Rural development. In the whole region of sub Sahara Africa poverty is said to be a rural affair. This is true for most countries including Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Nigeria and on and on. Now if the African people, through their leaders, really want to reduce poverty and eventually eradicate it then a number of basic requirements should be met.
When taking a case of a country, one will realise that this phenomenon applies to almost all African countries with some little differences from one country to another. Poverty, according to research in Tanzania, is a rural affair. The majority of the people in the rural areas depend on agriculture for their livelihood. If true development is to be realized in the country then as a country, we need to reduce the problems that hinder development in the rural areas. However, eradication of poverty in those areas needs a combination of multiple efforts which include but not limited to the following: education, water, agricultural modernization, markets for farmers’ crops, improved infrastructure, ameliorate the source of energy, increase accessibility to electricity, ameliorate housing.
Education is the most important development indicator that is so important in itself as it can influence other indicators to bring about required changes. Nelson Mandela says “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world“. Julius Nyerere introduced an education system with a theme of self reliance; that is come up with a type of education that is pragmatic, that which does simply rely on one’s certificates. This indicator is necessary for changing, ameliorating and improving people’s living standards.
When the rural and urban areas are compared the rural areas lag behind in many aspects of education; they have few schools, schools are of poor quality, they have few teachers, schools lack important services such as water, electricity, reliable means of transport, and the quality of education offered is low and on and on… Therefore, there is need of affirmative action for education in the rural areas.
Water is yet another important indicator of development and ingredient necessary for living a decent human life. In many rural areas in Africa and Tanzania in particular, clean and safe water is still a problem, even though the government is working hard and committed to improving the living standards of her people. In recent years, there have been great efforts in making sure that rural people, just like their urban counterparts, have access to clean and safe water. Despite the efforts, access to water near by people’s homes in the rural areas is still problematic. There is still need of improving the water situation in the rural areas if development in the country is to be realized in the near future. The effort registered is very much appreciated but much more is still needed.
This is the single most important activity carried out in the rural areas and thus employing a large population. It is said that about 70 percent and more of the people living in the rural areas involve themselves with this economic activity. However, the contributions of the same in the income of the people is very much minimal as it contributes insignificantly to the country’s economy and even to individuals themselves.
When agriculture is improved through multidimensional approaches such as amelioration of technology, facilitation of agricultural experts’ activities and so on, increasing and empowering extension officers will very much be able to improve the living standards of many people.
The rural people have products that need proper markets so as to sell them and thus improve their economic status. Rural people, depending on where they are, have products of different nature ranging from crops from their fields, water products from the oceans, lakes or rivers. Most villages have markets but which are not of good conditions; they need improvement so that they become attractive to buyers and so the vendors could come up with competitive prices to improve income of the people in the rural areas.
Transport is one of the important indicators of development in a society. It is transport that ensures services being realized in a society. In many parts of the rural areas roads are in poor conditions and at times they are passable only during dry seasons. Roads in the rural areas are necessary as they could very much stimulate development in those settings that at times seem neglected.
Improved road networks would help in transporting quickly and efficiently goods especially delicate and perishable ones such as milk, fruits, flowers, and on and on and facilitate services to/from the farmers. They would facilitate provision of social services such as health care facilities, provision of portable water to the population.
Source of Energy
Source of energy is necessary for people to realize and expand their choices in life while improving their standards of living. Energy is vital for life; it is necessary because most human activities ranging from cooking at home up to the energy needed in the industries. That fact reveals then that any economy needs a reliable source of energy that is friendly to both its users as well as to the environment. It is important to have a source of energy that is environmental friendly as the move in development now is on sustainable development and we can only think of sustainable development when we have a clean source of energy that can ensure life for the future generation.
Experience and studies reveal that most people in the rural areas use tree products such as fire wood and charcoal as a source of energy. This source of energy is easily accessible to the people but destructive to both people’s health and to the environment as well. Therefore, there is need of improving the source of energy that people use if we are to realise development in the rural areas, in the country and in the whole of sub Saharan Africa in general.
Electricity is a source of power that in modern life it is almost impossible to conceive of a life without it. Up to 2014, in Tanzania, only a small percentage of rural people of less than 10 per cent had access to electricity. Thanks to the government’s efforts, through its specialized agency, it is now sending electricity with all vigour to the rural areas in a low cost to users.
Electricity has the potential to change and improve greatly the living standards of people in the rural settings. It can improve the reading habits of people from where (in books) they can find new knowledge and skills.