Community Development Programs in Nigeria: A Movement for Change

by Obanya Isioma

Evolution is essential for any country or state, as it signifies the growth, progress, and well-being of its citizens, and what better way is there to start growth than from the locality? Community development has been one of the effective ways of increasing the standard and the quality of living of citizens of a nation, as well as helping to improve the economy of the country as a whole. 

This article discusses the meaning of community development, the reason for community development, and the existing community development programs in Nigeria. 

What is Community Development? 

According to the United Nations, community development is “a process where members of the society come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.” This concept is not limited to just solving the problems of the locality. It also includes increasing the capacity of people in the area to provide a better quality of life. It incorporates empowerment and strength and also increases the country’s production rate. 

For developmental processes to work for a particular society, the people in that vicinity must learn to work together for there to be meaningful change. Working together to make developmental programs successful and impactful to society is also needed.

Read also: Why You Should Participate in Community Services as a Nigerian Youth

Why is Community Development Important? 

Community development plays a very crucial role in the economy. The economy depends on the growth of the society. The more evolved the society gets, the more the economy progresses. Empowering the workforce in a society increases the standard of living as many people will have jobs and be able to cater better to their families. 

Here are some examples of services and programs that help the society: 

  • Grants
  • Training of skills
  • Scholarships
  • Empowerment programs
  • Seminars (health talks, awareness talks)
  • Construction of facilities which includes basic social amenities, bridges, hospitals, and so on.    

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Some Existing and Upcoming Community Development Initiatives

  1. ‘Open Minds – Young Voices’ youth activists program

This program is organized by a German foundation, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES). They aim to develop young Nigerian individuals to be more outspoken, motivated and advocate for good governance. If you are actively engaged in the social sector, like trade unions, research institutions, or administration, this is the program for you. This is the best way to represent the common interest of the people. The application is ongoing, and their meeting will start in March 2024. 

  1. NDDC partnership with an indigenous firm in cassava starch production

The executive director of projects of the NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission), Sir Victor Antai, stated that the NDDC is ready to partner with a starch manufacturing company owned by citizens of the country to provide employment for youths in Bayelsa. He said the commission would help the company with various raw materials, land, and other essential items. 

  1. Rural area development in Abia state

A program named ‘Community Choose Your Project’ is set to commence in Abia state. The Abia state minister for information and culture, Mr. Okey Kanu, says that the government’s attempt to renovate Abia will not only be centered around Aba and Umuahia but will cut across all the local government areas. He added that government officials will survey the areas and find the necessary infrastructure. 

  1. Empowerment of over 200 youths in engineering skills by NDDC

The regional development plan of the NDDC not only included areas meant to be renovated, but vocational training was one of them. The youth were trained in welding and fabrication, which are quite important in the construction of bridges, housing, and related things.

The graduation took place in three different regions where the training took place. The regions are Warri, Delta, Benni, Edo State, Eket, and Akwa-Ibom. The commission gifted the graduates with welding equipment, tools, and a hundred thousand Naira (N100,000) to provide a living for themselves.

Read also: Why You Should Build a Career in Engineering

  1. Federal Government construction projects

Nigerian President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is set to commence various community development projects across Nigeria. During the 2024 budget proposal, 500 million naira was allocated to the Abuja-Lagos super highway and Lagos-Port Harcort coastal road. 1.5 billion naira was allocated to the construction of the section I Odukpani-Itu Bridge head and Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road located in Cross-River state.

Shagamu Road in Lagos received 1.3 billion naira for its renovation. 143.5 million naira was set aside to renovate the Apapa/Tincan island port. The budget also included the ikorodu-shagamu road with the allocation of 300 million naira.

There will also be a construction of a new highway at of Suru-Sangelu-Afadama Road, in Kebbi State and it received an allocation of 2 billion naira. These projects, among many others, received an allocation in the 2024 budget and are set to commence this year.

  1. Scholarships for Nigerian students

There are a lot of scholarship opportunities for Nigerian students, whether in secondary, graduate, or postgraduate. Both government, individuals, and foundations provide these scholarships to facilitate community development. Here are a few that are ongoing;

  • OCI Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship for Nigerian Students 2024: This scholarship is aimed at helping brilliant, smart, and financially incapable students. Onyebuchi Chris Ifediora Foundation gives annual scholarships to citizens of Nigeria. They award the scholarship winners with financial support throughout their years in school. The deadline is April 26, 2024.
  • Steve Eshiemogie Undergraduate Scholarship for Nigerian Students 2024: This partially funded scholarship is aimed at helping final year students interested in biological science and engineering. The deadline for application is on the 24th of February, 2024. 
  • Phebe Keshinro Foundation Project Hope Scholarship for Nigerian Students 2024: This particular scholarship is aimed at helping 100 Nigerian students get their jamb form without any cost incurred by them. The deadline was not specified. 

Read also: 10 Nigerian Scholarship Opportunities Every Student Should Know

Conclusion

Community development will remain a very crucial role in the evolution of our nation. It is the first approach to change and should be taken seriously. The government must look into community development and set up policies and laws to enhance the movement. Note that the government is not solely responsible for developmental projects, members of society including you and I also have a significant role to play. 

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Edited by Oluwanifemi Akintomide.

About Author

Obanya Isioma
Obanya Isioma
Obanya Isioma a writer with an eye for creativity and never fails to express herself in her work. A poet and a content writer, who started writing as a hobby and ended up becoming the passion, which she uses to create exceptional work.

She is always ready to learn and never scared to take up new challenges.

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