The mind of every individual contains all the reasons behind all the actions of that individual. This can be termed as attitude. Attitudes: patriotism, selflessness, integrity, hardwork, irresponsibility, laziness, greed; disrespect for time and, disrespect for human rights transform into behaviours that cause society to progress or retrogress.
Development means different things to different people in different places; it does not come about without the consciousness of a people. Consciousness is a mind thing; where all progressive and retrogressive thoughts are formed and its consequent transformation into actions that are seen by all members of society.
When people are conscious of what causes their neighbourhoods, communities, and nation to move in a positive direction; it makes development come without any difficulty. Society then achieves total harmony, for all.
Development goes beyond the provision of infrastructure. It is the conscious effort of the ability to identify challenges, and solve those challenges pragmatically.
The provision of an infrastructure such as a school, a place of convenience, a major first class road, are ways of overcoming challenges of truancy, the increase of school dropouts, the inability of farmers to cart their produce to the marketing centres and open defaecation.
Therefore, the infrastructures provided are meaninglessly unless the people make use of it prudently. It is common for development agents to impose their ideas on a people. This is what is known in development terms as top-downism.
This means development moving from educated members of society to the semi-literate and illiterate or people who have no idea about pragmatism with regards to the challenges that confront them.
Consequently, development that is imposed suffers the lack of maintenance and sustainability. Sustainability and maintenance are crucial to consistent and continuous progress of society’s problems.
As problems and solutions are identified by beneficiaries of development infrastructure and opportunities it becomes easy for the beneficiaries to take steps in maintaining and sustaining these facilities and opportunities for the benefit of their kith and kin, and posterity.
Development becomes real as beneficiaries are made part of what causes them to backtrack and what causes them to move from one progressive level to the other.
Usually, development is mistaken for the absence of facilities; contrary, development is the innate actions of people that make aspects of their lives or their whole life a paradise on earth or a living hell. Sometimes these innate actions which benefit the penetrators go a long way to create discomfort for certain groups of people in society.
With reference to my immediate environment, the University for Development Studies, Wa Campus, there is much evidence to begin to ask how the University Community understands development.
A visit to one of the urinals which is situated at what everyone knows to be pavilion gives the user a bad sight. A heap of sachet water rubbers are what welcomes the user. There is no qualm whatsoever if a group of people exercise their fundamental human rights.
On the contrary it is disheartening that the result of one’s right ends up creating problems. We live by the principle of ‘someone has been paid to solve a problem’ and so it does not matter how messy we create a situation.
We forget that when we help in making society a better place to live, our own impressions which others have about us become positive.
Again, one of the large lecture halls we call lecture hall two is another venue where our attitudes as students of development is questioned. It is a usual sight to find left-over sachet water, empty bottles of beverages, biscuit wrappers tucked or lying behind the pews.
It beggar’s belief! Isn’t it? There are dustbins at these two different venues I have mentioned yet the attitude of irresponsibility is so endemic that it is very difficult for us to drop those pieces of empty sachets and bottles in the dust bins.
Development is not what we read in the books, it is how we transfer what the theories say into real actions- pragmatic is the description.
Not too far away from, the same lecture hall is a place of convenience built by the SRC, 2010/2011 year batch. This was obviously built with students’ money.
However, the place is hardly used by any student. Now, this is where I argue that development facilities are meaningless unless they are judiciously used by the beneficiaries.
A few days after school went on the Xmas break, fire from nowhere burnt its way around the facility, the electric pole that is by it and the planks that hold the ceiling of the facility.
I decided to take a look inside. It is a home for wall geckos, agama lizards and for the fear that I might encounter some creeping creature I did not step in deeper.
Whose duty was it to ensure that this facility was maintained and sustained to be used at least for ten years? Me and you. Whose duty was it to ensure that during the harmattan, because of certain key facilities no person should be allowed to start any fire in and around the campus? Me and you.
This is failure throwing its hands around us and looking straight into the sockets of our eyes like a lover looking into the eyes of his or her beloved.
Another issue that makes development more of attitude than the construction of facilities is the means of destroying the very facilities that have been constructed to solve for example an educational problem.
In December, 2014, I listened to a news commentary on GBC Radio. The commentary was on the activities of a group of students of the St. Johns’ Vocational and Technical School, Nandom who decided to vent their spleen by destroying learning and teaching materials that have been provided for the school.
Issues of this nature have confronted a number of schools in this country. This has at the end of the day caused retrogression in the nation’s provision of infrastructure.
Development is holistic, therefore it is not the construction of facilities only, but attitudes that ensure that those facilities are maintained and sustained for posterity; we as a people want to move from one progressive level to the other; we want to take our destinies into our own hands and pursue pragmatic steps and seek to achieve excellence at all levels of our society.
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