most of these condition of their members and the community in general. Many areas they focus their attentions include the construction and building of rural road, schools, health centers, village halls, clinics, market, garri processing machines, oil processing machines and so on.
In Ethiope East for instance with a particular reference to Eku where most of these infrastruture are not available, women as vehicles for community development have now found themselves providing some of these amenities through their various groups. It is based on this that the research sought to identify the extent those women groups have gone in their development activities since their men are chiming to be at the forefront of every development activities.
But if the recent development in the affairs and attitude of women towards economics development are anything to go by them, I can be in a better positions to appreciate the roles played by the recent past. First ladies of this nation of Nigeria for example. Think of the development initiatives and activities carried out by Mrs. Maryam Babangida under the better life for rural women programmes. Recall the activities of Mrs. Maryam Abacha under FEAP.
In the international forum, mention must be made of reputable women like Imelda Marcus of the Philippines, Margate Ihatcher of Britain Winnie Mandela of South Africa and recently modline Albright to mention but a few.
Women natural are tender hearted, no wonder their roles in the family are indispensable, those roles are variously carried are into their immediate environment, hence they (women) are able to identify easily those economic areas where their activities greatly affects and enhance the lives of many. It is expect therefore that these work will contribute its quota to the eradication of this nation that the place of the women is in the kitchen, they deserve mush more positive recognition then that as shall be revealed by this work.
Community development has been a universal concept applied to national programmes for development. The concept and practice of community development has never been a new phenomenon in Nigeria specifically or in the world generally. This was reflected in Battern’s statement “I must make one preliminary point enthusiasts for community development sometime speak or write about it (community development) as if it was to irritate the very many people who feel that community development is not new, but that its principles were infact applied by a multitude of individual government offices and other to such a term as community development”.
This is true, and every real sense, community development as we recognize it today is base on and had been an indigenous mechanism and techniques employed by many rural communities in solving their problems. Onwuamalem (1981:23) state that the history of community development in Nigeria is traceable to the days of eastern Nigeria as shown by the fact that mutual co-operation existed among families and groups. He further revealed that it received some encouragement from Chadwick, an Administrative officer in the former Eastern Nigeria who activated communities in Udi in Enugu State to build school, roads, churches, markets etc. During this time, the people were short in a film captioned “Day Break in Udi”. This film was shown around in every village and town of the Eastern Region of Nigeria, which yielded positive results in that almost every community embarked on one form at self-help project or the other. It was on this basis that community development was said to have been practiced first in Udi through West Africa Professor Jim Lots (1974:84-85) noted that if nothing else has come out at community development projects since the second world war the realization that traditional societies have self-help mechanisms that exist before the concept of community development was discovered by the western world should not be apparent.
For many decades, people have gathered themselves together to construct town halls, palaces market squares, roads and other infrastructure facilities in their community so as to make life sweet and enjoyable. What is being said is that the concept of community development as self-help activities has been with us since time immemorial.
In Eku today noteworthy developments were brought about through self-help the general hospitals, pos office, market schools both primary and secondary, etc are all outcome of the community’s efforts.
Community development can be seen as planned and organized efforts of people to help themselves to acquire the attitude, skills and concepts required for their democratic participation in the effective solution of a wide range of community development problems continuing, the United Nations implicitly defined community development thus “the process by which the efforts of the people themselves are united with or without those of government to improve the economic social and cultural condition of communities to integrate those community into the life of national and to enable them to contribute fully to national progress” one element that runs all the above definitions is the people’s initiatives to find lasting solutions to their individual and common problems, relying on their own resources as much as possible and assistance from outside the community if any, as I said earlier, Eku town has not been left out of the wheel of community development. Based on this the women of Eku have contributed much to the development of Eku in town of social and economic ventures, lie building of oil processing hills, market stalls, town halls etc.
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