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This thesis focuses on one of the recent approaches to eradicating extreme hunger and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), namely the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Millennium Promise and the Earth Institute at Columbia University in the United States. It investigates the beneficiaries’ perceptions of the UNDP and their participation in the Pampaida MVP in Ikara LGA of Kaduna State, Nigeria which is based on the participatory principle. The MVP is a community-led project that seeks its objectives by building the capacity of local peoples for democratic governance, self-reliance and sustainability during and after the period of intervention. Perception, as established by existing literature, is the key to understanding, predicting and managing people’s individual and collective behaviours, especially in such projects that require a synergy that includes the local stakeholders, in order to succeed in the long run. A total of 107 questionnaires were retrieved from the field, and interviews were conducted with three MVP staff members; the information obtained from the questionnaires was analysed and presented in simple frequency tables, while the interview results were summarised and interpreted accordingly. The study was undertaken within the framework of the theory of participatory community development. The findings of the study include the following: first, the beneficiaries have a favourable perception of the UNDP as an organisation on the basis of the Millennium Villages Project in Pampaida. Also, the effective execution of entry point activities (EPAs) or pre-intervention and the actual intervention are factors that influenced this perception. Secondly, it was found that there is a positive relationship between the respondents’ perception and their involvement as beneficiaries-cum-participants in the MVP, which is a participatory project. The MVP pre-intervention functioned as the tool for perception management that set forth the objectives and principles of the project, equipped the people with necessary knowledge and skill, and facilitated the formation of definite expectations among the beneficiaries. This was reinforced by the initial benefits that came with the EPAs and the take off of the MVP intervention. All these gave the motivation to the fully expectant beneficiaries to participate in the MVP intervention in the manner they did initially. Thirdly, there were problems that emerged in the process from among the beneficiaries-cum-participants, underscored by issues and discrepancies with respect to the MVP intervention sectors and the MVP staff, which the beneficiaries-cum-participants perceived and judged to be unexpected, undesirable and negative enough to make them fearful and uncertain about what to expect, to warrant their disagreement with MVP staff, their refusal to participate in some intervention sectors, and/or even their outright opposition to some intervention sectors. The study concludes that perception lies at the bottom of the behaviours of the Pampaida MVP beneficiaries, thereby demonstrating the significance of beneficiaries’ perceptions in determining their behaviours (positive and negative), and therefore brought to the fore, as recommendation, the inestimable need and value of integrating the study of beneficiaries’ perception and the deliberate process of perception management within the structure of participatory projects that are being undertaken by international organisations, the Government, Non-Governmental Organisations, etc.
Part of the reasons for the formation of international organisations is the need to
solve world problems that have severe implications on world peace. There exist several
theories, strategies and approaches for explaining and solving world problems, including
the renowned Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that represent a worldwide
political partnership among the world‟s countries to address problems like extreme
hunger, poverty, gender inequality, maternal and child health, and education, and for
which the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been commissioned to
monitor on the global scene and at country levels. This study focuses on one of the
approaches to meeting the MDGs, the Millennium Villages Project (MVP), which is a
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