The Socio-economic Influence of Menengai Geothermal on Community Livelihood in Bahati Sub-county, Nakuru County, Kenya
Geothermal energy has been useful for centuries on earth. Geothermal as a source of energy is more caring to the environment than other sources of energy. The aim of this study was to investigate the socio-economic influence of Menengai geothermal project on community livelihood in Bahati Sub-County, Nakuru County, Kenya. The study was guided by the following objectives; to investigate the influence of Menengai geothermal project on infrastructure development for community live hood, to examine the influence of Menengai geothermal project on power cost reduction for community live hood, to find out the influence of Menengai geothermal project on creation of employment opportunities for community live hood. This study was guided by European foundation quality model and European social model. The study targeted 1120 households with a sample of 92 households. A pilot study was carried out before the main study in order to assess both the validity and reliability of research instruments. The study employed a descriptive research design. The quantitative data was collected using structured questionnaire while qualitative data was collected using eight key interview schedule questions. The study results were summarized and presented into frequency, percentages, and means using tables only. Qualitative data was cleaned, coded and analyzed according to the study themes. Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS version 22.0 software) was used to analyze the quantitative data collected. The study findings revealed that infrastructural development was vital to Menengai geothermal project and promoted community livelihood of Bahati Sub County in Nakuru County (r = 0.665, p < 0.05). The results on the influence of Menengai geothermal project on power cost reduction revealed that there was a significant relationship between power cost reduction and Menengai geothermal project (r = 0.778, p < 0.05). It was established that creation of employment opportunities was significantly related to Menengai geothermal project and promoted community livelihood of Bahati Sub County in Nakuru County (r = 0.661, p < 0.05). Based on the analysis, the study makes the following conclusions; power cost reduction had the highest influence of Menengai geothermal project on community livelihood ( = 0.479), infrastructural development ( = 0.264), creation of employment opportunities ( = 0.231). The study recommends that there is need for government to consider infrastructural developments which includes; water projects, road networks, schools and clinics when undertaking mega projects in the rural areas; the government should invest in geothermal project by expanding the project to other parts of the country. The management of projects should consider training and empowering area residents on starting their own businesses. The findings of the study would be important to policy makers, practitioners, and scholars who are interested in the relationship that exists between geothermal project and Socio-economic influence on community livelihood.
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