Factors influencing performance of the Uwezo Fund assisted youth projects in Migori county, Kenya.
Otieno, Grace A
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Uwezo Fund is a program for employment. It was launched on the 8th of September 2013 and enacted though the legal notice number 21 of the Public Finance Act 2014 and launched on 21st February 2014 under the Ministry of Devolution and Planning. The President allocated 6 billion to the youth aged between (18-35) years. Its main aim was to enhance economic growth towards the realization of the Millennium Development goal number one (to eradicate poverty and hunger). It was also to promote gender equality and empower women also to provide mentorship to enable the beneficiary to make up to 30% procurement by the government, (Uwezo Fund Handbook, 2013). Migori County had seven constituencies; Rongo, Suna East, Suna West, Uriri, Nyatike, Kuria East and Kuria West. The county received Ksh.146.7 Million. Rongo constituency received Ksh.16, 943,338 as per the gazette notice of September 2014. The study main objective was to assess factors influencing performance of the Uwezo Fund assisted youth projects in Migori County, Kenya. The study sought to establish the following factors had affected performance: profiles of the entrepreneurs, the process of disbursement and repayment of the fund to different groups and individual entrepreneurs, type of projects entrepreneurs owned, performance of the projects and administration of the fund. The study adopted descriptive research design. The population of the study was 99 Uwezo Fund members who were a representative sample representing 10% of the youth assisted by the fund. Primary data were collected by use of questionnaires which contained both open and closed ended questions. The literature review and theoretical framework of this study was based on social capital and Grameen banking frameworks. Social capital focused on human being sociability and connectedness and their relationship to individual and social structures. Grameen banking is based on the idea that the poor have skills but have no chance to use their skills without money it gave small loans to the rural poor . The key findings of this study were as follows. The study found out that female youth entrepreneurs were less involved in the uptake of the fund. The process of disbursement and repayment had setbacks. It took longer to access the fund compared to the other financial institutions. On the performance of the projects assisted by the fund, the study found out that a considerable number of respondents had managed to employed workers and increased their stock and high cost of doing business pointing out high taxes introduced by the county and national governments. The study found out that the youth entrepreneurs managed various businesses; merchandising, service and hybrid businesses. Poor state of infrastructure, inadequate electricity supply, inadequate knowledge of running enterprises and communication skills were some of the factors that affected the youth entrepreneurs. Lastly the fund administration failed to train the entrepreneurs, offer internet services and was characterized by lack of professionalism, corruption and nepotism. The study recommends that in order to improve the fund management; institutionalizing its structures that allows „bottom up approach of leadership‟, where the people are given a chance to create rules that govern them was key.
University of Nairobi
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