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The history and importance of community based organization (CBO) in rural areas is a long one. They have been deeply involved in activities that have impacted on the livelihood of rural people. CBOs are formal voluntary social group that are found in communities which differ in size objective and degree of interaction among members. In these organizations, members have the ability to influence ideas and actions of others with the purpose to plan, implement and monitor social and economic development programmes and provide technical and financial helps to the communities. CBOs positively affect the process of rural change though increase in income, improvement of health, nutrition literacy of the people. Some of the developmental programmes they introduce bring changes in the rural communities such as health, education, micro finance, micro enterprise, sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, safe water and sanitation (Wahab, 2000).

Agboola (1998) noted that successive Nigerian Government have responded to both rural and urban problems by evolving poverty alleviation programmes to help stir development but government top-down approach and lack of involvement of the people at he bottom up strategy have weakened the confidence of the people. Communities therefore seek solace in CBOs which pressurize government for attention to development problems in their communities and/or undertake development programmes and projects that they observe that are very much needed in their immediate communities.

The CBOs are associated with self-help (Ogundipe, 2003). They constitute the media for resource mobilization to confront local challenges. These include the finance and execution of projects, lobbying and nomination of representative to government offices to air their views and press their needs and developing human resources against future development needs of immediate communities. Thus, their impacts have been felt in the areas of agricultural development, economic development, policy matters, health, education, policy matters, health education, infrastructure, environmental and physical development among others. (Agboola, 1998).

Despite these accomplishments, many CBOs have risen and fallen like old empires, while some have had no significant impact since their establishment due to poor funding. This is so because CBOs in African’s communities are micro system within the macro environment that is afflicted by economic regression, low standard of living and poverty. There is therefore the need to appraise the socio economic status of existing CBOs in the communities of developing nations like Nigeria and identifying the degree of impact they have exerted on their physical or immediate environment.

1.2     Statement of problem
The failure of many government development programmes in Nigeria could be traced to poor organizational structure at the grassroots level. The rural people are isolated, under educated and lack the means to win greater access to resources and some basis things of life such as pipe-borne water, electricity, postal services, health care centres, good roads and schools. The fact has been established that the government is constrained in its efforts to provide citizens with the required social and basic amenities for comfortable living (Anyanwu, 1992). Perhaps, this is due to the increasing population, misappropriation of funds, increasing wage bills, poor transportation network among others.

It is the gap arising from poor performance of government and other institutional organization that led to the formation of community based organization as means of improving the socio economic status of their communities. CBOs serve as the apex organization by which community people can embark on small scale industries, vocational trade, agricultural development projects, rural transportation and other socio economic activities (Adejumobi 1991).

It is in view of these facts that CBOs have been established by various people, bodies or groups to complement the effort made by the government. This study therefore is designed to asses the role of community based organization in the development of rural communities in Delta State.

1.3     Objectives of the study
The main objective of the study is to examine the role of community based organization in the development of rural communities in Delta State. The specific objectives are to:

  1. Ascertain the characteristics of CBOs in Delta State
  2. Examine the structure of selected CBOs.
  3. Identify the contributions of the organizations to the development of rural communities which they operate.
  4. Identify the constraints encountered by the CBO.

1.4     Significance of the study
CBOs play a significant role in community development and these roles need to be clearly understood by the policy makers, government even potential members. This will gradually help in identifying the appropriate support needed by the CBOs in order to improve on community development activities, thereby improving the standard of living in communities and also reducing rural urban drift.

This study will go a long way to understanding the mechanism of CBOs projects with particular reference to the people of Delta State. Recommendations would be made to rural communities, government and non government organization with a view to stimulating community development

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