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THE ROLE OF FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS IN POVERTY ALLEVIATION IN RURAL COMMUNITIES THE CASE STUDY
1.1 Background to the Study
More than a billion people, live in extreme poverty (Collier, 2007). Both scholars and policymakers have proposed that entrepreneurship is an effective means for economic development and poverty alleviation in impoverished and lower income regions of the world (Mead and Liedholm, 1998).
Hill and Mcgowan (1999) opined that, entrepreneurship is seen as a process which involves the effort of an individual (or individuals) in identifying viable business opportunities in an environment and obtaining and managing the resources needed to exploit those opportunities. Similarly, Timmons and Spinelli (2004) see entrepreneurship as the function of been creative and responsive within and to the environment. He stated further that entrepreneurship activity is a destabilizing force, which starts the process of “creative destruction” which is the essence of economic development. According to Ogundele (2005) entrepreneurship can be define as the processes of emergence, behavior and performance of entrepreneurs. He notes that a focus on entrepreneurship is a focus on the processes involved in the initiation of a new organization, the behavior of such organization and its performance in terms of profit made.
Entrepreneurship is believed to be an important mechanism of economic growth and development. Their role is to promote prosperity by creating new jobs, reducing unemployment and increase economic growth and development of a region. They also increase productivity by bringing new innovation and speed up structural changes by forcing existing business to reform and increase competition. Baron (2007).According to Drucker (1985) entrepreneurship is perceptiveness to change and the entrepreneur as one, who always search for change, respond to and exploit it as an opportunity. Drucker noted that entrepreneurship is a practical behaviour. It is a discipline and like any discipline, it can be learned.
A concise and universally accepted definition of poverty is elusive largely because it affects many aspects of the human conditions including physical, moral and psychological. Different criteria have, therefore been used to conceptualize poverty. Most analysis follows the conventional view of poverty as a result of insufficient income for securing basic goods and services. Other views poverty, in part as a function of education, health, life expectancy, child mortality e.t.c. According to Blackwood and Lynch (1994), they identified the poor using the criteria of the level of consumption and expenditure. Poverty can be refer to as entitlement which are taken to be the various bundles of goods and services over which one has consumed , taking into cognizance the means by which such goods are acquired (for example, money and coupon e.t.c) and the availability of the needed goods (Sen, 1983). According to World Bank (1996) he see poverty in very broad term such as being unable to meet basic needs requirements’-(physical: food, healthcare, education, shelter e.t.c and non physical: participation, identity e.t.c) for a meaningful life.
The history on poverty alleviation measures is very wide due to its vastness; it is believed that, there is no general consensus of any single definition of what it amounts to what can be called poverty. This can not be unconnected to the fact that poverty affects many aspects of human condition which can be physical, moral and psychological. However, some renowned analysis agreed with the conventional view of poverty as a result of insufficient income for securing basic goods and services, Sen (1981), Amis and Rakodi (1994). Other analysts view poverty in terms of education, health, life expectancy, child mortality, etc (Balami, 1999). For the purpose of this study, this researcher is concerned with poverty in terms of meeting the “basic needs” of the people such as food, health care, education and shelter. There are many types of poverty as the definition of poverty will further entail absolute poverty as quoted by Balami (1999) refers to the lack of the minimum physical requirements of a person or a household for existence, so extreme that those affected are no longer in a position to live “a life worthy of human dignity”. Relative poverty refers to a person or household whose provision with goods is lower than that of other persons or households (Balami, 1999). The concept of relative poverty states that because of the distribution structures in a society, certain economic subjects are disadvantaged to an unacceptable extent. As quoted by Balami (1999) conjectural poverty is a temporary phenomenon into which normally self-sufficient individuals are through in crises while structural poverty is long term and normally caused by individual circumstance. Poverty is also categorized as either chronic or transitory. A chronically poor household is poor throughout but if it is only some of the time then it is transitory poor.
