Effectiveness of government grants in the improvement of self-help group members standards of living: the case of selected groups in Mombasa, Kenya
The essence of this research project was to assess the effectiveness of government grants in the improvement of the standards of living of self-help group members in Mombasa, Kenya. The study was guided by four objectives. The first objective was to determine the effectiveness of the criteria used by the government to disburse grants to self-help groups. The second objective was to determine the effect of the grants disbursement on the self-help group members' standards of living. The other objective was to determine how monitoring the grants utilization had contributed to improved standards of living of self-help group members. The last objective was to determine whether the grants utilization had contributed to improved standards of living of self-help group members. The research was further guided by the following four research questions: - How effective is the criteria used by the government to disburse grants to self-help group members? How have the grants disbursement criteria contributed to improved self-help group members' standards of living? How has the monitoring of grants helped improve self-help group members' standards of living? And how had the utilization of government grants led to improved self-help group members' standards of living.The four independent variables in the study were the amount of grant disbursed, the grants disbursement criteria, monitoring the grants and the grants utilization. The dependent variable in the study was the improved standards of living of self-help group members in Mombasa Kenya. One of the literature reviewed based on the researcher's study objective of determining the effectiveness of the criteria used by the government to disburse grants to self-help groups is by Maxwell (1974) whose study on CDBGs in the US found that the federal -to-state grants were disbursed using a criteria contained in the 'Local Fiscal Act' of 1972. The other local literature reviewed, premised on the objective of determining the effects of the grants disbursement on the improved standards of living of selfhelp group members was that by Kanyinga et al (2007) which found that only five percent of self-help groups' income was sourced from the government. Again, in a study based on the independent variable of monitoring the grants utilization Cobus (2005) reports that grants were very effective in alleviating poverty among orphans and older persons in South Africa as long as proper targeting was done. The researcher used stratified random sampling and simple random sampling in the research design as it was not possible to study all the self-help groups in Mombasa. The target population in the study were the sixty (60) self-help groups that received government grants in Mombasa district in the 2005/2006 financial year (appendix 5) while twenty three (23) sampled self-help group members from the four divisions were the study population. The researcher used structured questionnaires with closed-ended questions to collect the data. The questionnaire was piloted to evaluate the reliability of the instrument. Data generated from the study was quantitative consisting of numerical values from which descriptions using percentages and numerical values were made. Frequency tabulation tables were used to interpret, present and summarize data from each variable in the study. One the key findings of this study was that most of the self-help group members' standards of living had improved as shown in table 4.20 although the amounts of grants disbursed to their groups were small. The other finding of this study was that 74%, of the respondents' communities benefited from the grants through dividends payouts and employment creation. Finally, recommendations that could enhance the effectiveness of grants in improving the standards of living of self-help group members were made. One of the key recommendations made was that the ministry responsible for grants makes deliberate efforts to create more awareness about grants to all self-help groups.
University of Nairobi, Kenya