Project – Community Development Committee and Community Development in Nigeria. A Case study of Gwara community in khana LGA of Rivers State.

Project – Community Development Committee and Community Development in Nigeria. A Case study of Gwara community in khana LGA of Rivers State.



  • Background to the Study

Community Development Committees (CDCs) have been pivotal in fostering grassroots development in various parts of the world, including Nigeria. These committees are typically composed of local residents who collaborate to identify and address community needs. According to Akinola (2007), CDCs in Nigeria have played a crucial role in mobilizing resources, both human and financial, to implement development projects. These projects often include the construction of schools, health centers, and roads, which are essential for improving the quality of life in rural areas. The participatory nature of CDCs ensures that the projects undertaken are reflective of the community’s priorities, thereby enhancing their relevance and sustainability.

The effectiveness of CDCs in Nigeria can be attributed to their ability to harness local knowledge and resources. As noted by Ezeah and Roberts (2012), the involvement of community members in decision-making processes fosters a sense of ownership and accountability. This participatory approach not only empowers residents but also ensures that development initiatives are culturally appropriate and context-specific. For instance, in the Niger Delta region, CDCs have been instrumental in addressing environmental degradation caused by oil exploration activities. By engaging local stakeholders, these committees have been able to implement sustainable environmental management practices that mitigate the adverse effects of oil spills and gas flaring.

Despite their successes, CDCs in Nigeria face several challenges that hinder their effectiveness. One significant issue is the lack of adequate funding and resources. According to Olowu and Erero (1997), many CDCs rely heavily on external donors and government grants, which are often insufficient and inconsistent. This financial instability can lead to the abandonment of critical projects and undermine the committee’s credibility. Additionally, the bureaucratic red tape associated with accessing government funds can delay project implementation, further exacerbating community needs. To address these challenges, there is a need for more sustainable funding mechanisms and capacity-building initiatives that enhance the financial management skills of CDC members.

Another challenge faced by CDCs in Nigeria is the issue of political interference. As highlighted by Aina (1990), local politicians often exert undue influence on CDCs to advance their personal agendas. This can lead to the misallocation of resources and the prioritization of projects that do not necessarily align with community needs. Moreover, political interference can create divisions within the community, undermining the collective action that is essential for successful community development. To mitigate this issue, it is crucial to establish clear guidelines and accountability mechanisms that safeguard the autonomy of CDCs and ensure that their activities remain community-driven.

The role of CDCs in promoting social cohesion and inclusivity cannot be overstated. According to Ifeanyi (2014), CDCs provide a platform for marginalized groups, such as women and youth, to participate in development processes. This inclusivity is vital for addressing social inequalities and fostering a sense of belonging among all community members. For example, in Northern Nigeria, CDCs have implemented initiatives that promote girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment, thereby challenging traditional gender norms and contributing to broader social change. By ensuring that all voices are heard, CDCs can create more equitable and resilient communities.

Community Development Committees are a cornerstone of grassroots development in Nigeria. Their participatory approach, ability to mobilize local resources, and focus on inclusivity make them effective agents of change. However, to maximize their impact, it is essential to address the challenges of funding, political interference, and capacity building. By strengthening the institutional framework within which CDCs operate, Nigeria can harness the full potential of these committees to drive sustainable and inclusive development. Future research should focus on exploring innovative funding models and best practices for enhancing the operational efficiency of CDCs.

  • Statement of the Problem

Community development in Nigeria has long been a critical area of focus for both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Despite numerous efforts, the effectiveness of community development initiatives remains inconsistent and often falls short of achieving sustainable progress. One of the primary issues is the lack of coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders, including the Community Development Committees (CDCs), local governments, and international agencies (Akinola, 2017). This fragmentation leads to duplicated efforts, inefficient use of resources, and ultimately, limited impact on the ground.

The role of Community Development Committees is pivotal in mobilizing local resources and fostering community participation. However, these committees often face significant challenges, such as inadequate funding, lack of technical expertise, and insufficient support from higher levels of government (Ezeah, 2005). These limitations hinder their ability to effectively plan and implement development projects, resulting in suboptimal outcomes. Moreover, the absence of a standardized framework for evaluating the performance of CDCs further complicates the assessment of their contributions to community development (Olujide, 2008).

Another critical problem is the socio-political environment in which these committees operate. In many Nigerian communities, issues such as corruption, political interference, and ethnic tensions undermine the efforts of CDCs (Oviasuyi & Uwadiae, 2010). Corruption, in particular, diverts resources away from development projects and erodes public trust in these committees. Political interference often leads to the appointment of committee members based on loyalty rather than competence, which compromises the effectiveness of community development initiatives (Akinola, 2017).

Furthermore, the lack of community ownership and participation in development projects is a significant barrier to sustainable development. Many community members feel excluded from the decision-making process, leading to apathy and resistance to development initiatives (Ezeah, 2005). This disconnect between the CDCs and the communities they serve results in projects that do not adequately address the needs and priorities of the local population, thereby limiting their impact and sustainability (Olujide, 2008).

The problem is exacerbated by the limited capacity for monitoring and evaluation of community development projects. Without robust mechanisms to track progress and measure outcomes, it is challenging to identify best practices, learn from past experiences, and make informed decisions for future initiatives (Oviasuyi & Uwadiae, 2010). This gap in monitoring and evaluation contributes to the persistence of ineffective strategies and the inability to scale successful interventions.

The challenges facing Community Development Committees in Nigeria are multifaceted and deeply rooted in systemic issues. Addressing these problems requires a comprehensive approach that includes strengthening the capacity of CDCs, fostering greater community participation, and enhancing coordination among stakeholders. By tackling these issues, it is possible to improve the effectiveness of community development initiatives and achieve more sustainable outcomes for Nigerian communities (Akinola, 2017; Ezeah, 2005; Olujide, 2008; Oviasuyi & Uwadiae, 2010).

  • Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of the study is to examine the Community Development Committee and Community Development in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:

  1. Assess the current needs and priorities of the community in Nigeria to identify areas for development.
  2. Evaluate the effectiveness of past community development projects implemented by the Community Development Committee in Nigeria.
  3. Investigate the role of local government and other stakeholders in supporting community development initiatives in Nigeria.
  4. Analyze the impact of socio-economic factors on the success of community development efforts in Nigeria.
  • Research Questions

The research questions are buttressed below:

  1. What are the current needs and priorities of the community in Nigeria, and how can these be addressed to promote development?
  2. How effective have past community development projects implemented by the Community Development Committee in Nigeria?
  3. What is the role of local government and other stakeholders in supporting community development initiatives in Nigeria, and how can collaboration be improved?
  4. How do socio-economic factors influence the success of community development efforts in Nigeria?
  • Research Hypothesis

The hypothetical statement of the study is stated below:

Ho: Community Development Committee has no significant impact on Community Development in Nigeria

H1: Community Development Committee has significant impact on Community Development in Nigeria

  • Significance of the Study

Community Development Committees (CDCs) are grassroots organizations that play a pivotal role in fostering community development. In Nigeria, these committees are often composed of local leaders, volunteers, and stakeholders who are deeply invested in the welfare and progress of their communities. The significance of CDCs lies in their ability to mobilize resources, identify community needs, and implement projects that address those needs. By leveraging local knowledge and fostering community participation, CDCs ensure that development initiatives are both relevant and sustainable.

One of the primary roles of CDCs in Nigeria is to empower community members through capacity-building initiatives. These committees often organize training sessions, workshops, and seminars that equip individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to participate actively in community development. This empowerment is crucial as it enables community members to take ownership of development projects, thereby ensuring their long-term success. Additionally, capacity building helps to create a pool of local experts who can drive future development initiatives, reducing dependency on external aid.

CDCs play a significant role in enhancing social cohesion within Nigerian communities. By bringing together diverse groups of people to work towards common goals, these committees help to build trust and foster a sense of unity. This is particularly important in a country like Nigeria, which is characterized by ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity. Through inclusive decision-making processes and collaborative efforts, CDCs help to bridge divides and promote social harmony, which is essential for sustainable development.

One of the key strengths of CDCs is their ability to identify and address local needs and priorities. Unlike top-down development approaches that may not always align with the specific needs of a community, CDCs operate at the grassroots level and are therefore better positioned to understand and respond to local challenges. In Nigeria, CDCs have been instrumental in addressing issues such as access to clean water, education, healthcare, and infrastructure. By prioritizing projects that have a direct impact on the community, CDCs ensure that development efforts are both relevant and effective.

CDCs serve as a vital link between communities, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In Nigeria, these committees often facilitate collaboration and communication between different stakeholders, ensuring that development projects are well-coordinated and that resources are used efficiently. By acting as intermediaries, CDCs help to align the efforts of various actors, avoid duplication of efforts, and ensure that development initiatives are tailored to the specific needs of the community. This collaborative approach enhances the overall impact of development projects.

Sustainability is a core principle of community development, and CDCs play a crucial role in promoting sustainable practices in Nigeria. By involving community members in the planning and implementation of development projects, CDCs ensure that these initiatives are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. For example, CDCs may promote the use of renewable energy sources, support local entrepreneurship, and advocate for the conservation of natural resources. By fostering a culture of sustainability, CDCs help to ensure that development benefits are long-lasting and that future generations can continue to thrive.

Community Development Committees are indispensable to the process of community development in Nigeria. Their grassroots approach, focus on empowerment, and ability to foster collaboration make them key players in driving sustainable development and improving the quality of life for community members.

  • Scope of the Study

Community Development Committee and Community Development in Nigeria. A Case study of Gwara community in khana LGA of Rivers State.

  • Operational Definition of Terms

Community Development Committee: A Community Development Committee (CDC) is a group of individuals, often volunteers, who are organized to oversee and implement development projects within a community. These committees typically work to identify the needs of the community, plan and execute projects, and ensure that resources are used effectively to improve the quality of life for community members. They may collaborate with local governments, non-profits, and other organizations to achieve their goals.

Community: A community is a group of people who live in the same area, such as a neighborhood, town, or city, and often share common interests, values, and goals. Communities can be defined by geographic boundaries, but they can also be formed around shared identities, interests, or social networks. The sense of belonging and mutual support among members is a key characteristic of a community.

Development: Development refers to the process of growth, progress, or positive change. In the context of community development, it involves improving the economic, social, and environmental conditions of a community. This can include infrastructure improvements, educational programs, healthcare services, economic opportunities, and other initiatives that enhance the well-being of community members.

 Community Development: Community development is a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems. It involves the active participation of community members in planning and implementing projects that improve their quality of life. The goal of community development is to build stronger, more resilient communities that can sustain long-term growth and development.

Committee: A committee is a group of people appointed or elected to perform a specific function or task. Committees are often formed to address particular issues, make decisions, or oversee projects. They can be temporary or permanent and are usually composed of individuals with relevant expertise or interest in the committee’s focus area.

Development Committee: A Development Committee is a specific type of committee focused on planning, overseeing, and implementing development projects. This can include economic development, infrastructure projects, social programs, and other initiatives aimed at improving the overall well-being of a community or organization. Development Committees often work closely with stakeholders, including government agencies, non-profits, and community members, to ensure that development efforts are effective and sustainable.

Project – Community Development Committee and Community Development in Nigeria. A Case study of Gwara community in khana LGA of Rivers State.