Influence of Youth Enterprise Development Fund on economic empowerment of youth in Bondo District-Kenya
This study investigated the influence of youth enterprise development fund (YEDF) on economic empowerment of youth aged between 18-35 years in Bondo District. YEDF was characterized by business engagements, marketing support, linkages and loans; and economic empowerment by economic mobility, economic security, ability to make small and large purchases independently. The study specifically investigated the influence of (i) business engagements, (ii) marketing support, (iii) linkages and (iv) access loans as aspects ofYEDF on the economic empowerment of the youths in Bondo District. It has been felt that today, as young people face an increasingly complicated and pressured world, the need for helping youth develop character is more important than ever. It was on this basis that the government of Kenya introduced the YEDF in 2007 to foster positive youth development. Generally, youth development is a wholesome process of preparing young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences which help them to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, and cognitively competent. The philosophy of YEDF was extended to Bondo District of Siaya County where a total of 2 million shillings have so far been disbursed to 554 youths in 56 youth groups since 2006. However despite the expenditure so far incurred, the status of the youths in Bondo District in terms of economic empowerment has not been investigated. The influence of YEDF on the economic empowerment of youths in Bondo District is therefore not known, yet it is the empowerment of the youths that should form the basis for sustained funding of YEDF. This discrepancy creates the need to determine the influence of YEDF on the economic empowerment of youths in Bondo district in order to provide a scientific justification for the continued support of the enterprise. Guided by the structuration theory of empowerment, the study was conducted through descriptive survey design, on a sample of 234 youths aged between 18 - 35 years selected through snowball sampling technique. Data collected by the researcher using questionnaires in March 2011, analyzed using percentages and frequency distributions. The study found that businesses engagement, marketing support, business linkages and loans that the YEDF offered the youth did not improve their economic capacity. The study therefore concluded that YEDF had significantly empowered the youths in Bondo District. For this reason the study recommended that the ministry of youth affairs supervises the change in the curriculum / content of the capacity building programs to ensure that they are relevant and in line with the goal of assisting the youth to be more economically empowered, the youth get more linkages with large international firms and lastly the youth get more access to loans as well as education on how to effectively invest. The study proposed that future researchers should seek to establish the impact of not just adoption of ICT on empowerment but the impact of adequacy and utilization of ICT infrastructure on economic empowerment of the youth and also to investigate and establish the proportions to which this factors influence empowerment of the youth groups.
University of Nairobi, Kenya