ASSESSMENT OF THE EXTENT OF UTILIZATION OF EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR MOBILIZING RURAL WOMEN FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The study was designed to assess the extent of utilization of effective strategies for mobilizing rural women for community development in Abia Central Senatorial Zone of Abia State. The specific purposes of the study were to find out the extent of utilization of communication strategy in mobilizing rural women for community development; find out the extent of utilization of women association in mobilizing rural women for community development; and also to find out the extent of utilization of functional literacy education in mobilizing rural women for community development. The study was guided by 3 research questions and 3 null hypotheses; the design for the study was descriptive survey research design and the population of the study was 7,802 members of the 19 registered women associations in the 6 local government areas in Abia Central Senatorial Zone of Abia State. Stratified random technique was used and 708 members were sampled. A 19 item questionnaire was developed and administered to the respondents. The instrument was validated by 3 experts and its overall reliability coefficient was 0.77. The data collected were analyzed using simple percentage for the bio-data of the respondent, weighted mean for analyzing the 3 research questions while t- test was used to test the 3 null hypotheses formulated for the study. The data analysis revealed that communication to a very high extent in mobilizing rural women for community development through early morning jingles on the radio, motion pictures on community development displayed on bill boards, drama on radio/TV, multi-media strategy and early morning town criers/messengers has helped the women to know their civic rights, has knowledge for personal hygiene and participate ractively in community development. The analysis also revealed that women associations have been utilized to a high extent in mobilizing rural women for community development by different women associations like Umuada, Christian women associations etc through organizing conferences, seminars, workshop, self-help project for the women, providing them with basic literacy education, sensitizing them on prevention of HIV/AIDS, malaria and importance of immunization. By serving as a medium for dissemination of information to the rural women on health issues, gathering them for self-help environmental refuse clean up, lending money to their members through collective contribution, awareness creation and also in raising money for building of markets, maternity homes through launching etc. The result of the data analysis revealed that education helps in improving their living standard, provides them with functional literacy skills, raises their awareness on family planning, and makes them to be self-reliant. They also identified also that it helps in raising their consciousness on environmental issues, equip them with necessary civic knowledge politically and equip them with necessary employability skills.