Personal community development service is an initiative of the NYSC that seeks to encourage corpers to contribute meaningfully to the communities they are serving. The foremost aim of the PCDS is to encourage corps members to identify the felt needs of the community, mobilize resources within the community and provide such needs.
Therefore, the main aim of PCDS is to improve the standard of living of the community through the innovative idea of corps members. It entails the identification of a problem in your place of primary assignment, seeking financial and other assistance within the community and using these resources to solve the identified problem. In another perspective, it is the process whereby a corps member embarks on a selfless project with the aim of solving problems faced by the people of a particular community.
At the end of the service year of every batch, the personal community development service department of the NYSC will select the most outstanding PCDS embarked by corps members. The selection is based on certain standards. The overall best PCDS project will be selected, the second best will also be picked, and so on. The most outstanding will receive a state award, while others will receive local government, company, individual or other awards. The national award winner is determined by a comparing the PCDS project of all the state award winners. The best among them will receive the NYSC national award. The national award attracts mouth watering rewards that no corper can resist.
Therefore, open your eyes, so you can see opportunities to render selfless service to humanity. On the other hand, you are attracting wealth and fame. Each time you see a problem in your place of primary assignment, rejoice instead of complaining. The truth is that “no problems or needs, no awards.”
I have to state categorically that it is not every problem or need that you see in the community will make a good or viable PCDS project. There are some projects that are not necessary, so overlook them. It is also important to state that a corper embarking on a PCDS project must possess or develop certain character that will make their goal achievable. You must be humble, diligent, trustworthy, accountable, and respectful and so on. I have explained some of the unavoidable qualities of a viable PCDS below.
A viable PCDS is the one that identifies and solves the felt needs of the people. That is, it seeks to solve one or more pressing needs or problems facing the community. It must have the aim of solving a problem affecting the community negatively. It should solve and not cause problems.
The sole focus of a good PCDS is not to make profit. Every corps member should know that PCDS is not a business concern, so don’t expect profit. It should be profitable to the community and not you. Never embark on a PDCS because you want to mobilize funds and divert some of them for personal use. This act is against the rules and regulation guiding PCDS. Your main aim should be to alleviate the sufferings of the members of the community and not personal gains.
Improve Living Standard
If your personal CDS is not geared towards providing goods or service that will positively touch the lives of people in a particular community, then it is not a good one. It should be a project that the community will appreciate. The project’s impact should lift the people’s standard of living. If you drill a borehole for community that lack good drinking water, then you have done well. The Construction of a classroom block for a school with insufficient class room is splendid. Conducting a health or any other productive seminar is also wonderful.
The project’s impact must be felt for a long time. The project should not be like a vapour, that just appear and disappear. It must have durable impact on the people. Its impact must be felt by the people for a very long time. Organizing a party or bash in the community is not a viable PCDS. Its positive effect should last for a considerable period. The community members should be able to celebrate the project years after you have passed out. People must see the impact and remember you after sometime.
The cost of the project should not be greater than its impact. It must be cost effective. Resources should not be wasted during its development. The project must worth its cost of production. Therefore, you must ensure that the best but less-expensive resources are used to accomplish your project.
Some viable PCDS projects are a new idea or an improvement on an existing one. Your project must stand out from the crowd. It must ‘go the extra mile’. Rampant projects attract lesser attention. There are some PCDS projects that can “pull” the Director-General from Abuja to your community for the commissioning. If the project is new, its fame will spread seamlessly. Introduce something fresh and you will draw the attention of the community, top NYSC and government officials.
Please don’t go for project that you might not be able to accomplish within your service year. Nothing is impossible, but there are some PCDS projects that might never be accomplished in years. It is important to consider the cost of the project as well the period of development. This is vital because abandoned project is not acceptable.
The project must be appreciated by the community members. It must not be in conflict with the people’s culture, tradition or religion. You must seek the advice of the Local government authority, community leaders, youths and other members. Ensure that they approve the project before you start executing it. Imposing unacceptable project on the community may lead to stiff resistance.
All the financial and material implications of the project must be true, fair and clear. The financial statement of the project must be comprehensive and correct. Therefore, you need to keep accurate records of all the financial and material transactions that took place from the beginning to the end of the project. Take note of your income and expenditure because the NYSC is very interested in your financial statement.
The project must produce the anticipated result when completed. The impact must be visible. It must touch the lives of the people positively. Don’t embark on an abstract PCDC. Let the impact be felt immediately after completion. The community member should see their plant blossoming; if the project is on improving agricultural products. Student should be seen using the newly constructed classroom blocks.
The aim of a viable PCDS is to solve or satisfy the felt need of the community. The community might have so many problems; the felt need is the most pressing need in the community. It is the problem that everybody or majority of the people feels its negative impact. Put differently, it is the major or cardinal problem facing a particular community. In fact, it occupies the first position in the community’s scale of preference. A school classroom block with leaking roofs has no business with insufficient lockers. You must, first of all, repair the roofs before the lockers will emerge as the school’s felt need. A community without a good source of water doesn’t need an internet facility. The community needs water more than the latter.
Personal Community Development Service Procedures
This process is relative and subject to change. It might vary in different states, so it is important for you to follow the directive of the community development service officer in your locality. However, the process stated below, will serve as a guide.
Identification of need or problem
Firstly, you must observe and identify a particular need in the community that you think should be solved. It must be a felt need for it to be recommended or approved. Solving the identified problem must uplift the living standard of the people in the community. It must touch the people positively. Just locate a problem you want to solve.
