Dimensions of community development projects in Bendel State, Nigeria



Several communities in the Bendel State of Nigeria have distinguished themselves in their enthusiasm for community development through self-help efforts. In addition to their contributions in labour and money these communities also make demands on the government for various forms of aid. Because of the uncoordinated nature of the projects and the demands, the government is precipitated into responses without a thorough examination of the development impact and the priority needs of the projects. An analysis of the characteristics of the completed and on-going community development projects in Bendel State between 1970 and 1982 shows that the prime interest of communities is in the provision of social infrastructure rather than in improved production which will create wealth and employment. Similar mistakes are made by the government in its total funding and in providing matching grants for projects which have doubtful rationales. The paper suggests that planning for community development projects should involve the co-operation of the government and the people. The enthusiasm for development should be encouraged but not at the expense of co-ordinated effort which could bring about the much-desired even development by sorting out priorities and conserving resources.