From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Osun State Agency for Community and Social Development Project (O-CSDP), recently organised a one-day strategic and capacity building workshop for executive secretaries of local government areas, Local Council Development Authorities (LCDAs) and other stakeholders to brainstorm on operational processes and procedures.
General Manager of the agency, Mrs. Funmilayo Abokede, told participants that the exercise was intended to create a synergy between them and the agency with a view to engendering infrastructural and social developments to fulfill the yearnings of the people in their areas.
With the quality of the ideas and innovations showcased by the participants and the CDSP officials at the workshop, the community people and rural dwellers in the state are likely to witness provision of both social and rural infrastructure in their areas by the agency in greater dimensions.
Abokede who said with the agency’s community-driven development approach where members of the communities take charge of their development agenda from the conception of project idea to implementation, the community and rural dwellers would have cause to smile as infrastructure developments that would help them overcome abject poverty would be brought to their door steps.
She, however, lamented that poverty remained the most critical problem bedeviling the rural and even urban communities despite God-given rich natural resources that had been left underutilized or abandoned.
She noted that local governments had critical roles to play in maximizing the potentialities for the development of the communities, hence the CDSP’s decision to collaborate with the council secretaries and leaders on how to meet the needs of the people “since they are closer to them and know their needs.”
She called on the executive secretaries and the stakeholders to rise up to the occasion by joining forces with the CSDP in project implementation initiatives to ensure social and infrastructural development in their domains and make life meaningful for their people:
“The goal of the agency is to reduce poverty level in rural communities in order to make life worthy of living for the rural poor, especially the poorest of the poor. What we are doing at O-CSDP is a community and human development programme funded by the state government and the World Bank, but the community beneficiaries are partially involved in the counterpart funding.
“That is why we called ourselves together today to pool and aggregate ideas on how to accelerate more social and infrastructural development for the people. It is the community people that can identify the basic facilities that they need and request for them; then the agency gives them the opportunity to benefit through partnership and programme implementation.”
The focus of the development agenda on the front burner of the workshop included education, health, water, rural electricity, transportation and environment. No fewer than 350 communities had benefitted from micro projects across all the local government areas in the state between 2009 and 2017.
Chairman, Board of Directors, O-CSDP, Musa Abdulrahman, told Daily Sun: “O-CSDP has generally impacted positively in different communities in Osun through our interventions in the provision of electricity, roads, sinking of boreholes, construction of civic centres, health facilities among others. But our interventions can be visible if only local government officials, particularly the executive secretaries and other stakeholders, joins forces with us to execute approved projects.
“The highest intervention we have is electrification projects. People are clamouring seriously for electricity, potable water and good roads. Rural dwellers need electricity for their vocational skills in blacksmithing, fish rearing and drying, barbing, hairdressing among others.
“We are trying our best to ensure that communities that seek O-CSDP’s intervention get the necessary infrastructure promptly, especially electricity, to actualise their dreams. That is the basic reason this workshop was organised to brainstorm on how to go about it.
“We also take care of the vulnerable people in the communities, including the physically challenged. We grant them soft loans with which they can start business capable of empowering them financially to eke out a living. Our financial limit in the execution of projects is N10million. Anything above this amount is handled by the state government.”
He added that lack of adequate power supply had been the major challenge faced by industrialists, small-scale industries and business owners, artisans among others. This, he said, accounted for the rising rate of unemployment:
“If energy problem is solved and the populace have access to a steady power supply, then they can embark on small scale businesses to make ends meet. Industrialists, manufacturers, artisans such as barbers, hairdressers, pepper and tomatoes grinders will be able to operate without depending on generator sets that use petrol or diesel to generate power.
“It is in view of this that O-CSDP focuses on electricity projects, especially in rural areas. We do this mainly by providing transformers and other equipment, especially for communities that lost theirs to damage or those that have never had access to electricity at all.”
Secretary, Ede South Local Government, Johnson Ojo, said: “Every community in our council must explore the benefits of O-CSDP projects. Electricity is our major concern in Ago Poly and Surulere areas of the state. We have challenges of gully erosion in some parts of my council. This is one of the areas that I will liaise with the O-CSDP to proffer solution.”
Omoboyede Jaiyeola, secretary, Ejigbo South Development Area, pledged his communities’ commitment to O-CSDP projects through implementation initiatives as well as readiness to maintain project facilities that would be provided for the people by the agency.