Gender Analysis of Participatory Needs Assessment of Emeroke Community of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria: Implications for Agricultural Extension Interventions

Article excerpt

This study was designed to gender-analyze the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) that was facilitated at Emeroke community in Akwa Ibom State and examine the implications of the findings for agricultural extension interventions. The exercise revealed that there were about 200 households in the community and the average number of persons per household was ten. About 50%, 26% and 24% of the total households (THHs) were food insecured/core poor, medium food insecured/ poor and food secured/non poor respectively. Female headed households (FHHs) constituted about 25% of the total households and about 48% of the food insecured category. The findings further showed that there was gender division of labour. The major occupations of the men and women were fishing and fish processing respectively. The community had a 24- hour daily activity profile due to night fishing in the high seas by the men while women were busy throughout the day. There were poor access and control of fishing and farming technologies, inputs, credit and extension services which was worse for the women. The agriculture related problem prioritized by men was lack of fishing inputs while the women indicated inefficient fish processing methods. It was recommended that extension interventions in the community should facilitate formation of commodity associations to ensure effective resource mobilization and delivery of technologies and inputs. Targeting women, promotion of aquaculture, intensification of cropping and diversification into livestock through Fadama activities will improve productivity and ensure sustainable development.

Keywords: Gender, Analysis, Participatory, Extension, Nigeria

INTRODUCTION

Achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the 7- Point Agenda of the Nigerian Government require planning data. Indicators related to food security, poverty and gender equality etc need to be captured in order to effectively evaluate impact. In conventional approaches, planning data has been carried out by administering designed survey questionnaires on samples of rural population without adequate knowledge of important issues in these areas. Training and Visit (T&V) extension methodology which was adopted in Nigeria being a conventional approach, has been criticized as centralised, top-down, exclusive and supply driven in nature (Bruin and Meerman, 2002; Arokoyo, 2008). According to Bruin and Meerman, conventional perspective has gone stale, especially in Complex Diverse and Risk-prone (CDR) agriculture practised by most resource poor farmers in developing countries. Flaws such as beneficiaries providing only information, bulkiness of questionnaire, time consumption, biases, prompting of answers, selective representation, generalizations and wrong assessment of change also exist. Bruin and Meerman (2002) assert that alternative client-oriented and site- specific solutions are thus inevitable while Arokoyo, (2008) justified the need for a paradigm shift in Nigeria.

Participatory approaches such as Community Driven Development (CDD) and more participatory methodologies like Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) are now being adopted. According to Pretty and Vodouhe (1997), extractive research is being superseded by investigation and analysis by local people themselves. They not only inform outsiders, but also analyse their own conditions. Participation of different stakeholders in diagnosis will promote ownership, learning, understanding, communication subsequently empowerment, and sustainability of development (Sinkaye, 2005). Diagnosis is done to be able to understand and appreciate the characteristics, problems, priorities, challenges and potentials of the community and constituent groups.

PRA has continued to be used for needs assessment in various agricultural and rural development programmes worldwide. In Nigeria, donor supported programmes such as National Programme for Food Security (NPFS), National Fadama Development Programme (NFDP) and Community Based Natural Resources Management Programme (CBNRMP) adopted participatory methodologies, (PCU, 2005). …