FUNDING OF SELF HELP PROJECTS AND FUND RAISING AND MANAGEMENT
Funding is a major factor which determines if development would take place anywhere in the world. Apart from availability of manpower, no other factor is as crucial as funds. A major problem in this respect is lack of adequate funds for development programme/project in many communities. The success of a programme hinge highly on fund for information/awareness campaign, supervision and monitoring of the programme (Adekeye, 2013).
More so, fund is necessary to supply equipment and labour. Many communities make efforts to embark on self- help programme but cannot implement such successfully because of limited funds. Such communities sometimes depend on grants from the government to supplement what they have contributed. However, the expected assistance from government might not be forth-coming or might come too late and is usually below the expectation of the communities. This often leads to abandonment of good projects midway. Moreover, many members of the communities might not fully cooperate to meet their financial obligations to the projects due to poverty or lack of interest. Many communities look forward to governments, Non- Governmental Organizations, philanthropists and other sources to bring development due to no means of funding projects internally. The problems that are inherent in the various projects/programmes are sustainability and citizen participation (Adekeye, 2013).
The notion of self-help groups has been seriously viewed as a means of developing local communities in view of the incapacitation of the government to provide all the necessities of life for the increasing population. Ghadoliya (2008) remarked that self help group is an instrument for economic empowerment. It is essentially a small voluntary association of poor people, preferably from the same socio-economic background that comes together for the purpose of solving their common problems through self-help. Malhar (2009) viewed it as small groups of people facing similar problems, helping each other to solve their problems with a reasonable level of education but helping local persons by taking the lead in mobilizing them. Paul (2011) described self help groups as collection of rural poor comprising of marginalized farmers, landless agricultural labourers, rural artisans, women folk and other micro-entrepreneurs who organize themselves for socio-economic development by raising initial capital supplemented in some cases by funds from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as seed money for issuing small emergency loans either for consumption, production purposes, or linking up with banks usually with the help of NGOs. In a related vein Lawal (2000) viewed self help group as farmers and entrepreneurs who voluntarily organized themselves and who utilized their own resources to undertake social and economic activities in order to address their common needs.
The understanding that government does not have the resources to provide for all their needs is the driving force towards this move which has been successful in some part and has led to the growth of such communities (Ali, 2006; Ayuba, 2006; Paul, 2011). Therefore, self help group exist for development purpose, particularly in the rural areas not only in Nigeria but also in the developing countries. There are socio-economic benefits attached to such groups in that they enable rural people to accumulate savings and access credit which banks are increasingly willing to lend (Wilson, 2002). Moreover, it has been discovered that such groups through their activities assist in boosting liquidity positions of the banks, which are participating in the programme through mobilization. Self help groups have made a lasting impact on the lives of people particularly in the rural areas and has improved the quality of lives of many and there is an increase in their consumption expenditure (Lawal, 2000). Besides, it has been observed that the self-help groups have created better understanding between the members of different religious groups as the members belong to different religions (Gaonkar, 2004). Further still, Khatibi and Indira ( 2011) observed that self help project today played a vital role in poverty alleviation through empowerment.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The issue of finance has been at the forefront of the major hindrances and setbacks to self help projects in many communities across Nigeria. The Financial Accountability Assessment (FAA) for Nigeria revealed that the systems for developing self help projects are not only functions of planning and budgeting but that of managing public resources which have deteriorated to the level that they do not provide any reasonable assurance that funds (finance) raised are used for the intended purpose.
Obodoechi (2006) posits that the biggest problem of any project development of any size is finance which is one of the elements or factors of production. He further put that it is the project developer’s capacity or power for mobilizing required land, labour force, materials, plant and supervisory staff necessary to organize any development project which cannot be done without adequate funds.
Financing of developmental project consists of identifying and engaging a professionally qualified project accountant, preparation of financial procedure manual, implementation of computerized financial management systems but unfortunately many self help initiatives/projects do not follow this process which has led to mismanagement of funds and thereby discouraging people and government from supporting a self help group. These issues have made it necessary that at community level, appropriate financial accountability arrangements should be developed and maintained to ensure that funds are used only for the purpose intended. It is against this backdrop that this study seeks to investigate the sources of funding self help projects and fund raising/management.
1.4 Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study is to examine sources of funding self help projects and fund raising/management. Other specific objectives of this study are to:
1) To examine the impact of funds on self help projects.
2) To explore the effect of financial mismanagement on self help projects.
3) To find out the different sources of funds which are available to self help projects.
4) To investigate the impact of self help projects on community development.
5) Lastly, the study shall provide plausible recommendations on how to better manage self help funds.