In addressing this topic; Rural Poverty Alleviation, it is necessary to define each of the words in this phrase. Efforts will therefore be made to clearly describe/define the following words; Rural, Poverty, and Alleviation. WHAT IS RURAL?
To define what is rural is daunting task, because the word rural is an inexact term that can mean different thing to different people. For example, what is considered rural in a place like United States of America and United Kingdom may not resemble what is considered rural in a place like Nigeria and other West Africa countries. However, for the purpose of this paper efforts will be made to describe the word Rural and the general Characteristics of rural areas. Rural is the opposite of urban or city; it refers to a place with small population size and consists of homogeneous people whose primary occupation is agriculture. Rural area is characterized with open spaces and scattering villages. There are other features of rural areas that that are Nigeria specific but which may not qualify as standard feature of rural areas in other nations of the world like United States of America and United Kingdom. For instance, illiteracy is one of the characteristics of Nigeria rural population; More than 90 percent of rural people are predominantly illiterates. Again, lack of safe water, and other basic infrastructure, such as primary health care, road network are all features of Nigeria rural areas. The United Kingdom National Statistics describe Rural thus; rural areas are generally observed to have particular attributes which give them distinctive character. These attributes include tracts of open countryside, low population densities, a scattering of small to medium size settlements, less developed transport infrastructure and lack of access to services and amenities especially of the type provided in large urban centers. WHAT IS POVERTY?
In order to know what helps to alleviate poverty, it is important to describe or define what poverty is. Poverty is hunger. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness and not being able to send a child to school. Poverty is also a lack shelter. In the World Bank reports, 1995 and 2001, Barker made the following observation regarding poverty definition: ‘’ No one common definition of poverty is accepted by all countries. Poverty is generally categorized as material deprivation. Generally, poverty is defined as the state of being poor or deficient in money or means of subsistence (Barker 1995). Increasingly, the concept of basic subsistence is measured by the availability of infrastructure services, such as safe water, sanitation, solid-waste collection and disposal, storm drainage, public transportation, access roads and footpaths, street lighting, and public telephones. In some countries, other neighborhood amenities such as safe play areas, community facilities, electrical connections, and social services become important in helping increase the standard of living so that the poor can break the cycle of poverty (World Bank 2001). Now breaking away from cycle of poverty is another way of saying alleviating poverty. WHAT IS ALLEVIATION?
To alleviate is to make something less painful; it is to take measure (s) to cause reduction in the painful effect of something. That something is poverty, and the essence of this work is to critically examine and conduct a research on Rural Poverty Alleviation in Nigeria. The research problems are:
(1) What are the factors that are responsible for rural poverty and (2) How can rural poverty in Nigeria be alleviated.
The objective of this research is to identify some of the factors that are contributing to the rural poverty and to come up with the recommendations on how the rural poverty can be alleviated in Nigeria. FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO RURAL POVERTY
The dramatic increase in...