1.1 Background to the Study
Rural development from a general point of view is the process of improving the
quality of life and economic wellbeing of people living in relatively isolated and sparsely populated areas (Moseley, 2003) which are also known as rural areas. However, despite strategies put in place in form of projects provided for rural people, many do not benefit because of their non-involvement in the project planning process and implementation hence, the emphasis on community participation in rural development project.
Rural development is more realistic when people participate in the process of infrastructure provision because at the heart of rural development projects are infrastructures and for the overall goals and objectives to be met, the principle for effective community participation must be adapted (Idachaba and Bankole, 2006).
Community participation as a development approach for rural socioeconomic development is an alternative to the top – down approach which has failed to yield the desired result because rural dwellers who are target beneficiaries were not carried along initially (Bankole, 2007). The term has been conceptualized in different ways in the literature as either public, people or citizen participation, however they all have the same focus, which is rural development (Oakley, 1991 and Afolayan, 2008). Participation is all about inclusiveness, social justice and common good which shows that rural development is community based when people in communities determine their needs and aspiration.