The main objective of this study was to determine the level of participation of rural women in Rural development Project (CSDP), a Rural Development Project in Anambra State, Nigeria. Purposive sampling technique was used to select eight communities from four Local Government Areas of the State, while simple random sampling technique was used to select the 320 respondents. In all, three hundred and twenty (320) copies of the questionnaire were distributed through personal visit but only three hundred and thirteen (313) copies were returned. Descriptive statistic, Double difference (DD) estimator in regression framework and maximum likelihood (ML) double hurdle model were used to analyze the data. The socio-economic characteristics of the rural women revealed that the average age of the participants was 43 years while the non-participants was 42 years old on average, 28% and 24% of the participants had secondary and primary level of education respectively. About 81% of the participants were married, had average household size of 7 members. About64% and 54% of the participants and the non-participants were engaged in other activities apart from farming, while 33% of participants were engaged in Farming as main occupation. Medium level of participation in CSDP of about 7 stages with a standard deviation of 6 stages was observed. The first hurdle of the Craggit model showed that household size, urban exposure and farming were significant at 10%, while social participation was significant at 1% level of probability respectively. The second showed that urban exposure, time and leadership position were significant at 1% while social participation and secondary education were significant at 5% levels of probability respectively. Participation in CSDP was found to have impacted positively on the livelihood of the participants by increasing significantly their productive assets by N26, 056.41. Twelve other benefits were derived from the project among which the three most distributed ones were reduction in water borne disease, reduction in time spent in household chores and reduction in time spent in fetching water. The least distributed benefits however were employment at health facility and employment at school facility. In terms of constraints to participation, nine important constraints were reported among which the three most important were lack of time due to household chores, financial constraints, and low level of education. The two least challenging constraints faced by the women who participated in CSDP were discrimination due to marital status and religious barrier. Based on these findings, it was recommended that to increase rural women participation in rural development projects, policies and legal framework that will increase the level of secondary education for rural women be put in place by legislators and Government; development agencies, Ministries, departments and agencies of Government should increase advocacy and sensitization to encourage rural women participation in social meetings and finally build capacity of rural women in the area of time management and occupying quality leadership positions. 

1.1 Background to the study 
The participation of rural women in development process is considered to be largely determined by social, cultural, political and economic factors. These factors have led to inactive participation of women in the development process thereby increasing their vulnerability status especially in the rural communities. Rural women‘s participation in development process has therefore become the focus of many local and international debates in the past two decades. Different fora such as the 1995 Beijing Declaration, the 

1995 Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women held in Kenya and the United Nations Development Fund for Women, have recognized the plight of women‘s participation in development especially in the developing countries. According to the Beijing platform for Action, each Member State should work on twelve critical areas of concern which includes power and decision making, poverty, poor health, education and training for women, violence against women, women and armed conflict, women and economy, human rights, media, environment, institutional arrangement for advancement of women and the girl child. Nigeria, as a signatory to the declaration, was able to develop the National Gender Policy in order to promote the prohibition of all forms of discrimination against women in the public and private sphere and institutions. Despite this effort, Nigerian Women are still faced with the problem of marginalization, and worse hit, are the women in the rural communities. 

The issue of women participation in agriculture and rural development has had an increasing interest for researchers and donor agencies across the globe because of the role of women in economic development and their marginalization status. According to Kabeer (2012), the terms and conditions of women‘s involvement in the economic sphere are important issues that continue to dominate the debate on gender relations in other words, the new developments led to an increase in the number of women in labour force, but the impact on their quality of life and decision making process is still to be felt. There is overwhelming evidence that of development policies and projects formulated bypassing the involvement of rural women in most African Countries (Hunger Project, 2000).Their voices are less likely to be heard, they have less access to decision –making and less time to participate (World Bank, 2011). The problem of lack of women participation in development process is well documented across literature on participation and gender (Kongolo, 2002 and Kabeer, 2011). 

The World Development Report (1990) revealed that approaches that involve the poor (communities) in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects have been successful. Projects which have incorporated gender issues and also make use of human labour were said to have proven effective. The Federal Government of Nigeria, the 

World Bank and other international donor agencies such as the Department for International Development (DFID), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) saw the need for service delivery mechanisms that are demand-driven, covering multiple sectors and depending on the specific community determined needs. This led to policy designs to involve communities in the design, implementation and evaluation of their own development agenda known as the Rural Development (CDD). 

