Some Determinants of Voluntary Participation in Community Development Programmes among Nigerians: a Preliminary Report

Ekong, Ekong E. ; Olojede, A. A. (1980)


This is a joint report of two studies designed to investigate at different levels, some of those factors which affect voluntary participation in community development programmes among Nigerians. Data were obtained from a review of past works and from surveys carried out by the respective researchers among Nigerians abroad and at home. With the Nigerians living abroad, the main aim was to investigate their role perceptions in community development from a projective point of view while with those at home, the aim was to investigate the reasons for participation and non-participation in a concrete community development project. Results of the studies confirm some earlier findings on the psychology of social participation, particularly that participants in formal organizations for social action of general benefit, tend to be people with relatively higher socio-economic standing. Level of education does not however seem to be very crucial in the Nigerian case. Other revelations include the effects of the community characteristics and the individual's level of identification with or socialization in his community of origin. Where the community is small and the population of formally educated persons is also small, individuals within this small crop of elites tend to exert their leadership in community development more than in larger communities with many educated persons. Similarly stranger elements and those native who had spent most of their live outside their communities tend to be less interested in participating in community programmes. Other conclusions of the study are that people will participate more readily in visible projects having potentially general benefits than in those projects whose benefits they cannot readily claim. Also the integrity of project initiators is important in inviting popular participation.