Diffusion of Innovation Patterns among Poverty Alleviation Agencies and Sustainable Development Challenges in the Niger Delta Region: The Rivers State Experience

Godwin B. Okon


The thrust of this paper was predicated on how well the poverty alleviation agencies in Rivers state have been able to streamline the precepts of their programmes to square with the dynamics of diffusion of innovation with a view to according sustainability to poverty eradication. Two government agencies concerned with poverty alleviation – The Adolescent Project (TAP) and Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) – were purposively sampled based on operational visibility between 1999 till date. Analysis was done through focal group discussions in the form of Participant Cluster Appraisal (PCA). Discussions revealed that the core programmes of the agencies did not permeate the grassroots. It was also revealed that the schemes were grossly ineffectual. It was further observed by aggregation that the schemes did not engender a better quality of life for baseline demographics since the vocational skills acquisition programmes did not translate into entrepreneurial ventures for participants. This by deduction was due to the fact that the diffusion of innovation pattern adopted by these agencies was predominantly downward and this made the participants to respond based on a bandwagon effect rather than a conviction of their innermost potentials and desires. In other words, the diffusion of innovation pattern of the agencies was vertical rather than lateral and this accounted for the predominant lack of sustainability. It was therefore recommended that the dialogic and horizontal pattern of diffusion of innovation should be adopted by poverty alleviation agencies so as to allow for collectivity of will among stakeholders. This by projection will evolve a synergistic framework that will ensure sustainability.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/res.v6n2p40

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