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This study takes a critical examination and evaluation of the poverty alleviation programme
through community-action in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State. Utilizing system
theory as a our explanatory guide, the study contends that poverty alleviation programmes in
Orsu communities have failed to impact positively on the lives of Orsu dwellers owing
significantly to such inherent systemic problems in Nigeria like poor funding of projects,
corruption and mismanagement of the available resources among numerous others. As such
Orsu dwellers have continued to wallow in abject poverty with its attendant problems such as
high rate of child and maternal mortality, prostitution, malnutrition and high rate of ruralurban
migration among numerous others. Arising from the above therefore the study
recommends for democratization of the choice for community leaders who are vast in
experience and knowledgeable enough to determine appropriate poverty alleviation
programmes to be conceived and where to locate them. It is equally the recommendation of
this study that different levels of government especially Orsu Local Government Council and
Imo State Government should not only endeavour to finance communal conceived poverty
alleviation projects but also allow for greater indigenous participation in their sponsored
poverty alleviation projects. Finally, this study recommends for the poverty alleviation
project monitoring committee to be set-up by Imo State government in synergy with Orsu
Local Government Council that would ensure efficient management of the available
resources in the execution of government and communal poverty alleviation projects.
1.1 Background of the Study
The topic of study “Poverty Alleviation Through Community Action” is
encompassing. It is a general phenomenon in the world. Furthermore, the vital feature of the
most Third World countries today is the yawning gap existing between the urban and rural
areas, in terms of provision of basic amenities and infrastructures. This backdrop situation
has remarkably remained unabated especially in Africa despite the strategic importance of the
rural areas to national development and emancipation. For instance, rural areas in Nigeria are
know to have accounted for about 80 percent of foreign exchange earnings and 70 percent of
government revenues (UNNDP, 2008). But, it is sad to note that rural areas in Nigeria have
been bedevilled with an untold hardship, endemic poverty and protracted squalor, and its
consequent side effects on national planning and development
Successive Nigerian governments (colonial, indigenous civilian and military) had
indeed, initiated a number of rural based development programmes designed to enhance or
improve the living standard of the grassroots and to stem the tide of rural poverty (Mchombu,
1992). Surprisingly, however, the current poverty level and poor state of rural development in
Nigeria reflects cumulative default in policy formulation, planning and implementation right
from the colonial period (Chigbo, 1999). The colonial ten year plan of Development and
Welfare for Nigeria (1946-1959) had indeed represented the first attempt at National
development planning and poverty alleviation. Thus, a significant proportion or the country’s
wealth during the plan period was devoted to the development and in improvement of social
infrastructures in both the urban and rural areas. The plan among other issues recognized the
need for physical development of the country. Country and town planning according to the
plan documents were not intended to cover merely the expansion and designing of big towns,
but will extend to all parts of the rural areas of Nigeria (Little, 1987). But suffice the
foregoing, national and rural development effort to assert that the British Colonial
government had no systematic programme for rural development and poverty alleviation.
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