Information needs and information seeking behavior of rural women in Borno State, Nigeria.

Author:Saleh, Adam Gambo


The 2006 National Census puts Nigeria's population close to 150 million. Fifty two percent of which are women and about 45% of them live in the rural areas, the highest percentage of which are in the Northern part of the Country. As a developing country, the features that characterized the rural population in Nigeria include illiteracy, poverty, hunger, disease, and general absence of basic infrastructure such as roads, schools, electricity, etc. These coupled with peculiar problems of rural women such as early marriages, lack of income, withdrawal of girls from school, Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF), and pregnancy related deaths, has created apathy and indolence towards any form of developmental efforts. A recent UNESCO report revealed that the level of poverty in the country is increasing at an alarming rate and the situation is worst in the Northern part, particularly the North East where Borno is situated.

Despite these problems, rural women are very resourceful and contribute to the sustainability of the family and society. Specifically, the rural woman engages in domestic chores such as cooking, fetching water and firewood, raising children, animal husbandry, etc. This is an indication that rural women have potentials, which, properly harnessed, can provide the impetus needed for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the plans of the Federal Government to becoming among the 20 Great Economies of the World in the year 2020. Momodu (2002) observed that "the rural dwellers in Nigeria are not inherently poor nor are they doomed to ignorance and disease, rather they are blessed with massive fertile land and mineral resources and also huge and virile labor force which can be transformed into goods and services." She further lamented that "the missing link ..... has been the absence of an effective mechanism for mobilization and stimulating them into action with a view to addressing their problems. That missing link is the lack of information in the right quantity and format."

Studies on information behavior in Africa are generally fewer than the developed world despite the high level of interest generated by the field in the last decade. In Nigeria the available few with the exception of Aboyode (1984), Momodu (2002), and Njoku (2004), have concentrated on professional groups mostly within institutions and in urban settlements. In a recent review of studies on the information needs and seeking behavior of indigenous people of several developing Countries, Dutta (2009) reported that "there is relatively small number of studies done on the information behavior of the citizens of developing countries", and that, "the few concentrated on the educated individuals and the urban population located in the large cities than on citizens...

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