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THE ROLE OF COMMUNICATION ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The purpose of this research work is to examine critically, the role of communication on the development of various communities in Lagos state. As all the communities in Lagos State cannot be examined, the researcher have decided to use Ibeshe Community in Ikorodu environs as a case study.
Based on some findings, it has been revealed that communication and access to various vital information by Local Communities can lead to their development. Community development itself is a broad term, in which no specific definition have been accepted. This could be tagged to the fact that, it encompasses all spheres of human and community lives.
Various developed countries in the world have attached their development towards having access to right information at the appropriate time. Therefore, it has been stipulated that communication can boost and foster community development.
Moreso, the media are regarded as the agent of communication.
According to the United Nations, the media has it as a primary objective to deliver developmental information at the appropriate time.
This research work is divided into five chapters:
Chapter one gave a general background to the study. It entails the statement of the problems, purpose of the study and significance of the study. Four research questions and two hypotheses were formulated. Also, the scope and limitations of the study were stated.
In chapter Two, relevant literatures were reviewed. This entails textbooks, Journals, articles and write ups from the internet.
Chapter Three is mainly concerned with the research methodology. The data needed for this research were gathered through the use of questionnaire.
In chapter Four, the data gathered through questionnaire were analysed. The questionnaire were in two parts; first section deals with Bio data while the second part has to do with research questions and hypotheses.
Lastly, in chapter five, summary, recommendations and conclusion were presented. This entails information on the vital role of communication on community development.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The issue of community development has taken a new trend globally. Inhabitants of various communities are expected to mobilize their resources and direct them towards their development.
Community development is a skilled process and part of its approach is the belief that communities can not be helped unless they themselves agree to the process, that is, community mobilization. This is a process where community action, either internally or externally promoted, is planned, undertaken and assessed by community’s individuals, groups, and organizations on a participatory and steady basis to improve health, hygiene and education level and better overall living conditions in the community. Julius Nyerere (1973).
Ukaegbu et al (1993) explains that, community development projects are seen in terms of their expected contributions to the better life of a target population. Community development activities needs peoples involvement at all stages of its delivery.
Community development has been sometimes explicit and sometimes implicit goals of community people, aiming to achieve through collective effort, a better life that has occurred throughout history. Maureen Ngozichukwuka Egenti. (2005).
The 1954 Ashridge conference in England defined community development as a movement which is designed to promote better living for the whole community with the active participation and on the initiative of the community.
In 1956, the United Nation Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) an organ of the UN defines the term community development as the processes by which the effort of the people themselves are united with those of governmental authorities, its agencies and non-governmental organizations to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions of communities, to integrate these communities into the life of the nation and to enable them to contribute fully to national progress.
Community development seeks to empower individuals and groups of people by providing these groups with the skills they need to effect change in their communities. Ashok Kumar (1980).
Committee for Development, U K (2005) stated that, community development is the structured intervention that gives communities greater control over conditions that affects their lives.
Several scholars have regarded community development as the life- blood of every nation. Its importance is so enormous that every country of the world, either developing or developed is implementing series of developmental programmes, so as to foster national development.
Community Development Programmes is a socio-economic programme aimed at developing and reconstructing the rural society. It aims at involving people in the development programmes and making them become self reliant and co-operative. It also aims at encouraging them to take new means for development of the rural society. It is a strategy which brings about an increase in the standard of living. Its importance can not be underrated.
Some areas in which community development programmes have been of help are as follows:
· Growth of Agriculture: Agriculture occupies and plays an important role in any country’s economy. The development of agriculture is directly within the womb of community development. Community development activities seek to promote agricultural extension programmes so as to boost food production.
· Health Services: Another gift of community development programmes is the creation of facilities for public health. Through medical orientation, infant mortality and epidemics have been reduced.
· Motivation of People towards Nation Building: Community development programmes plays important role in mobilizing and directing the people towards development. It helps in imparting the spirit of community living and oneness into the community people which in turn fosters development.