1.2 Problem Statement 
Different roles and responsibilities are carried out by different components of society as ascribed to them by the societal, political, economic, cultural and religious norms (Ekop, 2001). These roles and responsibilities have crucial implications for the achievement of development activities. Men, Women and children frequently have priorities and goals and the ability to participate in development (Ekop, 2004). Nigerian women constituted almost half (49.36%) of the total population according to British Council, (2012) Report. Research shows that women provide about 60-90 percent of the agricultural labour force (FAO, 1996; Ogunlela and Aisha, 2009), carrying out activities such as planting, transplanting, weeding, hoeing, application of fertilizers, harvesting and processing activities like threshing and winnowing. They play very important role in every aspect of the value chain; in addition to the processing activities, they are also involved in the transportation, storage, preservation and marketing of farm produce. 

The rural women in Nigeria and in many developing countries are faced with the responsibility of farm work, housekeeping and earning money to supplement family incomes. The problem of insufficient time to perform all their productive and reproductive roles in a given day affects the women‘s ability to improve their own welfare and that of their families. In order to achieve sustainable development in our rural societies, the extent to which we are able to design development strategies that will respond to the needs of both male and females in the society rests to a large extent, upon what we know about gender related issues such as differential access to resources, division of labour in productive activities as well as access to useful information that will improve their general wellbeing. 

Mainstreaming gender into development project is not a new concept; World Bank (2000) on economic roles of men and women in Africa made the argument that Africa has enormous unexploited potentials with hidden growth reserves in its people, including the potential of its women, who now provide more than half the region‘s labour but lack equal access to education and factors of production. Although gender and women are used interchangeably, they are not the same (Akubuiloet al., 2011). It has been theoretically established by researchers and development workers through gender analyses that women are disproportionately disadvantaged, that is why majority of gendered interventions target women. 

In Nigeria, common socio-cultural practices, lack of or limited access to political, economic and social power further deepen the vulnerability of women in particular, and by multiplier effect, of children and other vulnerable groups. This situation is not different in Anambra State where Rural Development Projects such as the National Fadama Project and the Rural development Project are presently intervening. Despite the Social Inclusion principle of the CDD process, the participation of women in development process especially in the rural areas is still a big issue. This study therefore, sought to determine the participation of rural women in CDD and the contribution of the process to their livelihood. This therefore led the study to raise the following research questions: 

i) What are the socio-economic characteristics of women in the study area? 
ii) What is the level of participation of women in the Community and Social Development Project? 
iii) What are the influence of the socio-economic characteristics of women on their level of participation in Rural development Project? 
iv) What is the impact of women participation in Rural development Project on their Livelihood? 
v) What are the constraints limiting the participation of women in rural development project? 

1.3 Objectives of the Study 
The broad objective of this study was to determining the level of Women participation in Community demand driven development and its contribution to their livelihood in rural areas of Anambra State. The specific objectives were to: 

i) describe Socio-economic characteristics of the women in the study area; 
ii) determine the level of women participation in Rural development Project in the study area; 
iii)determine the influence of the socio-economic characteristics of women on their level of participation in Rural development Project; iv)determine the impact of women participation in Community and Social Development Project on their livelihood; 
v)identify the constraints limiting the participation of women in the Community and Social Development Project. 

1.4 Hypotheses of the study 
The Research hypotheses were: 

HO1: There is no significant relationship between the socio-economic characteristics of women farmers and their level of participation in the Rural development Project. 

HO2: There is no significant relationship between participation of women in the  Rural development Project and their Livelihood. 

1.5 Justification of the Study 
The current emphasis placed by government on agriculture and rural development by initiating several development programmes since independence among which is Rural development Project (CSDP), justified the need for an empirical study on the impact of participation in CSDP on women livelihoods in the study area. The study was therefore undertaken to provide findings on the level of participation of women in Rural development Project, the factors that affect their participation and also the impact of their participation on their livelihood. The participation of rural women in development process has been the focus of intensive debates by most international forums in the past years (Kongolo and Bamgose 2002). Among numerous fora that have recognized the plight of Women from the developing countries participation in the development process are the 1995 Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women held in Kenya and the 1995 Beijing Declaration, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (2000). These Declarations, to some extent have been able to increase an awareness and understanding of the problems facing women especially in Africa. However, despite the efforts being made to mainstream gender into development process, women are still being faced with enormous challenges thereby hindering their active participation in the development process. Literature is replete on rural women and their contributions to agricultural and rural development, but there is a dearth of information on their participation in the development process that deploys the community demand driven approach. 

Research information provided by this study has helped to unveil the challenges faced by the rural communities and women themselves in participating in decision making process that affect their wellbeing. The information obtained from this study canbe used by the State and Federal Governments, development planners, non-governmental organizations, community based organisations and donor organizations set policies and strategies in further design and implementation of other agricultural and rural development programmes that can promote genuine participation of women in development interventions. The study can also be useful in guiding donor and Research Institutes in their investment policies. This study would also add to the existing body of knowledge in the area of gender mainstreaming in development studies.

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