What is development? Undoubtedly it means different things to different people. At the end of the day though there is one thing that must happen. The life of the beneficiary needs to be made better on a certain level in a manner that is sustainable. Some may say that only applies to a specific kind of development. Sustainable development. We would argue that development needs to do a number of things: 1) raise the consciousness of the individual or community about the issue at hand; 2) analyse the issue in a scientific manner but also take account of the culture concerned; and 3) collectively suggest solutions that are accepted as benefitting the individual and community as a whole. Consensus and Stakeholdership (if there is such a word) are key.
Its not one party simple instructing another. Its a consultation. Its throwing the issues out there, discussing them and coming up with solutions collectively. The solutions are not just ideas, although they start as ideas, the solutions needs to be implemented with an action plan that can be executed on the ground and can be carried on. It needs to be possible for the people in question. It needs to be organic. It needs to make sense. Several parties need to contribute and benefit from it.
We saw this clearly when conducting our case study on the Home Grown School feeding program in Kano. The Kano State school feeding programme commenced in 1999 and is estimated to feed over 1,600,000 pupils enrolled in all public primary schools in the State. The programme has not been continuous it stops and starts and is affected by changes in administration.
However, the strengths of the programme lie in the fact that it is community-based and community-run. The structure of the programme ensures that the funds are used for the implementation of the programme. Like any programme it has its challenges, but they are being worked on, and the success in terms of feeding children, providing employment to caterers, and increasing literacy rates in Kano State has been unquestionable.