In line with the vision of Akwa Ibom State government to transform the rural areas and make life comfortable for the dwellers, 151 communities across the state have benefited from various life-touching micro-projects under Community and Social Development Project (CSDP). The general manager, Akwa Ibom State Agency for Community and Social Development, Mr Ishmael Akpan, disclosed this recently during the 2019 International Day for Community Development Celebration which took place at the State Secretariat, Uyo. Akpan said: "The agency, through the empowerment of Akwa Ibom State government, has so far funded life-touching micro-projects in 151 communities across the state, particularly in such activities as construction of health centres, motorized boreholes, classroom blocks, market stalls, civic centres, mini bridges/culverts, electrification and public toilet, among others.â€ This, he said, "is in line with the project development objective of CSDP which is to sustainably increase access of the poor to social and natural resource infrastructure services.â€ He noted that "CSDP adopts Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach in which the community people are at the driver's seat and have absolute control over their decision making in the identification of their felt need, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of their micro-projects.â€ This, according to him, "has been a key factor in the ownership and sustainability of completed micro-projects which provide services to the people.â€ Akpan appreciated the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, for his robust support and commitment in the improvement of the well-being of the people in the rural areas, particularly the poor and vulnerable, as encapsulated in the ongoing development agenda of the present administration in the state. Commenting on the theme of the international event: Community Development: A Better Tool For Sustainable Livelihood, the general manager said it reflected "the current development priorities, preferences, imperatives and the policy objectives of Akwa Ibom State government considering the growing trend of poverty in our country and the state in particular.â€ The deputy governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, who was represented by the director of administration, Mrs Rosemary Inyang Ubong, said communities were saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the protection of projects in their areas. Ekpo, who noted that government has done a lot of projects in rural communities, urged the dwellers to take ownership of those projects. He commended the SA for celebrating the international day and appealed that next year's celebration should be filled with the exhibition of farm produce from different communities. The special adviser, Bureau of Rural Development and Cooperatives, Mrs Ekemini Umoh, said the World Community Development Day was set aside to stress the need for peaceful co-existence among communities, remind community dwellers of the need to protect and preserve their communities and utilities, and remind well-placed individuals and institutions that they have a duty to contribute their quota towards the development of their community. Umoh urged the participants to use the occasion to ponder on how they can contribute towards the development of their various communities. While commending Governor Udom's administration for developing the rural communities, the SA stressed the need to re-imbibe community development efforts for government intervention projects to last. She made case for the setting up of vigilante groups to protect public utilities and projects in the various communities, and urged the rural people to take ownership of government projects and facilities by protecting them accordingly. Umoh commended Mr Emmanuel whom she described as community-friendly governor for always having the welfare and development of the rural community at heart, and lauded the wife, Mrs Martha Emmanuel, for her numerous community development projects. Speaking on the theme, Rural Community Development: A Better Tool For Sustainable Livelihood, the keynote speaker, Professor Nseabasi Akpan, stressed the need for partnership with individuals, non-governmental and community-based organizations as well as the diaspora groups and organizations to develop the rural community. The event featured exhibition of products from the different local government areas and presentation of awards.