This is the enquiry stage. You must undertake the task of knowing the cultural, political, commercial, religious and environmental effects of the project. You must meet the traditional ruler, councilor, youths, elders and women of the community. It is necessary, mostly in rural areas because they respect their cultures and tradition. This is the stage where your project will be tested to ascertain its viability. You also need to contact your Local Government inspector (NYSC officials) for advice.
You must carry out an in-depth analysis of the proposed project. Get all the useful information you need to successfully execute the project. You must know the quantity and /or quantities of material, human and financial resources that will be required to facilitate the project’s execution. Ensure you get information on everything you need to make the personal CDS a success. Do not neglect any part of the project because every aspect is important.
Feasibility studies will also ascertain the achievability of the project. It will give you a pre-knowledge of calibre of project you are embarking on. Feasibility studies will give you either the” green light” or the “red one.” Ensure that you understand the project and the means of accomplishing it. Seek advice from corper’s that had undertaken CDS projects.
Write and Submit Proposal
The permission to carry out or embark on personal CDS comes from the NYSC secretariat. The NYSC must permit you before you start your PCDS. Therefore, you must write and submit your proposal seeking their permission. Your proposal must state the problem you seek to solve, why you intend to solve the problem, how you will solve the problem, what are the means of solving the problem and what are the benefits of solving the problem. That is, it must contain comprehensive information of the need or problem, the importance of the need, how the need will be met and the benefits of the project.
It must also state clearly the reason and importance of the project, as well as the financial, material and human resources that will be needed to accomplish the project. How the project will be financed is of utmost importance. You are not allowed to finance it from your personal income. The resources must come from the community. You must have sponsors from the community. The NYSC is also interested in the durability of the project; if its life span is above one year the NYSC will want to know how the business will survive even in your absence.
After writing the proposal, you must submit to the relevant NYSC officials. Please don’t submit and relax, you must follow it up. Remind the NYSC official constantly about your proposal. You might be asked to make some corrections or amendments. Do it and remain focused.
If your project is approved, you have the authority to start executing the contents of your proposal and feasibility studies. The approval is what guarantees the backing of the NYSC. Never carryout a personal CDS project without the NYSC approval.
Mobilization of Resources
Mobilization of resources entails the process of seeking and acquiring the relevant resources (Financial, Material, human. etc.), needed for the actualization of the proposed project (PCDS). It involves seeking for funds and other resources to finance your personal CDS. As stated earlier, the fund must be sourced from the people of the state, local government or community. A corper cannot finance his CDS.
This is the stage where the corps member is expected to seek funds from people and organizations in the community. You can source for funds from state government officials, traditional ruler, local government officials, councilors, elders, head of agencies, industrialists, etc. Funds can also come from organization like companies, ministries, NGO and other agencies. Note that corpers are social workers, and every social worker is respected. They are always welcome anywhere they go because they are agents of positive change.
Meet these people and organizations; tell them confidently about your project. Educate them on the problem in the community, state the solution and announce to them the benefits of satisfying the need. After this enlightenment, table the financial and material implications. If possible go with the feasibility studies and the approval letter from the NYSC. Tell them that they can be part of this positive transformation. Inform them that their moral, financial and material support is needed. You can also meet with the youth leader, if the youths can contribute to the human resources.
Immediately all the required resources are available, start the project. Ensure that all the materials needed are on ground; don’t rely on pledges because people cannot be trusted. Never rely on anybody no matter his position or status. It is better you don’t start a project that will be hampered by lack of resources. Abandoned or uncompleted project is a taboo; it is not acceptable.
My millionaire corper, ensure that the resources available are effectively and efficiently utilizes in the process of implementation. There must be accurate, up- to- date and comprehensive records of all the financial, material and other transactions that transpired in the process of execution. It is also important to complete the project within the period approval by the NYSC secretariat.
This stage is a very important one. It is performed after the total completion of the project. The project has to be formally declared opened for operations by an invited very-important-personality, It might be a topmost NYSC official, government office holder, successful industrialist or businessman, etc. The quality of the project will determine who will attend the commissioning. Ensure that you attract mostly top NYSC officials and political office holders. Go to their offices invite them, get their contact and remind them of the event.
A female corps member attracted more than six state commissioners to her CDC commissioning. It was just a project to celebrate Nigeria’s fifty years anniversary.
A corper in Akwa-Ibom was very lucky that his project was commissioned during the Director- General’s visit to the state. The DG commissioned the project, and the corper was awarded the best corper of the state.
Try as much as possible to attract influential and well meaning Nigerians. It is possible to pull the state governor and the state coordinator. If you work in a Federal ministry invite the minister. Invite your company’s Chief Executive officers. By all legal means ensure that you drag “VIPs” to the project commissioning.
You will win an award when your project is of standard and well publicized. If your project is outstanding but not known by top NYSC officials and the general public, you may hardly win an award. Most corps members undertook wonderful projects but did not win any award because their PCDS was not properly publicized. Ensure your project is well recognized; if possible go on air, through the radio, internet, television, etc.
Submission of Report
After the successful execution and commissioning of the project, you have to prepare a report containing a true and fair representation of the financial, material and other transaction that facilitated the materialization of the PCDS. It must be clear, accurate and comprehensive. This report will be submitted to the NYSC for proper scrutiny. That is why it is important to take record of all the transactions that transpired from the mobilization to the commissioning stage.
Never manipulate the records, because of personal gains. Remember, your aim is not to make profit but to touch lives positively. If your fraud is dictated you will face severe punishment because it is against the NYSC (PCDS) code of conduct.