1st Biennial Conference on Community Development in Nigeria
The 1st Biennial Conference on Community Development in Nigeria took place from January 28 – February 2, 2007 in Abuja. It was initiated by Community Life Project and the Community Development Department at the Federal level to “explore internal resources and national social capital in moving the country forward toward achieving its development goals”. It was generally agreed that Community Participation and ownership are crucial, not only for attaining Development targets, but also for accelerating the pace and ensuring the sustainability of Human Development Programmes in virtually all sectors.
The conference was created for Community Development Practitioners to learn from successful initiatives and to forge more partnerships towards promoting community ownership, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of development programmes and investments in Nigeria.
476 participants were in attendance. Participants came from government agencies, international development partners, private sector organisations, civil society organisations and community groups.
Conference themes include:
Theme 1: The Community in the fight against AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis
Theme 2: Community Development, Poverty Reduction and Pro-Poor Services
Theme 3: Gender Issues in Community Development
Theme 4: Environmental Sustainability, Food Security and Community Development
Theme 5: Community Relations and Partnership Building
Theme 6: Community Development and the Quest for Universal Basic Education
Theme 7: Community Centred Approaches to Maternal and Child Health Promotion
Observations and Recommendations from the Conference:
- Community Development is the process of building healthy, prosperous and sustainable societies in which the community is both the agent and beneficiary. It entails the empowerment and full participation of all levels of the community in the conceptualisation and monitoring of development processes. It also involves harnessing existing knowledge, relationships, networks and resources of individuals, families and organisations that constitute the community.
- True empowerment of the community must involve the Local Government and Sectoral Ministries without which the expected outcome would not be achieved and whatever is achieved would not be sustainable. Thus, greater emphasis should be placed on the key role of Local Governments in community-driven development.
- The media should be equipped to play the critical role of mobilising communities for development just as it is imperative to establish community radios for effective mobilisation of the communities for development.
- Oil companies should adopt a more emphatic approach in relating to host communities. They need to show greater transparency and abandon the patronising and condescending mode of engagement with the communities while devoting a substantial part of their annual profits for community development.
- Since the three major health problems, viz., HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are poverty-driven, communities should be mobilised and empowered educationally and economically to combat them.
To download the Conference Report, click here
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