The Role of Informal Savings in Empowering Women in Kajiado North Sub-county, Kajiado County, Kenya
Nyathira, Lucy N
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This was cross-sectional descriptive study on the role of informal saving in empowering women in Kajiado North, Kajiado County, Kenya. Specifically, the study set out to: establish the existing informal savings and credit opportunities for women and why they are not utilizing them; investigate the extent to which access to informal savings contribute to women empowerment; and identify the problems that women in informal savings/associations experience. The study was guided by the Longwe framework. The study was conducted with 88 women aged between 18 and 55 years conveniently sampled. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, key informant interviews and direct observation and analysed thematically in line with the study objectives. Findings indicate that existing informal savings and credits have a positive impact on the lives of the majority of women as their lives have improved. Existing informal savings provide credit opportunities which increase income generated at the household. Businesses and other self-employment opportunities were facilitated by access to credit from informal savings groups. The challenges identified include coordination and group attendance, group management challenges and lack of access to formal credit. The study concludes that informal savings and credits have been and still are instrumental in the empowerment of women but they are not acknowledged. The study recommends that the state, county government and other development partners should facilitate training for the informal women group members, particularly on financial management, loaning procedures and group management. Further, the study recommends that implementation of research to ensure that societal factors derailing women’s participation in development are demystified to improve women's bargaining power and therefore empowering them economically, socially and psychologically. The study also makes suggestion for a similar but more elaborate study to be conducted covering the whole county and, where possible, disaggregate the population in terms of rural and urban/peri-urban. This will be instrumental in rethinking of women empowerment and enhancement of women’s voices in development.
University of Nairobi
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