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This research work intends to bring to the limelight, the positive and negative factors that affect or limit the role of women while embarking on ventures in Umuagwu, Ejemekwuru of Oguta local government area in the Imo State of Nigeria. The motivation behind the choice of this topic is the recognition of the fact that the role of women towards community development has become a catalyst in the fast pace of development witnessed in so many nations of the world just the role of Nigerian Immigration Service in socio-economic development. A sample size of 120 respondents was drawn from the four villages that make up Umuagwu, Ejemekwuru. All of these respondents responded to the study.
However, the major research instrument employed in this research study was the interview method which was designed to cover all aspects of the study. The result of this study brings to the fore, the fact that women in Umuagwu, Ejemekwuru play a very colossal role in the community development task of Umuagwu, Ejemekwuru. It also reviewed that they encounter some problems while trying to achieve these roles.
Based on the foregoing, the researcher, therefore, recommended that the government at various levels, financial institutions and other relevant agencies should learn to give a maximum support to the community development projects of women in Umuagwu, Ejemekwuru.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Over the years, the government has been making several attempts to meet the inelastic needs of communities with their limited resources, but this has not been efficacious. Hence, community development according to Eze. C (1999: 126) is one of the alternative vehicles for the positive transformation of societies. Mere (1982:304) also emphasized that community development is an instrument of social betterment and upliftment of communities.
Also, the United Nations in 1956 gave a definition of community development which is now accepted worldwide. According to them, it is a “process by which the efforts of the people are united with those of governmental authorities to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions of communities, to integrate these communities into the life of the nation and enable them to contribute fully to the national progress” (Khindula, 1971).
Considering this viewpoint, there is a need for assistance from other bodies to supplement the effort of the government to encourage better life pattern for members of the society. It is based on this that women organize themselves into groups for help activities in towns and village.
Women are involved in all the stages of community development process beginning from the identification of felt needs, down to execution and evaluation of projects. They carry out enlightenment programs for government policies in tracking their members, the value of family child care and home economics. Most importantly, they assist extension workers to penetrate into the womenfolk of the community.
Through group efforts, women have tried to introduce the understanding of changes taking place in the society at large and how to cope with the challenges brought about by such changes. They promote religious belief, the care of motherless and abandoned children, the care of destitute, promotion of modern home management, encouragement of education at nursery and primary school level, day care centres, etc. these women could be co-operative, self help groups, welfare groups, church groups, collective and exchange work groups which are geared towards the economic, Social and political development.
The wisdom and determinant quality deposited in the women of Umuagwu community has gone a long way in the development project. Just like any other community. Women group in Umuagwu has contributed immensely towards the development of their community. These women embark upon many physical projects like the building of shops and walling of the market, building of maternity, renting of canopies, etc. In fact, the important role they play in the social and economic development of Umuagwu and the society at large, cannot be overemphasized.
As mothers of the home, they play critical roles in education and socialization of the children in teaching new trends of home management, maintenance of the body, environmental cleanliness and as well contributing to the physical development of the society. In any form their services are required; they are always willing to do so.
No limit should be placed on what they can collectively constitute to community development because women constitute a powerful social class. However, the attempt by women to come together and work in such groupings has been hindered by several factors. Often times, the role of women in community development in Nigeria is perceived as secondary and most times, very inferior to that of men.
In our society, the factors militating against the role of women in community development has caused a lot of economic, social and political setbacks. At times, the principal obstacle to the role of women in community development in Nigeria are not intentional, they are as a result of unexamined assumptions about women’s cares, interest, unquestioned over a time.
Meanwhile, this study aims at investigating factors that delays and inhibits the role of women in community development in Umuagwu in order to provide solutions to the problems.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The Limited role of women in community development has created a very big problem in our society. These problems have attracted the attention of various governments, writers and every one concerned in enhancing development in Nigeria.
Three decades ago have witnessed hundreds of seminars, conferences and workshops tailored towards the promotion of the role of women in community development in Nigeria. The common practice today has been to mobilize scholars and professionals to present papers that identify the purposes and as well as proffer solutions to the innumerable problems hindering the role of women at all levels without actually investigating those factors.
However, it has recently been recognized that the real gains from such efforts have not been achieved. This is why Olowole (1998) wrote that why most poverty alleviation projects and programs have failed is that the operators are hardly conversant with the thinking and aspirations of Nigerian women. Johnson (1995) also emphasized that no nation can develop by neglecting her women. Women are Nigeria’s greatest asset for stability, economic prosperity, development and unity.
Also, Okere (2008) recognized that the high participation of women in national decision making is one of the indices of development. Thus, the factors hindering the role of women in community development in Nigeria will be investigated and the solution will be proposed.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The core objective of this research work is to examine the role of women in community development in Nigeria with a particular attention on Umuagwu in Ejemekwuru.
