Tobi’s research on “Promoting Community-Led Development in Nigeria”, is extremely important in recognizing the need for outside actors; such as governmental, non-governmental, and multilateral organizations, to have sufficient amounts of knowledge of the needs and wants of the local community in order to be successful in developmental programs. Furthermore, local actors should be involved in all phases of the decision making process to not only encourage participation, but also promote ownership and sustainability in the program or project. When the development of communities are not recognized as a collective responsibility for all, but solely as the duty of the Government and upper-class alone, progress is prolonged and one-sided.
Community-led development is the process of collaborating across sectors in order to create and achieve locally driven vision and goals. It ensures local voices are uplifted and taken into high consideration and not overthrown by outside opinions and perceptions. This is very critical for countries like Nigeria where only the voices of the high-income and middle-income are heard while the rural and low-income areas are completely ignored-even though fifty-one percent of Nigeria’s population lives in rural and less-developed areas. Community-led development in Nigeria is a major approach for encouraging participation in the developmental process from all citizens regardless of class and location.
The four policy options for pushing community-led development in Nigeria are discussed and evaluated, expounding on the advantages and disadvantages of each . These four policies include; a national top-down model, an international-national non-governmental model, a purely local model and the balanced and integrated approach model. It is essential that the chosen model of community-led development engages local communities as agents of their own change, promotes sustainable rural development, and is pro-poor and equitable.
Four important questions make up the evaluative criteria and are used to evaluate the possible policy options for community-led development in Nigeria. These questions are;
- Does the community-led development approach directly empower communities especially those in rural and low-income communities
- Is it politically feasible?
- Does the community-led development approach benefit one part of the country or the entire country?
- Is the community-led development approach sustainable?
Tobi’s paper aims to venture into the many different ways in which Nigeria can achieve community-led development nationwide by building on and improving existing initiatives. Each model is evaluated based on a normative framework along with the evaluative criteria in regards to the Nigerian community. Recommendations and suggestions for the Hunger Project to authorize a chapter of the Movement of Community-led Development in Nigeria are also made.