The continued hostility of host communities to companies operating in their communities especially telecommunication companies and also the lack of care by telecommunication companies is not a healthy situation for the development of our host communities in one part and also the spread of telecommunication or GSM services across our communities. This development calls for urgent application of Public Relation tools to curtail trend. This research study is interested in investigating community relations as an effective tools of public relation, mutual relationship, understanding, acceptance, confidence and goodwill among our host communities and telecommunication companies in Nigeria especially SMILE Nigeria Limited.
- Background of the study
The SMILE Program is a five year (April 2013 –March 2018) Cooperative Agreement between Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). CRS Nigeria leads the SMILE consortium consisting of Action Aid Nigeria and Westat. SMILE is designed to scale-up care and support services for orphans and vulnerable children in Benue, Kogi, Edo, and Nasarawa states and the FCT. The program seeks to improve the wellbeing of 500,000 Vulnerable Children (VC) and 125,000 caregivers. It is being implemented through an umbrella grants mechanism (UGM) whereby CSOs receive sub-grants to support capacity strengthening and OVC program implementation at the community level. The project also strengthens the Nigerian VC response by working at the state level to enhance the coordination and monitoring capacity of the five State Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development (SMWASD) and Social Welfare Departments of targeted Local Government Areas (LGA). In addition, SMILE facilitates CSOs’ collaboration with communities to increase access to integrated and comprehensive services for vulnerable children and households with a focus on household economic strengthening (HES) and quality nutrition and food security services. During the reporting period, SMILE conducted a number of activities contributing to enhanced state and LGA capacity to coordinate and monitor services for VC. This included: technical support to facilitate functional coordination platforms and networks in the 5 SMILE states; contributing to establishment and operation of child abuse prevention and response systems in Benue, FCT, Kogi and Edo; child protection policy development and improved child protection case management systems in all 5 states; reactivation of State Child Rights Implementation Committees including technical support to all 5 states to ensure that the Child Rights Law is operational. This study is intended to provide practical guidance to action against hunger (ACF) field workers on how to implement a Food Security and Livelihoods (FSL) assessment. It is intended to be used by ACF food security & livelihood project managers, team members and consultants responsible for undertaking rapid and in-depth assessments in emergency, recovery and chronic crisis contexts. This study seekto review and update of the 2006 ACF publication Methodological Approach for Food Security Assessments and Surveillance. Intervention Principles which explains the basic notions, concepts, definitions and general approaches to food security; as well as the ACF Food Security & Livelihoods Policy. The study sets the foundation and necessary understanding for all ACF food security and livelihood programs, introduced in the state. Agricultural Program, Income Generating Activities, Cash based Interventions and Market for the Poor. Food security and livelihoods encompass a tremendously complex field underpinned by a range of factors that are in constant dynamic flux. Likewise, our understanding of how best to address a population’s food insecurity and support its livelihoods in a timely, effective, locally coherent and sustainable manner changes over time. Our challenge as practitioners in the field is to understand the complex nature of the business world, couple with economic, social and environmental inequalities have raised the issue of community relations and corporate image. From time immemorial, organisations have tried in one way or the other to be identified by the community where they are operating. This need for identity and communication led to the development of public relations which community relations are part and parcel of. Public relations is a major tool in building good relations with the organizations’ various publics (community) by obtaining favorable publicity, building up a good corporate image, and handling, or heading off unfavorable rumors, stories and events, (Kotler and Armstrong, 2006). Organization or company is dependent on community relations if it is to be successful. Therefore, the purpose of public relations practice to community relations is to establish a two-way communication that will help to create and sustain mutual relationship and understanding between the organization and the host community. Communities are the main part of business plan that help in promoting the sustainable development of business activities of corporate organization through partnership activities that help them to realized their potentials to live a better life and prepare the future for generation yet unborn. The respect of the culture of our community is part of the global plan for symbiotic relationship between humanity and its society for the progress of all (Chiejina, 2001). SMILE Pilot of an organizational capacity assessment tool for the network of CSOs against Child Trafficking and Labor was conducted. Efforts to increase VC’s access to vital birth registration were stepped up through supporting partnership between CSOs and the National Population Commission in the state. The above assertion explains the importance of every organization to be responsible and responsive in the community to ensure a proper balance of business activities that promote their corporate image in the eye of the community members
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Different studies have been carried out on community relations and corporate image of organizations. Some have tried to determine the strategies adopted by organizations in promoting their corporate image, while others have looked at the practice of community relations in particular organization. This particular study tries to look at community relations as effective tools of public relation. The attitude and perception of people at the host communities of SMILE is that of unfriendly disposition depicting lack of goodwill and mutual understanding. It is also to demonstrate the unfortunate neglect suffered by the community in spite of the enormous support the company enjoys from it. The decisions and actions of management in the organization have an increasing impact on individuals, other organizations and the community (Worthington, 1997). The power and influence which many business organizations now exercise should be tempered by an attitude of responsibility by management. In striving to satisfy its goal and achieve its objectives that the researcher intends to investigate the importance of community relation as an effective tool of public relation with emphasis on SMILE project in Benue state.
- OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to investigate the community relations as an effective tool for public relation, the specific objective include:
- To ascertain the effect of community relation on the peaceful execution of the SMILE project
- To evaluate the impact of cooperate social responsibility on the effectiveness of the organization
- To ascertain the problems encountered in the organization in trying to communicate effectively with its host communities.
- To know how effective the company community relations programs has helped in enhancing the organization corporate image
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To aid the completion of the study, the following research questions were formulated by the researcher:
H0: community relation has no effect the peaceful execution of the SMILE project.
H1: community relation has effect the peaceful execution of the SMILE project.
H02: there is no significant impact of cooperate social responsibility on the effectiveness of the organization
H2: there is a significant impact of cooperate social responsibility on the effectiveness of the organization
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
In spite of available research efforts on how the organization’s community relations programs affect the perception and evaluation of their corporate image, specific impact of community relations program need to be more effectively researched and focused by researcher in the field of public relations and community relation. Therefore, the focus of the current research effort is to contribute to existing body of knowledge in the area investigated. This study is significant as it helps to evaluate the organization corporate image in relation to their host community relations approach. It is also significant in exposing the actual perception and attitudes of the host communities towards the organization. Besides, the degree of community relations program and strategies of the organization has been described as the lifeblood of its existence as good corporate citizen.
- SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers community relations as an effective tool of public relation with emphasis on smile program in Benue state. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study:
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
- b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
- c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
A community is small or large social units (a group of people) who have something in common, such as norms, religion, values, or identity. Communities often share a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area (e.g. a country, village, town, or neighborhood) or in virtual space through communication platforms.
Community relations the relationship that a company, organization, etc. has with the people who live in the area in which it operates: “great community relations are part of the team’s marketing plan,” carter said
Public relations are a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Public relations can also be defined as the practice of managing communication between an organization and its publics.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research
COMMUNITY RELATIONS AS AN EFFECTIVE TOOL OF PUBLIC RELATION; A CASE STUDY OF SMILE (SUSTAINABLE MECHANISM FOR IMPROVED LIVELIHOOD AND HOUSEHOLD EMPOWERMENT) PROJECT IN BENUES STATE>
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