However, other specific objectives of this study include:
1. To increase awareness on the important roles women play in community development in Umuagwu.
2. To identify some factors hindering the roles of women in community development in Umuagwu.
3. To recommend solutions to the problems of women in community development programs in Umuagwu.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There is no research work done solely for its own sake but to also contribute to already existing body of knowledge. This work will contribute to women study and their roles in community development in Nigeria. It will also add to already existing knowledge on the subject matter. The study will also provide insight for other researchers who may wish to carry out further studies on the activities of women.
The findings of this study will help the public and government to change both their attitude and perception against women which hinders development in Nigeria, such things like believing that politics is for men would be history. From the study, government and non-governmental organization (NGO) would learn to give their support to the women in their fight for their rights and freedom.
Women will benefit a lot from the findings of this study in the following ways. The study will point out the major areas women suffer neglect; like economically, socially politically, health-wise, etc. the research findings will teach, the women organizations to continue in their struggle to overcome discriminations against women in terms of employment and job promotion and other aspects of fundamental human rights.
Again, the study will make the society to stop thinking that a part is better than the whole and equally, to stop neglecting their human resources (women) and accordingly, try to include a woman in every activity. The study will also bring to focus, the real issues involved in the role of women in community development in Nigeria. This will make the society to work towards eradicating the obstacles that have stood in the ways of women’s role in Nigeria and Umuagwu in particular.
The society will benefit a lot from the findings because the important roles of a woman towards community development would be made very obvious.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTION
This research work is to be carried out based on the following research question.
1. What are the factors hindering the roles of women in community development in Umuagwu?
2. What are the reasons why people fail to recognize the role of women in community development in Umuagwu?
3. What are the important roles played by women in community development in Umuagwu?
4. What are the solutions to the problems of women in community development in Umuagwu in Ejemekwuru community?
These and some other issues are the motivation for this research work.
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
This research work comprises the null hypothesis (Ho) and the alternative hypothesis (Hi). The Hi would stand rejected whenever the Hi is proved to be true. The hypotheses are as follows:
The first Ho states that there are no factors hindering the role of women in community development in Nigeria.
The first Hi contrarily states that there are many factors hindering the role of women in community development in Nigeria.
The second Ho states that many fetish and spurious factors militate against women’s role in community development in Umuagwu.
The second Hi states that there are no fetish and spurious factors militating against women’s role in community development in Umuagwu.
The third Ho states that women involve themselves in development ventures severally in Umuagwu community.
The third Hi, on the other hand, states that women in Umuagwu do not engage themselves in development ventures.
The fourth Ho which is the last hypothesis states that the orientation of the minds of the people will help in solving the problems of Umuagwu women.
On the contrary, the fourth Hi states that the orientation of the minds of the people will not be helpful in solving the problem facing Umuagwu women.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will primarily focus on the relationship between women participation in development activities and development itself. It will cover areas like the factors militating against the efficacy of the role of women in community development and possible solutions as well, but will not pay much attention to the society at large as it affects women and development but will concentrate on Umuagwu women in Ejemekwuru.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Data collection owing to the fact that this research work adopted the interview method as the instrument of data collection, was one of the limitations of the study. Naturally, the interview method of data collection has always encountered problems due to the fact that some people may be suspicious of the interview and their motives, thus distortion of information (either as a result of honest misunderstanding or as a result of purposeful misinterpretation) is a real possibility.
Secondly, the nonchalance of some women towards development issues was also a problem in the course of carrying out this research.
Time was also a limitation to the study as there were several other issues to attend to.
Also, the lack of fund and sponsorship which nearly discouraged the researcher was a limitation to a great extent.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
In the course of carrying out this research, the following concepts are defined as were applied within the context of this research work.
Community: There is no precise definition of the concept of “community” as many writers and authors have given various definitions to the word. Chaturvedi (2006:60) as contained in Onyenwigwe (2011:293) states that a community is “the total organization of social life within a limited area”.
Community Development: Warren (1971:324) defined community development as a deliberate and sustained attempt to strengthen the horizontal pattern of a community.
Development: The term is complex, ambiguous and multi-faceted. It has no acceptable definition as each definer perceives it from his/her own theology. Business dictionary defines it as “the process of economic and social transformation that is based on complex cultural and environmental factor and their interactions.
Women Organization: Refers to the act of arranging female adult of a human being into groups with different objectives and names.
Role: refers to the function or importance of women.
Women: This refers to the female adult of human beings.
Stereotyping: Here, it means idea, a character that has become fixed or standardized and the idea may be false.
Politics: Lasswell (1936) considers politics as involving “who gets what, when and how?
Ventures: It refers to a business, project or activity, especially one that involves taking risks.
Felt Need: In this study, it means the most pressing need of people that are identified by them and attempted doing something about it.
Efficacious: Producing the result that was wanted or intended.
Factors: It refers to the fact, circumstances etc, that helps to produce a result.
Population: It refers to all the people living in a particular area, city or country.
Orientation: Here, it means training or information that is given before starting a project or a new job.
Enlightenment: Knowledge about and understanding of something, the process of understanding something or making somebody understand it.
Sexism: The unfair treatment of people, especially women, because of their sex.
Abdicate: To fail or refuse to perform a duty.
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