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Over the years, Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo state has been experiencing a slow rate of development in the area. Based on this therefore, this work was designed to investigate the socio-economic and cultural factors militating against rural development in Ideato North Local Government Area. The study adopted a descriptive survey design with both quantitative and qualitative approaches to data collection. The sample size of the study was 15 CBO official and 82 household heads. Data analysis applied both descriptive and inferential statistics. SPSS was used to run frequency distributions. Chi-square test was employed in preparation of hypothesis testing to generate significant test results. Qualitative information was summarized into briefs followed by description of the responses. These, together with the quantitative analysis were integrated into one main report. Findings of the study revealed that: CBO committee officials 15(100%) involved community members on projects’ action plans at the initial stages of project development implementation of community development action plans was significant at 5% level of significance. Majority 45(56.25%) of household heads were not aware of the existence of Government legislation that guides the implementation of community development action plans. Majority of household heads 47(58.75%) disagreed with the statement that Government legislation facilitate the implementation of community development action plans. Findings of the study further revealed that Government legislation influenced the implementation of community development action plans to a large extent 21(63.64%). Based on   the findings, the study recommends that: CBO committee officials to step up the level of participation of community members on implementation of community development action plans. A multi-prolonged sensitization campaigns meant to empower community members educationally and financially to be initiated at grass root levels through household heads, village heads and CBO committee officials. Government legislation that guides the implementation of community development action plans to be clearly spelt out to community members.  



1.1 Background of the Study

Challenges of development have been heavy on the government hence the emergence of other development partners and players. These players have supplemented the work of the government and even reached areas that the government has not reached after many years since independence. Some of the development partners include NGOs, FBOs and community based organizations. According to the UNDP program document for Nigeria, there is a 10% per cent fall in the number of people living below the poverty line in the last 10 years due to interventions and community programmes by development agencies. Inter-ethnic and cross regional inequalities remain deep with the arid and semi-arid areas of North and North Eastern provinces and the densely populated regions of Nyanza, Western and Coast provinces being the poorest ( Amin , 2005). The interventions by these development agencies have included the use of targeted interventions that are sector specific e.g. water and sanitation or income generation; while others have focused on holistic approaches that have attempted to integrate sectors, as a way of addressing development challenges. 

The role of development agencies has a long history globally and mostly in the third world countries where development agencies through sustainable development have supported communities to address some of their social, economic and political needs. UNDP has a mandate under the UN to work with countries to address national development challenges. Through supporting the Government and non-governmental actors on implementation and developing national capacity, The United Nations through UNDP contributes to its goal of building and sharing solutions to national needs and furthering the effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, to promote growth and reduce poverty (Arasian, 2000). 

In the United States in the 1960s, the term "community development" began to complement and generally replace the idea of urban renewal, which typically focused on physical development projects often at the expense of working-class communities. In the late 1960s, philanthropies such as the Ford Foundation and government officials such as Senator Robert F. Kennedy took an interest in local nonprofit organizations—a pioneer was the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in Brooklyn—that attempted to apply business and management skills to the social mission of uplifting low-income residents and their neighborhoods. Eventually such groups became known as "Community Development Corporations" or CDCs. Federal laws beginning with the 1974 Housing and Community Development Act provided a way for state and municipal governments to channel funds to CDCs and other nonprofit organizations. National organizations such as the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (founded in 1978 and now known as Neighbor Works America), the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (founded in 1980 and known as LISC), and the Enterprise Foundation (founded in 1981) have built extensive networks of affiliated local nonprofit organizations to which they help provide financing for countless physical and social development programs in urban and rural communities. The CDCs and similar organizations have been credited with starting the process that stabilized and revived seemingly hopeless inner city areas such as the South Bronx in New York City ( Blakers, 1989).

In Russia, Community-driven development (CDD) gives control of decisions and resources to community groups. CDD treats poor people as assets and partners in the development process, building on their institutions and resources. Support to CDD usually includes strengthening and financing inclusive community groups, facilitating community access to information, and promoting an enabling environment through policy and institutional reform. Experience demonstrates that by directly relying on poor people to drive development activities, CDD has the potential to make poverty reduction efforts more responsive to demands, more inclusive, more sustainable, and more cost-effective than traditional centrally led results at the grassroots level and complementing market economy and government-run programs. With these powerful attributes, CDD can play an important role in strategies to reduce poverty (Bolman and Deal, 1991). 

