CSDP: A decade of community-driven development

MRS. Ronke Ajimoke gave birth to her first child in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. She decided to go to her remote village for her second baby. What could make an educated and “city mother” want to give birth in a village hospital?  Mrs. Ajimoke said of the Cottage Hospital in her village, “I heard a lot of women had successful delivery in this hospital, the hospital’s services, environment and equipment are good, where NEPA (PHCN)  goes off, the solar system comes to the rescue and I have confirmed it with the treatment I got”.  She went on to add that “The hospital can meet the standard of any medical centre in the city that is why I decided to come here for my second baby”.

It is the Omupo Cottage Hospital built by the people of the community through an assistance from a partnership between the Federal Government , the Kwara State Government, and the World Bank. The partnership is christened, Community and Social Development Project (CSDP). How did this partnership that is not only enjoyed in Kwara State but also in the FCT and 28 other states started?

The partnership between the federal and state governments with the World Bank birthed the idea of Community and Social Development Project (CSDP). Since 2009, when this laudable initiative was inaugurated in Nigeria, it has been working to develop social and natural resources at the grassroots level through interventions in multi-sectoral areas of  the rural economy, like water, education, environment, gender and vulnerable, health, Electrification, Transport and Community Housing etc.

CSDP, now in its last phase of the World Bank assistance, adopts a unique development model, Community Driven Development (CDD), this bottom-top approach gives the people to whom the development is meant for, the power to decide. It empowers the people and place them as the pilots of development, hovering through the sky of progress that seeks to share prosperity amongst the rural poor and the vulnerable.

The Project’s Overall Performance and Impact report presented to the World Bank revealed that the CSDP has assisted 5,834 poor communities and groups implement 15,335 micro-projects mostly in the forgotten corners of Nigeria. This translate to about twenty-three million people with access to these social services in 558 Local Government Areas and Area Councils in Nigeria.

Today, there are a total of 4,303 water micro projects that includes boreholes, water collection points etc,  2,898 education projects for primary and secondary schools. Socio economic projects make up  1,993  projects. The CSDP has assisted communities and groups with  1,790  projects in the Health sector, the Rural Transportation sector has 1,716 micro projects while Environment and Natural Resources Conservation has 939 projects.

The CSDP has also assisted communities with  1,576  electricity  projects in form of provision of Transformers, connecting to National Grid, provision of electricity wires etc and  120 community Housing projects mostly in the North East has provided shelter and countered insurgency in a way you cannot imagined. No wonder,  Prof A.O Falusi aptly captured it when he noted that the “CDD is the beginning of true development in Nigeria”

Beyond these figures, is the story of Fawangu Fala community in Arewa Local Government Area of Kebbi State, where the people hitherto use camels and Donkeys to fetch unsafe water from deep wells for domestic use. The narrative changed when CSDP assisted them. The solar powered borehole they got has replaced the Camels, the 250m reticulation in the village now supplies clean water and when you campaign regular washing of hand to wade off COVID-19, there is clean water to do that. 

The Village Head of Fawangu Fala community, Alh. Isah Fawangu expressed the community’s happiness, saying, ”With CSDP intervention, we feel as if we are no more in the desert because we now have clean water and we are healthier now”

Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa, who nurtured the CSDP from birth to date is the World Bank Task Team Leader (TTL) for the project and said “one of the goals of the project is to empower and train the local people as well as sell the CDD to Nigeria”. 

The Plateau State CDD story confirms this. The state government had embraced the CDD concept as a pathway to development. They are not alone in this, Taraba State too. Prof. Okunmadewa had during a visit to Plateau State, praised the State Government for replicating the CDD model. “Plateau State is a shining example of one of the goals of the project, replicating CDD,” he said.

Dr. Abdulkarim Obaje, the National Coordinator of CSDP sums up achievements of CSDP and posited that the project has brought governance close to the rural poor and indeed one project that can assist President Muhammadu Buhari’s goal of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade.

Indeed the CSDP has impacted positively on many rural areas in Nigeria including Akaibiri in Bayelsa state and Kula Mana, a deseart community in Yobe State.

Many a beneficiary have praised the CSDP including key stakeholders. Leading the pack, is Adamawa State Governor, Umaru Fintiri who said his people are benefiting from the CSDP.

In fact, it has been widely reported in the media that the Forum of North East Speakers of House of Assembly, speaking for the poor and vulnerable people in the zone, applauded CSDP and even visited the Minister of Finance and her Humanitarian Affairs counterpart, Hajiya Zainab Ahmad and Hajiya Sadiya Umar respectively, and requesting the continuation of the CSDP after its scheduled closing date

CSDP has succeeded significantly in improving the access of rural poor to social and natural resources infrastructure services in all sectors of intervention. This is done through enhancing social capital such as joining of groups/associations and participation in their activities by community members.

The CSDP closes soon and the federal coordinating office of the project, the Federal Project Support Unit (FPSU)  has been designated by the Federal Government of Nigeria to coordinate and fund preparations of the proposed Nigeria COVID 19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) which is expected to fill some of the gaps that CSDP closure may cause and mitigate on the shocks from the effect of COVID 19 pandemic in Nigeria.

Many a beneficiary of CSDP, see the project as an example of how governance should work. It is participatory, which is one of the hallmarks of democracy.

  • Odapu is Information and Communication Officer, Federal Project Support Unit, Community and Social Development Project, Abuja
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