Forming Cross-Sectorial Alliance For Sustainable Community Development: Lessons from the SPDC/USAID/IITA Cassava Enterprise Development Programme (CEDP) In Nigeria’s Niger Delta (Published)
The question of development especially in Third World countries like Nigeria has generated very strong debate among scholars from different disciplines. Globally, there is the realization that single sectors acting alone cannot solve the multidimensional development challenges in society. The emphasis on Cross Sector Partnerships (CSPs) as a model for addressing development challenges notwithstanding, studies are lacking in terms of the sustainability of such efforts at the community level. The aim of this study is to evaluate cross-sector partnership and sustainable development projects in the Niger Delta region, focusing on the USD11.7 million Cassava Enterprise Development Project (CEDP) partnership between Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Relying on the actor-network theory, Chi-Square Statistical Test (χ2) and Sustainability Assessment Model indicator (SAMi), the study reveals that even though CSPs more than single sector approach to community development are meant to provide effective knowledge and technology transfer to local people, the CEDP partnership failed to achieve this within a five year life-cycle. This is attributed to insufficient actor-networking between the partnership’s social structure and the project beneficiaries. This singular challenge created the necessary condition for progressive reduction in employment and income thereby constraining sustainability of the project. The study concludes that the CEDP is not sustainable since local people have insufficient capacity to manage the process after the project lifecycle. It is recommended that proper actor networking and expansive knowledge cum technology transfer should be considered in similar projects in the future.
Keywords: Actor Networking, Cassava Enterprise Development Programme, Cross Sector Partnerships, Niger Delta Region, Sustainable Community Development