Contributions of womens social clubs to community development in Rivers State, Nigeria
This study was carried out to examine the contributions of women social clubs in the Development of Communities in Akuku-Toru, Asari-Toru and Degema Local Government Areas of Rivers State, Nigeria. The objective was to identify the number of registered women social clubs in the areas, their community development activities and projects and the perception of the residents of the communities. Based on the programmes of the women social clubs, data were collected from 67 registered women social clubs, 670 club members and 340 community residents. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. The analysis revealed that Akuku-Toru had the highest number of registered women social clubs. Majority of the women social clubs were established between 1966 and 1998, and membership of most of the club was small and below 50. The women social clubs were community-based. They derived their funds from mostly dues and levies. The income of members of the clubs was low, consequently the clubs have not been able to embark on many projects. They concentrate mostly in activities that promote members’ welfare. The activities of 100% of the clubs were mostly social. Some also engaged in community outreach programmes and cultural activities. The few projects embarked upon were renovation of Secondary School Assembly hall, Town hall, construction of Pit latrines, waiting rooms, footbridge, etc. The mean response of community residents indicate that although the women social clubs were involved in community development activities, they have not performed tremendously well. It was recommended that Government should adopt more measures to remove the social structures that keep women in subordination. The National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) should organize programmes to sensitize women. The economic empowerment of women in Kalabari land will increase the involvement of the social clubs in community development projects. The Local Government Councils in the area should also render financial assistance to the women social clubs in their bid to develop their communities.
Key words: women social clubs, community development