However community development can be of various forms. Community development as a process; as a process it is responsible for bringing about social changes. Community development is not only a process that brings about social changes, but also a method of achieving it based on the co-operation of people. Moreso, community development is also seen as a programme on the basis of which process of change is carried out. Note, without proper programme, neither method nor the process shall have any utility. Lastly, community development is also seen as a movement, that is a movement for eradicating illiteracy, unemployment, and poverty.
In outlining community development strategies, some factors which enhances community development must be put into consideration, part of which are; foremost, the community development project or programme should be holistic in nature. Through participatory research method, a comprehensive need assessment should be undertaken. This will ensure that community inhabitants play an active part in the community development project. Secondly, in regard to the impact the project will have on the community, there should be a long term vision for the community.
Note, as some factors enhances community development activities, so also do some factors militate against it. There are numerous obstacles which may hinder the ideal community development process. Awareness of the obstacle may be the first factor. Given the holistic nature of an ideal community development project, lack of partnership or unified vision among community members may impede this process. Moreso, lack of access to information or lack of access to community meeting might pose a problem to community development process. The entire community inhabitant should be properly involved and have access to information that will foster their development; else the community development effort will be futile.
However, Communication is regarded to have been an integral part of community development. Many countries of the world have attached their development to an effective communication network.
Furthermore, it is said that communication can not be detached from the mass media and traditional media. Communication is a tool in the hand of the media; therefore it is paramount for the media to disseminate appropriate and vital information to the community dwellers at the right time. Having access to this information, knowledge and ideas, community development will take place as the people will participate in their own development. This will tend to reduce rural-urban drift to the bearest minimum.
According to Ashok Kumar (2005) communication is considered to be a vital tool for rural and community development. Rural and community people should not be denied the right to have access to vital information that will foster their development.
Based on the report of the panel of Newseum in Washington D.C on September 12, it was ascertained that communication is an essential tool for advocacy and mobilization in which every government must use for mobilization towards development.
Ann Bush, ( communication and the Media, 2007) stated that mass media which is the media for large audience could serve as a medium for Adult Education and Literacy programmme which will foster community development.
People’s participation in community development programmes is becoming the central issue of our time and this participation requires communication. Development programmes can only realize their full potential if knowledge, ideas, information and technology are shared effectively and if populations are motivated and committed to achieve success. Communication is central to this task in many ways. For example it enables planners, when formulating developmental programmes to consult with people in order to take into account their needs, attitudes and traditional knowledge. Only with communication will the project beneficiaries become the principal actors to make development programmes successful (UNDP Human Development Report, 1993).
Issa (1998: 132) asserts that, community development forms the platform for national development but this could only be achieved through an effective communication system. He observes that “the rural populace suffers from acute low productivity, social and economic retrogression, lack of access to developmental knowledge and ideas due mainly to ignorance which is also the direct consequence of either inadequate or total lack of communicating necessary information, ideas and knowledge to them”.
The usage of communication techniques, activities and media, gives people powerful tools both to experience change and actually to guide it. An intensified exchange of ideas, knowledge and information among all sectors of the society can lead to the greater involvement of people in a common cause. Communication is a fundamental requirement for appropriate and sustainable rural and community development.
In achieving this great task, one can infer that the various forms of media, that is the modern and traditional media, should form the channels of information dissemination to the rural inhabitants. With this, ideas and new knowledge could be shared between the community dwellers and this will in turn foster their development.
According to the United Nation (UN) communication plays a key role in community development, most especially women development. The area where communication is said to have been important includes, helping women’s group to increase their self determination and to broaden the dialogue between sexes regarding rights, privileges and responsibilities.
Mabogunje in his book “the role of communication in development, 2008” highlighted the followings as the area in which communication can be of help to the rural dwellers
· Malnutrition: In December 1992, it is ascertain by the International Conference on Nutrition that 780 million people of the world, mostly rural dwellers suffers from chronic malnutrition. Therefore, at the planners’ level, incorporation of nutritional concerns into developmental policies is of great importance.
· Rural poverty: Most rural areas are characterized by reliance on traditional knowledge and production system. In order to eradicate this social ill, communication between local communities and national planners and policy makers becomes important. New knowledge and skills need to be impacted into the rural dwellers so as to better their living conditions.
