Age Grade Association as an Agent of Rural Development


Age grade association has contributed immensely towards the upliftment of the local or rural areas living standard in so many with a case study of Nkpor-uno town, their roles have been indeed to be modernized and have sufficient funds to solve their problems. This solution has led to a more organized, large and strong group to areas of education, health, agriculture, social infrastructure and community project of members and community at large.

In the area of Agriculture, from the year 2000 to 2005, they introduce interest free facility programme to farmers. Farmers in the area or town then applied and used the loan in their agricultural farm to reach more crops and control pest in crops disease so as to improve the quality and standard of farm output and provide it in high quality for the consumption of rural dwellers and for commercial consumption so as to save enough from the sales. In addition they also provided fertilizers to their members on a cheaper rate and also enlightened farmers on agricultural extension and their members specifically.

In the area of education, in 1990 the association, constructed the only secondary school in the town and gave it out to the community and the community has been using it as their girls secondary school but late made it a mixed school for both the boys and girls so as to help educate their children and make them be equipped with knowledge that will help them face the challenges of life.

In the area of health, the association (Age Grade) has also tried to lift health the delivery or service with in the town. After the inception of Age Grade association in town in the 1970, the age grade association. In 1975 sourced for fund from external borrowing and added to their levy, monthly contribution fine and grant collected from friends as well as well wishers to construct a mini health care center. They donated this health care centre to the town’s union for the improvement of child delivery and keeping of drugs which will aid incurring malaria, which has been a killer disease. This health center has now become the toburis general hospital after little modification and construction of some other buildings.


There are several sources of finance to Age Grade Association. The sources of finance were grouped into two main headings namely; internal and external sources.

  1. Internal Source: This is the source with in the coffers of the Age Grade Association to generate revenue into their purse. They sources revenue from this source without moving out from the association. Example of these sources the monthly 1 yearly contribution, levy, fine, penalty and sales of the association’s property or asset.
  2. External Source: The external source involves the association moving out to outside bodies to generate revenue into their purse. These source comprises of mainly loans, grant etc.

Age grade association is the grouping of people especially males born in a community within a certain range of years. Women age grade association exist with some conditions in some areas but not too much popularly known.

It can been seen as a part of a social system like we have school, churches, and political parties in Nigeria specifically in the eastern region. As a social system, it is bound to conform to the general norms of the society. The association seeks one way or the other to better the well being of their communities in general.

Age grade the said to be open institutions but can be closed institution because the membership of each association only be drawn from a relative small group whose birth rate falls within a certain range. For instance, an age grade association can be organized for men born between 1945 to 1950, this implies that any person who was born within these years is free to be a member of that age grade, while those born outside that age range are excluded from been members. In some places, the years gap are usually long. e.g. 1940 to 1955.

There are some variations in size of the associations, which some have only twenty members, others can have up to fifty or sixty members in the case of Nkpor Uno town in Idemili Local Government Area. For one to become a member of an age grade association, there are certain conditions he has to fulfill. Example is the payment of registration fees ranging from 100 to 200 depending on sizes, environment and agreement, in most age grades new members also have to offered entertainment/ refreshment to the group which include palm wine, bee, minerals, kola-nuts and even food.

Different age grade associations have different specific objectives but one common thing among them is the promotion of unity among members and promotion of peace in the community.

Age grade association also seek to promote the economic security of members, and socio economic progress of the community as a whole (Obimu 1986).

Age grade association perform certain economic functions, many of them sponsored the construction of market, schools, motor park and roads as a means of boosting trade in their locations, they have successfully extended meaningful project like construction of network of roads and bridges there by facilitating inter-village communications as well as easy evaluation at no or low cost. This means that most of the development projects were carried out through community self help effort.


Government alone cannot achieve success in rural upliftment/development without the full support and co-operative of the people, if rural development is for the benefit of the people then they must be put first, and outing them in participation and deciding what they want. Community participation is important because it has many advantages.

Firstly, it is observed that many development projects take off faster when the beneficiaries are involved, in its planning and its implementation. This is because there is usually greater enthusiastic than in the case when government or bureaucrats handle development projects.

Secondly, the people are eage to benefit from the project and are this prepared to do anything to ensure that the success of the project is achieved.

Another advantage is that it is cheaper to use the people through labour than the line labour. The people’s participation provides all the required information for planning process itself, while the acceptance of the project that brings about changes has higher chances.

Some of the self development project usually embarked upon includes roads, markets portable water supply and health care facilities, school electricity and agricultural development.

According to Odiukemdu (1989), some project are usually financed by the citizens of the community concerned or set atimes in collaboration with the local government or state government agencies. Such projects are carried out by individuals or organizations like age grade communities equally or also levy members of finance development projects and through this effort, many communities have succeeded in building of schools, town halls, repairing of roads, clinics and markets.

The people equally from series of co-operative societies to better their living conditions and that of the communities.

Establishment of better life for rural women programs was very helpful to the rural dwellers, many of the rural women engaged themselves in small scale activities of different kinds such as garri processing, soap making, cloth weaving, craft and multi-craft production.

Since the advert of the directorate for foods, roads and rural infrastructure (DFRRI), most of the infrastructural problems of these rural areas were being alleviated because the government through its agencies provides funds and machinery for infrastructural project while the communities provide labour. This has encouraged the people to participate more seriously in solving their problems.



Gubir (1963: 70) postulated that there are several problems encountered or faced in organizing rural development programmes. He also went further to opine that among all these numerous problems, finance (money) was a major set back which has lingered the organization of rural development programmes. In some occasions, the funds which government set aside for the organization of rural development programmes are always delayed before been approved for the implementation of the programmes proper.

He equally see politics as another serious problems, because of self ideological welfare, the atmosphere of self help get polluted and programmes without focusing on total needs of the community.

Then batten (1997) on his own part opined that lack of integration is an other problem faced in organizing rural dwellers are not allowed to participate in the implementation these programmes within their area and most times, the people themselves willingly play parochial role in the implementation of these programmes in the communities.

Another problem is the inadequate integration of local and national planning data and lack of efficiency to effect grassroots development.

Finally, another problem is the issue of leadership and lack of co-operation amount the rural dwellers, the contractors and the state or government.


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2 Comments on “Age Grade Association as an Agent of Rural Development”

  1. AWOYIBO DAVID says:

    please can i get the full work for this project

    1. Contact us on 07033378184

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