In Egypt, Community-driven development (CDD) recognizes that poor people are prime actors in the development process, not targets of externally designed poverty reduction efforts. In CDD, control of decisions and resources rests with community groups, who may often work in partnership with demand-responsive support organizations and service providers, including elected local governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and central government agencies. Experience has shown that, given clear rules of the game, access to information, and appropriate support, poor men and women can effectively organize to provide goods and services that meet their immediate priorities. Not only do poor communities have greater capacity than generally recognized, they also have the most to gain from making good use of resources targeted at poverty reduction (Alkire et al., 2001). According to the World Bank’s Voices of the Poor, based on interviews with 60,000 poor people in 60 countries, poor people demand a development process driven by their communities. They want NGOs and governments to be accountable to them (Narayan and Petesch, 2002). CDD.s potential is increasingly recognized. Individual studies have shown that CDD can increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of projects or programs, making them more pro-poor and responsive to local priorities. Other interventions for liberating the poor include; developing capacity, building social and human capital, facilitating community and individual empowerment, deepening democracy, improving governance, and strengthening human rights (Campbell and Fainstein, 2003).

In Ghana, in the last decade Community–Driven Development (CDD) programs have been embraced as an effective Programme–Based Approach (PBA) to delivering International Development Aid. The World Bank defines CDD as ‘a development approach that gives control over planning decisions and investment resources to community groups and local governments’ (Dongier et al., 2003). Because CDD provides communities with a voice and control over all project stages, it is believed to:  Enhance sustainability; Improve efficiency and effectiveness;   Allow poverty reduction efforts to be taken to scale; Make development more inclusive; Empower poor people, build social capital, and strengthen governance; and Complement market and public sector activities (Dongier et al., 2003). Owing to its many advantages, the World Bank’s investment in CDD 2000-2010 has been enormous, averaging almost USD 2 billion a year. For example, an Independent Evaluation Group review of sixty–two country assistance strategies found that CDD operations are an important part of the World Bank’s strategy in more than 74% of relevant countries (Binswanger et al., 2010).          

In Nigeria, Community-driven development (CDD) is increasingly seen as a nexus between bottom-up and top-down approaches to improved governance and service provision. The International Development Association (IDA) initially adopted the CDD approach as a mechanism for improved service delivery in key public sectors. But building on the principles of participatory governance and country-based aid that are hallmarks of its support, IDA has used CDD also to foster social accountability that supports decentralization of services. By the start of this decade, CDD had become an IDA priority for empowering poor communities and building greater accountability. CDD was also a reaction to the failures of earlier approaches targeted for poverty reduction, such as integrated development programs for a geographical area, and lending to agricultural credit institutions. Such failure was also widespread outside the World Bank, and encouraged a general move towards greater decentralization—a move away from reliance on central government as the main service provider—and participation. The World Bank responded by adopting and further developing a wide range of innovations. Eventually these included: A strong emphasis on participation in projects within specific sectors, i.e. around certain services like water supply or nutrition; Support to decentralization programs and local government, typically around a territorial jurisdiction with some autonomy; Community support through, for example, ‘social funds’ that operate across sectors, and CDD programs that depend on social groups that, traditionally or voluntarily, make collective decisions. 

The three approaches all emphasize many of the same principles: Empowerment of the poor and other marginalized groups; Responsiveness to beneficiary demand; Autonomy of local institutions; Enhancement of local capacities. With respect to capacity, it had indeed become clear by the late 1990s that community development needed to be embedded in those institutions capable of local-level coordination, training, facilitation and technical support. Each of the three approaches has generated a body of theory and practice. There is consensus, however, on the benefits of linking them together. Such a cooperative approach promises to improve coordination, synergy, efficiency, and responsiveness in local development processes. Through its support to community-driven programs, IDA finances services such as water supply and sanitation, housing, and schools that are tailored to community needs and likely to be maintained and sustainable. By emphasizing transparency and accountability in local decision making, CDD initiatives have contributed to more empowered citizenry, more responsive government (particularly local government), improved delivery of public goods and services, and more sustainable community assets. In post-conflict countries, in particular, the approach has helped deepen peace-keeping by fostering attitudes of trust and tolerance in the process of rebuilding communities (Conyers, 1982).

In South Africa, Community-driven development (CDD) gives control of decisions and resources to community groups. CDD treats poor people as assets and partners in the development process, building on their institutions and resources. Support to CDD usually includes; strengthening and financing inclusive community groups; facilitating community access to information and promoting an enabling environment through policy and institutional reform. Experience demonstrates that by directly relying on poor people to drive development activities, CDD has the potential to make poverty reduction efforts more demand responsive, more inclusive, more sustainable, and more cost effective than traditional centrally led programs. CDD fills a critical gap in poverty reduction efforts, achieving immediate and lasting results at the grassroots level and complementing market economy and government-run programs. With these powerful attributes, CDD can play an important role in strategies to reduce poverty.    

In Nigeria, the UNDP country programme is modeled on five strategic thematic areas of governance; poverty reduction and achievement of MDGs; peace building and conflict prevention, disaster risk reduction and energy and environment as aligned in the Country Programme Action Plan CPAP (2009 – 2013).  Apart from UNDP there are other international development agencies including International NGOs. One of the known development partner that have worked in Nigeria for a long time is Plan International which has worked in areas of community development and mostly in the areas of child protection, health, education and livelihood programs. Plan is an international humanitarian child centered community development organization, without religious, political or government affiliation.  Plan started its operations in Nigeria in 1982 and is committed to protecting and promoting child rights, and to improving the lives and futures of poor children, their families and communities through a child centered community development approach.  Plan international Nigeria works through eight programme units in Nigeria and Imo state is a host to one of the programme Units.