· Population growth: Over population in the rural areas is exerting pressure on natural resources, food production and the ability of government to provide basic services, population growth depends on choices made by individuals. Helping people to make more and informed choices by raising their awareness on the implication of family size and unwanted pregnancy and family planning, forms an important role that communication plays in both community and national development.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The fundamental aim of community development is to empower community inhabitants with essential and adequate information, ideas, skills and knowledge which will foster their development. Development can only be achieved if only adequate developmental information is passed to the populace of the rural areas.
Community development is the coming together of community dwellers or inhabitants to identify their felt needs and mobilize their resources and direct them towards the achievement of their needs. The Lagos state government has designed and implemented several developmental programmes, hoping that, such programmes would yield a desired result.
Millions of Naira is spent annually to provide drugs to General hospitals for the treatment of diseases. It was discovered that community dwellers lack hygienic attitude, they live in dirty environment and drink in pure water. Moreso, poverty ravages the community inhabitants as most of them are peasant farmers and petty traders.
Lagos state has the potential to develop all sects of human endeavors, more especially if communication services are fully enhanced in the rural communities throughout Lagos State. Effective communication service in the rural community enhances development, despite the condition of the rural dwellers in Lagos State, one may ask; in what ways can effective communication service contribute to community development in Lagos State. The answer lies in the usage of the various forms of media to disseminate new knowledge and skills into the rural community inhabitants, the provision of essential amenity like electricity, usage of epffective communication to eradicate illiteracy and ignorance and finally mobilizing the community inhabitants to participate in activities that will foster their development.
Though, communication plays an important role in community development but, most rural areas in Lagos state lacks social amenity like electricity, which is assumed to be the major source of power supply to information and communication gadgets; television, digital video display and computers. Then we are faced with the problem of how information, ideas and knowledge would be disseminated by the media for development when essential amenity is not available.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to ascertain the role of communication in community development.
Specifically the study will:
i. Determine the major sources of communication in rural areas.
ii. Ascertain the level of access to communication channels among rural dwellers.
iii. Asses to what extent access to communication channels determines levels of involvement in community development programmes.
iv. Determine whether access to communication channels, information and knowledge plays significant role in community development.
v. Determine whether modern media is more effective than the traditional media in community development.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The sole aim of this research work is to determine the role of communication on community development. Therefore, the following research questions are formulated.
i. What are the major sources of communication in rural areas?
ii. To what extent are communication channels accessible to rural dwellers?
iii. Is there any relationship between access to communication channels and involvement in community development programmes?
iv. Is there any relationship between access to communication channels, information and knowledge and levels of community development among rural dwellers?
v. Is the modern media more effective in the delivery of community development programmes than the traditional media?
The following hypotheses are formulated.
i. There is no significant relationship between access to communication channels and involvement in community development programmes.
ii. There is no significant relationship between access to communication channels, information and knowledge and levels of community development among rural dwellers.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The fundamental objective of this case study is to add to the existing knowledge on the effect of communication on community development. The focus is based on the inhabitants of Ibeshe community. As most rural areas in Lagos state are characterized with low infrastructural development, illiteracy and ignorance, the researcher seeks to know whether passing appropriate developmental information, ideas and knowledge to the community dwellers can foster their development.
Therefore, the outcome of this case study will be of immense benefit to man power planners, administrators and community development programmes executors. As information gathered will be use to determine whether communication and its channels could be use to foster community development.
1.9THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The essence of this study is to examine the influence of communication on community development in Lagos State. As all the communities in Lagos State can not be covered owing to time and financial constraints, this research work is limited to Ibeshe community in Ikorodu environs.
Ibeshe community is an ancient community, situated in Igbogbo Bayeku Local Council Development Area. The community is govern by the council chairman and the traditional monarch.
Questionnaires were administered to the council officials, whilst some were shared among the inhabitants of Ibeshe community, and the king and his chiefs.
1.10DEFINITION OF TERMS
Ø Utopian: An imaginary state or place in which everything seems perfect.
Ø Media: Main ways by which large numbers of people receive information and entertainment.
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