Making an impact in rural areas begins from the grassroots, Oberaifo Udoh – Director, Oberaifo Udoh Foundation and Business Management Consultant.
Some remote communities in Africa are occupied by people with low standards of living. Non-governmental organisations strive to introduce sustainable development into these rural communities. The goal is to improve the standard of living in these communities and grant the locals access to better productivity. This helps sustain them and their communities at large.
What are Grassroots initiatives?
Grassroots initiatives are strictly based on impacting communities and improving their quality of life. They are formed when people in certain communities unite, recognise, and choose to address the social and economic issues they face in their jurisdiction. Donations or financial support from agencies, activists, and volunteers are required for Grassroots initiatives to be sustained and nurtured.
Roles of Grassroots Initiatives
People living in remote communities are empowered with knowledge and skills in academics, farming, health, or finances. Schools are built and renovated; chairs, tables, books, pencils, and other basic amenities schools need to run properly. Students are educated on the latest trends in the educational sphere. Adults are also educated on financial strategies like savings and investments, while the farmers are also introduced to modern ways of farming. They are also provided with seeds and equipment to practice what they learn.
Financial support -
Financial grants are awarded to remote communities to enable them to become self-reliant. Farmers are given new equipment that would improve their farming operations and boost their finances. Rural farmers provide a larger percentage of the raw materials and food supplied to a whole nation; therefore, they deserve access to better finances and standards of living. They are also introduced to new and more profitable strategies to run their farming business with utmost efficiency, such as adopting modern farming technologies.
Economic growth -
People living in remote communities are isolated from the resources that urban areas have access to; therefore, their growth and development are of major concern. Since the social and economic development of a community determines the level of progress and impact it makes, Grassroots is developed to seek solutions to the poor economic conditions of remote communities through aid, sponsors, and donations.
Human rights -
Grassroots initiatives have brought awareness of fundamental human rights to remote community dwellers. When people are enlightened about their rights, it will help them make better negotiations. For instance, they are enlightened on their right to fight against public exploitation of their lands and resources. It’s no news that the exploitation of rural communities by government or private agencies has been a huge challenge, especially in Africa. If Grassroots initiatives aren't created, many communities will be in utter despair and degradation.
Political exposure -
Irrespective of the fact that some individuals reside in remote communities, they deserve to be exposed to their political rights and contributions to society. Local governments that work hand in hand with Grassroots can access remote communities and introduce political ideas and knowledge to them.
Many people living in poor, remote communities are exposed to different diseases because they cannot afford or have access to modern medications and vaccines, soaps, clean water, etc. Proper hygiene is difficult to attain in extreme poverty. Grassroots initiatives provide medications, mosquito nets, insecticides, and disinfectants for these people to improve their health and environmental conditions.
Also, the disabled and aged individuals who are extremely vulnerable are provided with adequate support to make them more proactive and benefit fully from the values provided to the community.
Local Infrastructure -
Grassroots initiatives provide basic infrastructures, renovate and rebuild properties, repair bad roads, and build public toilets and drainage systems for dwellers in remote communities. The most common infrastructure initiative is building a borehole to provide clean water for people. These provisions are possible through the help of sponsors and donors.
Grassroots initiatives have made tremendous impacts in several remote communities worldwide, empowering poor people and upgrading their knowledge, values, and lifestyles. In Nigeria and Africa as a whole, this approach is beginning to gain more ground as many remote rural communities are benefitting from it.