This study is a determination of the level of participation of youth in community development in Oredo Local Government Area. The main objectives of the study were to examine the extent to which the youth have and can still contribute their strength meaningfully to the development of their communities. Also the study tried to find out the modalities of mobilizing the youths to take part actively in community self-help. Philosophy which was helped to reduce the high rate of youth’s migration to urban areas for search of social amenities. The work will evaluate the youth contributions so far towards the development of this area. The hypotheses tested includes the following: that youth efforts in community development projects are appreciated by other members of the community, that the major factor militating against youth participation is land dispute. Different method of data collection was adopted to obtain information from the public. Questionnaire was designed and distributed to different respondents. The questionnaires involved 100 respondents, the entire hypothesis were accepted and analyzed. Finding of these tested hypotheses could be seen in chapter four of this research work. Based on these findings, suggestions aimed at eliminating these inherent problems have been advanced in chapter five of this research work. Recommendations were made in the following directions: that youth should be told how the community funds are being controlled or expended, that youths should be given free hands of initiate new projects, to supplement the effort of formal education system through training and impacting self-reliance skills that can make the youth more job creating than seeking, that youths should act in the various capacities as agents. They should be instrumental to most enlightenment campaigns in the rural areas. That it is necessary to re-educate the youth on the important impact they owe their community in development activities. By so doing, they serve as channels for introduction of modern ways of living and doing things.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The aim of rural development is to get rid of poverty. Youth involvement in community development programme has been as long as man’s existence. Their contribution towards community development in a given area like Oredo Local Government has much to be desired. It is generally accepted in most developing countries like Nigeria, that government alone cannot develop all the rural communities as at when due. Apart from leadership, there are other things that are against the attainment of a meaningful, progressive and just society that we have been longing for but failed to respond decisively. Although these are few books that cover the role of youth in community development or nation building. This study will treat all aspects of the topic as evidence to show whether or not youths played effective contributive role in the development of rural areas Oredo Local Government is not an exception, this is because they need the help or support of the youths to assist the nation in achieving self sufficiency in areas like food production and the realization of structural transformation of the Agricultural sector (Doorbus, 2001).
It is a common thing that “youths are the leaders of tomorrow”, it could therefore be seen that the contributions of youths to rural development is very important, hence people look up to the youths for active leadership, self reliance, honesty, selfless service, industrial knowledge, patriotism and discipline. Generally, youths constitute about 2/3 (two-third) of the active population, by youth we mean those young active and powerful or dynamic people in the society under the ages of forty. They have some qualities, which includes responsibility to challenges (Oadire, 2010).
The community does show that government alone cannot provide all the development needed by themselves,, as a result the communities are to mobilize themselves by using the resources at their disposal to provide amenities through self-help and popular participation; we cannot over emphasize the effect of youth class or cooperative organization in carrying out such a task, no wonder BEJA says “there is hope that our country will still grow and survive into a great nation despite the ills of our times and that hope is in the youths”.
The researcher will attempt to state the energetic nature of youth class in Oredo Local Government. The hope of the rural communities is to have access to the provision of the basic social amenities. But the way of achieving this hope cannot be guaranteed by the government alone, but through the help or contribution of the rural developers, moreover no community should see rural development as the sole responsibility of the community development officers, in order not to experience law level development, unemployment, starvation and poor health care, government can no longer or finds it difficult to satisfy all these needs due to the enormity of the task on her, hence from time immemorial, youths have been assisting the elders in the development of their areas. Their participation is very essential and this further boosts national development.
THE PEOPLE: Majority of the people that stay within Oredo Local Government area are from Edo (Bini), though there are people from other parts of the State being among the indigenes. The number of people residing there is relatively more compared to other local government due to development that has come to the place.
The culture of the people is rich and unadulterated, which has its origin in Edo (Bini). It has its statutes, morals, beliefs and values, social, religious and political institution. There are also ancestral cults to which every person is born into; to deny them is to deny one’s birth right and citizenship. Their cultural values also affect their marriage, ceremonies, new yam festivals, burial ceremonies and their cultural dances. Their main occupation they practice is farming and palm wine tapping, crops grown there includes yam, groundnut, etc. Though there are many white-colar jobs due to development of the area but their main occupation is farming.
