Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

An Assessment of Women Participation in Community Welfare Programmes of Oil Producing Companies in the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

An Assessment of Women Participation in Community Welfare Programmes of Oil Producing Companies in the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria

Article excerpt

The study investigated the participation of women in community welfare programmes of oil companies in the Niger Delta. The hypotheses, FGD and oral interview addressed the extent of awareness and method of participation of these women and if these programmes have improved the welfare of these women through their participation in the design and execution of community projects. It assumes that sustainable development of oil producing communities can best be achieved through women participation in the design and execution of development projects. A descriptive survey design of ex-post facto was used in conducting the study using questionnaire administered on 762 randomly selected women from the eight communities under study. 256 female participated in the FGD sessions while 40 women leaders were interviewed. Thus a total of 1058 women were used for the study. Two Hypotheses were raised in the study. Data were analyzed using percentages, frequency counts and chi-square. The results showed that the improved welfare of women in oil producing communities in the Niger Delta is to a large extent dependent on their participation not only at the identification and planning of the projects but also at the execution stage. The research concludes that women participation in the design and execution of community project will result in sustainable development and improved welfare of women in oil producing communities. It therefore recommends that greater participation of women should be encouraged by oil producing companies for better and improved welfare of women.

Keywords:, Women participation, Community welfare, Niger Delta, Social Responsibility, Oil producing Companies.

The Nigerian economy depends heavily on crude oil and gas, which account for over 70% of the revenue of the Federation and over 95% of export earnings. The bulk of country's oil and gas is produced in the Niger Delta. After over 46 years of exporting crude oil, it is not an overstatement to say that Nigeria has failed woefully in cariying the oil wealth to the poor, including the poor in the oil producing areas of the Niger Delta region (Ojameru 2004). The oil industry has generated different environmental hazards to oil-producing communities, which has led to agitation, hostility and adversarial relationships between the oil-producing companies and their host communities. Ikporukpo (2007) observed that violence in the Niger Delta region has various expressions. These include pipeline vandalization, blockage of oil facilities, the taking of hostage etc.

Initially the oil companies believed that they have no legal or social obligation to provide development projects to these communities. It was their view that the provision of development facilities and services is the responsibility of government to whom they faithfully pay their rents and royalties. In the face of militant activities of the host communities, these oil companies have been obliged to change their policies radically. They have since realized that their operations should not simply be for profit, but also in the interest of social harmony that is necessaiy for the realization of the good life for all (Owolabi, 2003). They have now accepted community development and welfare as part of their social responsibilities to their host communities.

In this study, participation is the essential element to the development strategy. The success of any development strategy depends on the positive involvement and actual participation of women in development programmes. Participation as a development strategy is a mechanism for improving the welfare of the people, especially the women in the society. The improvement of life should manifest in improved level of economic, social and human development indices and the growth of human capabilities and potentials. Thus essential aim of participatoiy development is to bring about change and redistribution of power and provide equal access to information and resources to the women. …

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