Enhancing Community Participation for Rural Development in Central Ejagham of Cameroon: Challenges and Prospects

Jude Ndzifon Kimengsi, Balgah Roland Azibo, Akhere Solange Gwan

Abstract


Community participation in rural development is no longer a new terminology in the development lexicon of developing countries. In most developing nations, there exist a great disparity between the rural and the urban centres in terms of socio-economic development. Central Ejagham, an enclaved community in Manyu Division of southwestern Cameroon has, over the years, been faced with a number of development challenges. In response to this, and inline with the government of Cameroon’s policy of supporting self-reliant development, the community engaged in a series of self-defined community development activities in a multiplicity of sectors, on the bases of locally identified abilities and resources. This paper adopts qualitative methods such as interviews, focus group discussions, detailed field observations which were complemented by secondary data sources and content analysis to examine the barriers and indigenous efforts towards enhancing community participation in Central Ejagham. We observe that the level of participation in a majority of the projects falls either within the “tokenism” or the “citizen control” rungs of Sherry Arnstein’s Ladder of Citizen Participation. In addition, although “tokenism” rung projects in Central Ejagham receive much financial and technical support, although they are saddled with commitment-related challenges. Conversely, projects at the “citizen control” rung are characterized by significant commitment but are hampered by limited (financial and technical)resources. To further enhance community participation, we recommend that projects at the “tokenism” rung which are generally viable in terms of financial and technical capacity be stepped up to the “citizen control” level, inorder to guarantee maximum participation for better results. In addition, we suggest that the legislative arm of the government should introduce a bill on the need to effectively support community developmental efforts. This. We believe, will make “citizen control” rung projects to become more effective. Finally, a platform to guarantee the sustainability of projects and to ensure the adequate dissemination of information on sourcing for external funding to support projects should be introduced.


Keywords


Community participation, rural development, Central Ejagham

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11634/233028791503745

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International Journal of Community Development

ISSN 2330-2879 (Print)/  ISSN 2330-2887 (Online), Copyright ©2012-2018 World Scholars, LLC, USA