The main purpose of this study was to assess youth organizations’ participation in planning and implementation of community development projects in Abia State. Four research questions and four null hypotheses were posed and formulated respectively to guide the study. The hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. The related literature to the study was reviewed under four main headings namely: conceptual framework, theoretical framework, Review of related empirical studies and summary of literature review. This study used a descriptive survey research design. A total of 500 registered youth members were used as sample size for the study. A 32 item questionnaire modeled on a four point rating scale was used to collect data for the study. Three experts validated the instrument. The instrument was trial tested and the reliability coefficient using Cronbach’s Alpha were 0.83 for cluster A, 0.70 for cluster B, 0.87 for cluster C and 0.68 for cluster D with an overall reliability coefficient of .83 respectively. The Research questions were analyzed using mean and standard deviation while the null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance using t-test. The results of the study revealed among others that the youth organizations to a great extent participate in the planning and implementation of community development projects in Abia State. Poor leadership, inadequate fund raising, mismanagement of funds, the leaders, low level of education of youths, lack of commitment in project initiative by some youths, lack of empowerment by the community members and inadequate monitoring of projects for successful implementation are the factors that affect the participation of youth organizations in planning and implementation of community development projects in Abia State. The result also revealed that there is no significant difference between the mean ratings of male and female members of youth organizations on the extent youth organizations participate in the planning of community development projects in Abia State. The implications of the above findings were examined and it was recommended among other things that state government should strengthen the role of youth organizations using appropriate legislative provisions so that youth organizations would be seen as partners in sustainable community development and the overall progress of the society.
Background to the Study
The roles and contributions of youth organizations (male and female members) in Nigeria to national development as well as community development cannot be overemphasized. There is need to strategically and effectively engage the youths and their organizations in programmes and activities that would bring about sustainable development in the various communities they find themselves. Youth comprises of persons between the ages of 18-35 years who are the citizens of the federal republic of Nigeria (Nigeria Youth Development Policy, 2001). The term youth according to Nigeria Youth Development Policy (2001), is a period of transition from the dependence of childhood to adulthood independence and awareness of interdependence as members of a community. In line with the above assertion, the United Nations (2001) stated that age is the easiest way of knowing who a youth is, particularly in relation to education and employment starting on the basis of their premises, they see youth as a person between the ages where he/she may leave compulsory education and the age at which he/she finds his/her first employment.
Operationally, youth (male and female) can be seen as an adult that has reached their maturity age and who can take responsibilities on things that concern him/her. Therefore, youths are the economic pillar of the country; hence, there is serious need to make them participate in the planning and implementation of community development projects in Nigeria with particular reference to Abia state.