On the other hand, poverty has been classified into generalized poverty, island poverty and case poverty. Generalized poverty refers to pervasive poverty which is common. Island poverty is that which exist in the midst of plenty such as Nigeria’s which the World Bank (1996) considers a paradox. Poverty in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council can be associated with case poverty which is associated to urban and urban poverty which are due to slumps, ghettos and shanties which are largely caused by environmental degradation, inadequate welfare service, social deprivation, low per capital income, overcrowded accommodation, low level of education, low level of capital resources and non-formal capital for business, Balami (1999).Also, the weather condition within the metropolis has contributed largely to the poverty level, for instance, during the month of March to June the weather condition is too hot for normal economic, social and political activities thereby living at the mercy of essential activities to the opportune few who can afford hence, making life unbearable to the densely populated city. During this, period most of the local cottage industries do not function properly. The rainfall within the metropolis is too short. Even when it comes, it is usually accompanied by a poor distribution that only short duration crops could thrive there. This contribute to seasonal employment to the large influx of people trooping to the metropolis because farming activities is not much lucrative in the rural areas, thus affecting the income level of people within the metropolis negatively. The indiscriminate influx of non-indigenes and foreigners from neighbouring cities into Ikot Ekpene Road in search of employment has added more problems to the indigenes both in terms of employment, security and cost of living. There is little encouragement to investors where the state of insecurity by foreigners abounds largely. However, this study made an evaluation of poverty alleviation measures among youths in Ikot Ekpene local government area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigeria is ravaged, not with war this time, but poverty. In the 60s, when our economy was purely based on agriculture, our poverty level was measured by the absence of food in our homes. And of course, there was no poverty for there was always food as our farmers had nothing else to do than to produce enough food for themselves and others around them. No one was hungry. Everybody had enough to eat and sell to the extent that much of our agricultural products were even exported to other African, American and European countries. The discovery of oil and solid minerals changed what used to be an agricultural country to an oil rich nation. Our agricultural sector was then neglected because of our newly discovered natural resources and so poverty assumes a proportion that only the poor could see. Today, our streets are filled with men, women and even children fronting for their parents in begging for money and even food. The poor who operate behind the scene have taken to armed robbery, gambling, 419 and cheating in their offices. Everybody seems poor. Many families cannot afford one good meal in a day. Children are withdrawn from schools. Families resort to herbal medicine for treatment each time a member of the family falls sick. There is massive unemployment from peasant to university graduates. There is corruption even in high places. There are religious riots and ethnic clashes to contend with trouble here and there. The governments at the three levels have realized these problems and in an attempt to alleviate poverty, designed the poverty alleviation schemes.
1.3. Research questions
- What is the relationship between female entrepreneurial skills and poverty alleviation in rural communities
- What is the relationship between female entrepreneur’s activities and creation of jobs opportunities in rural communities
- What is the relationship between problems inhibiting the efficient implementation of poverty alleviation programmes among the female entrepreneurs in rural communities
1.4. Objectives of the Study
- To examine the relationship between female entrepreneurial skills and poverty alleviation in rural communities
- To examine the relationship between female entrepreneur’s activities and creation of jobs opportunities in rural communities
- To examine the relationship between problems inhibiting the efficient implementation of poverty alleviation programmes among the female entrepreneurs in rural communities
1.5. Statement of the hypothesis
- There is no relationship between female entrepreneurial skills and poverty alleviation in rural communities?
- There is no relationship between female entrepreneur’s activities and creation of jobs opportunities in rural communities?
- There is no relationship between problems inhibiting the efficient implementation of poverty alleviation programmes among the female entrepreneurs in rural communities?
1.4 Significance of the Study
In view of the fact that there has been growing skepticism about the success of the poverty alleviation schemes, the researcher believes that a study of this nature will contribute to knowledge by revealing the truth and clear the doubt usually expressed on the performance of the schemes. The mounting criticism that the poverty alleviation measures are deceit programmes to siphon government treasury rather than poverty reduction will also be assessed.
In the policy significance, a research of this kind will reveal the actual success of the poverty alleviation programmes. With this, government and other policy makers will have a conceptual framework towards designing policies relating to poverty alleviation matters. The study also contributes to the knowledge of those who are willing to conduct similar researches in the area. On a general note, a study of this kind tends to reveal the extent of success and failures of the programmes and further give suggestions on how the poverty alleviation schemes can be meaningful so that Nigerians can benefit and live a worthy life.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
In the course of carrying out this study, a number of constraints were encountered. Much time was spent on carrying out this research study from the printing and distribution of questionnaires to the target population, rather than whole population which was difficult to do. Funding in carrying out this research involves a lot of money. This includes travelling from one town to the other gathering vital data for the study; money was expended on the printing of questionnaire, typesetting and binding of the research work into a booklet.
However, the researcher was faced with the problem of some respondents not co-operating fully in the providing answers to the questionnaire, seeing the exercise as an unnecessary distraction from their businesses. There was also the problem of some respondents having misconception about the whole exercise, because they thought providing certain information about them on issues were going to implicate them.
The availability of some vital materials for the study was not without difficulties. Vital documents like journals, literature and other relevant sources of secondary data collection were encountered with some degree of hardship. Accessing the Internet for vital and relevant data was also not easy. However, in spite of the limitations, the overall objectives of the research were accomplished, as solutions were provided to tackle limitations.
1.8 Scope of the Study
The study was restricted to make an evaluation into the role of female entrepreneurs in poverty Alleviation in rural communities the case study of kuje. Spatially, this work was delimited to female entrepreneurs in Kuje local government area
1.9 Operational Definition of terms
Entrepreneurs: The people who create new businesses
Entrepreneurship: it is the capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit
Poverty: these refer to the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs such as food, clothing and shelter.
Alleviation: it is the action or process of making suffering, deficiency, or a problem less severe.
Community Development: is a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems through entrepreneurship. Rural Development: is the process of improving the quality of life and economic well-being of people living in rural areas