Factors influencing participation of men in anti-poverty sele-help groups, A case of Dagoretti District, Nairobi County- Kenya
Self-help group is a voluntary and self-managed group of people, belonging to similar socioeconomic characteristics, who come together to address a felt need amongst themselves. The self-help group (SHG) approach is a model into the field of development whose objectives are to increase the well-being of the poor people, provide access to resources and credit, increase self-confidence, self-esteem and increase their creditability in all aspects of lives. The purpose of this study therefore was to investigate the factors influencing participation of men in antipoverty SHGs in Dagoretti District of Nairobi County. The main research questions explored the extent to which patriarchy system, masculinity, socio-culture and gender stereotyping influences participation of men in SHGs. The research study adopted mixed research design which combines elements of qualitative and quantitative approaches to provide breadth and depth of understanding and corroboration of information. The data collection instruments included questionnaires, interviews and Focused Group Discussions. The target population was men in Dagoretti District and to some extent institutions that work with SHGs in Dagoretti District. Study findings indicated Patriarchy system, Masculinity, Socio-culture and Gender stereotyping have a significant influence on participation of men in anti-poverty SHGs. Patriarchy indicators such as Key leadership in SHGs, gender preference in leadership, dread of women domination as well as decision making patterns in SHGs were found to have an influence on subscription of men in SHGs. Self-sufficiency, femininity and vulnerability avoidance, overconfidence and hate of women domination indicated masculinity influences. Belief such as help seeking is womanly, SHGs are not cultural for men and societal expectations of men in regarding to seeking were also found to have an influence on participation of men in SHGs. Stereotypes such as perception on which gender fits better in an SHG, women are more natural members of SHGs, SHGs are women oriented, stereotypes in policies of institutions working with SHGs and stereotypes related to low participation of men and complexity of working with women were found to also contribute to the participation of men in SHGs. Socio-culture and Gender stereotyping influences rated highest at 73% and 71.4% respectively with patriarchy system and masculinity influences at 67% and 59%. The researcher recommended awareness creation on benefits of SHGs, changing stereotypes and ancient perceptions regarding SHGs, evaluation of policies and practices of government and institutions to ensure equitable development for all and investing more in education and capacity building for the society to challenge traditional views of masculinity and cultural expectations of men. The study concludes that for men, especially poor man to be encouraged to participate in SHGs that would uplift their economic standards, there is need to address the dominant patriarchy system, help men define what it is to be masculine in a way that favours them, redefine socio-cultural arena and work towards changing stereotypes that cause men to shun SHGs. Further studies should focus on perspectives of women on factors influencing participation of men in SHGs and exploration of models of SHGs that men would be attracted to.