The Youth: The youth have a storage formation where they come together and talk on pressing issues concerning the community. They help in keeping the law of the land and try to influence the decision of the leaders through their reactions.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
This study is to investigate the various problems in Oredo Local Government and how the youth can be involved in the developmental process in their community. This study will also focus attention on how the result of the investigation could be applied to the problems on ground. An attempt would be made to identify the immediate and remote causes of the problem.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Do the members of the community appreciate youth efforts towards community development projects?
2. What is level of youth involvement in community development project in Oredo Local Government Area?
3. What is the level of awareness and consciousness of youths towards the improvement of their communities?
4. Does land dispute stand as a militating force to youth participation in community development?
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
In this kind of study, there are bound to be argument for and against as to the qualification of youth’s participation in community development activities. To avoid being biased, hypotheses became necessary to be designed, tested and to serve as guidelines. The hypotheses to be tested in this study are as follows:
1. That youth’s efforts in community development project are appreciated by other members of the community.
2. That there is increasing rate of youth involvement in community development projects in Oredo Local Government Area.
3. That the level of awareness and consciousness of youth towards the improvement of their communities has increased.
4. That the major factor militating against youth participation is land dispute.
1.5 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to consider the role of youths in the development of their rural and local communities.
1. To analyze the various factors contributing to the effective mobilization of youths for participation in community development.
2. To bring into light the efforts of the youths in bridging the gap of development between the rural communities and urban centres.
3. To evaluate the different functions performed by the youths and community leaders in ensuring the successful execution of a project.
4. To determine the extent of involvement of youths in community development.
5. To find out how existing unity among the youth in our rural area can promote peace.
6. The study will look into the activities of the youths in the development of their rural communities and to suggest ways of improvement.
7. To access the contribution of the youth in terms of financial and social organization in uplifting the living standard of the people.
8. To find out and suggest ways and means through which the government, social workers and other social agencies can be involved for effective development.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
For the purpose of proper understanding, this study shall have its main focus on the rural areas (communities) within the shores of Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State.
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The researcher believes that this study is of great importance. It will be of good use to know the degree of youth involvement in self help projects. This study will make people know that youth possess productive talent ability of which they need to be harnessed for the execution of community development projects. It is significant because most teachings and learning are carried out today by youths whose studies are focused on involvement in developmental process such as adult literacy programme to discipline, reading, writing among illiterates in the community. The result of this study is likely to provide useful data for exports in youth research.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
There are many limitations encountered in the process of gathering the necessary information for this research work. Thus;
a. Information was obtained through interviews during which some of the respondents felt reluctant to answer some questions relating to their activities in the area where they lived.
b. There was inadequate finance to carry out most of the work expected to be done during the data collection.
c. Another problem was time wasted where information were hardly retrieved.
d. Time was yet another factor that posed a set back to information gathering for this research work, since it was done along side with normal school lectures, as a result, time was too short for comprehensive collection of data.
e. Lack of sufficient literature highlighting youth activities in the area of rural development was another limitation.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
The researcher wishes to define the major concepts in this research work which include:
Role: This is defined according to Oxford Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary as a prescribed functions or functions an individual is expected to do in any given situation; it could also mean the part played on a real life situation.
Youth: Youth can be defined as young people who have stopped being children but are not yet fully accepted as adults. They are usually called youth because they are strong, young, dynamic and very active in the society. The rational youth policy defines youth as all those within the age range of fourteen and forty (14 – 40) years. By implication, anyone above forty years of age is not a youth and should not be regarded as such. It is assumed however that any person or persons within 14 – 40 years can contribute their quota to the development of their communities. Therefore any attempt by any organization or community to isolate them in the formation of their development association is bound to fail. So it is advisable to include youth in such organization in order to achieve success.
Rural Development: The role of youth in rural development cannot be fully understood without the definition of the key words in the concept of rural development.