1.2. Statement of the Problem

Project implementation plans have been used for many years as monitoring and evaluation tools. The aim of developing plans is to help in ensuring that the project implementation is on course as planned and also to ensure that planned activities are implemented during the implementation period of the intervention. As monitoring tools, action and detailed implementation plans should help implementers to be on track with project activities and ensure that all the scheduled activities are implemented to achieve the desired project goals and objectives. This has not been the case in most community development initiatives as projects end up not achieving the desired objectives outlined during the planning phase of the project or intervention. 

The action plans developed during inception of development programmes have most of the time remained on paper as implementation goes on without a guided implementation schedule. Some people have blamed this on monitoring but this study will try and highlight the various factors that make the detailed implementation plans to lose meaning once the implementation begins. This study therefore explore factors which have hindered the implementation of action plans in helping community development organizations achieve their goals of sustainable community development thereby impacting positively on local livelihoods. Engaging local people in planning has been the routine of most development organizations working with communities particularly in the rural areas. However, most projects collapse or become moribund and little has been done to find-out their inherent problems despite having developed very elaborate action and implementation plans. This is a common phenomenon in most development organizations and initiatives. It has thus become necessary to examine various reasons why most community development projects have not achieved the desired results despite having very elaborate and exhaustive implementation plans. This is the focal point upon which this study has been anchored

1.3 Purpose of the Study

This study purposed to examine socio economic and cultural factors militating against community development.  A case study of Plan International in Ideato North LGA, Imo state.

1.4. Research Objectives 

The study was guided by the following Objectives:

1.                  To establish the extent to which community participation influence the implementation of community development 

2.                  To examine how community socio-economic factors influence the implementation of community development

3.                  To determine the level at which sensitization of community influence the implementation of community development 

4.                  To examine how Government legislation influence the implementation of community development. 

1.5. Research Questions

The study sought to answer the following Research Questions:

1.                  To what extent does community participation influence the implementation of community development

2.                  How do community socio-economic factors influence the implementation of community development

3.                  How does community sensitization by community development organizations influence the implementation of community development 

4.                  How   does   Government legislation     on      community    development           influence implementation of community development

1.6 Research Hypotheses

The study was guided by the following research hypotheses:

1.6.1 Hypothesis one 

Null: Community Participation have no significant influence on the implementation of community development projects action Plans.

1.6.2 Hypothesis two 

 Null: Community Socio economic factors have no significant influence on the implementation of community development 

1.6.3 Hypothesis three 

Null: The level of community sensitization has no significant influence on the implementation of community development

1.7. Significance of the Study

It was hoped that the study would highlight the reasons for non- adherence to planned actions in community projects and the underlying issues that influence such factors within local communities. It was hoped that the outcome of the study would inform future planning trends and strategies with development organizations and local communities, in terms of formulating effective techniques and methods for coming up with realistic plans of interventions that respond to the felt needs of the local people. It was hoped that critical gaps in community development would also be identified in the process and solutions proposed on some possible descriptions of how to address the identified gaps. 

It was also hoped that the Nigerian government would borrow from this study to deliberately draw a policy framework to encourage participatory community development planning. This would be imperative in contributing to sustainable community development and assured achievement of community development goals. Finally, it was hoped that the study would also contribute to the body of knowledge of community development planning, project monitoring and evaluation. It offered suggestions for improvement of participatory monitoring and evaluation of community projects and gave additional recommendations on the areas of analysis for further academic research.   

1.8 Scope of the study

The study was carried out on socio economic and cultural factors militating against community development. The study is however, limited to Ideato L.G.A, Imo state.

1.9 Limitations of the Study

Certain respondents were not willing to give information due to beliefs associated with disclosing benefits they had received from supporting NGOs. The study overcame this by not asking for direct benefits or figures but enquiring whether there were results benefits they had received from the community development projects based on successful implementation of action plans and how action plans had contributed to the implementation of these community development projects. 

1.10 Organization of the Study

The study was organized into five chapters; chapter one basically gave the introduction and describe the background of the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, basic assumptions of the study, limitations of the study, delimitations of the study, definition of significant terms as used in the study and organization of the study. Chapter two provided a review of literature related to the study thematically as per the research objectives, the theoretical frame work, the conceptual framework as well as the summary of literature reviewed. Chapter three will focused on the research methodology discussed under the following sub-headings; research design, target population, sample size, sample selection, research instrument, pilot testing of instrument, validity of research instrument, reliability of research instrument, data collection procedures, data analysis techniques and ethical issues in research. Chapter four consisted of data analysis, presentation, interpretation and discussions while chapter five contained summary of findings, conclusions and recommendations.   

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