Influence of community based organizations' activities on community livelihood sustainability: a case of Kombewa Division, Kisumu West District, Kenya
Oyombo, Josephine O.
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Community based organization is a major force behind economic and physical rejuvenation of the low income people in the communities. These organizations have their origin in socio-economic scarcity, insecurity and risks that adversely affect the local peoples' livelihoods. In Kenya CBOs have been used all over the country and there are areas in Kenya such as Central province whose large strides in development has been majorly attributed to the activities of the CBOs. In Kombewa Division, there exists over 500 community based organization which appear in the official records kept by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development. Despite the many community based organizations in Kombewa Division, the poverty index in the division is still high and a good percentage of the people in this division live below the poverty level. The study proposed to find out reasons why the sustainability of the livelihood was still poor in this division when there were major forces in the areas to effect development and improve livelihood sustainability. The study looked into the extent to which the community based organizations influenced the incomes, education, accessibility to health services and property ownership of the community members. The study design was descriptive survey design and the target population was the members of the Kombewa community. The target population was sampled using the probability sampling by simple random sampling. This aimed at selecting a reasonable number of subjects that could be a good representative of the target population which added up to 67,353 whereas the sample size which was be 322 households. Households of these numbers was sampled and answered to questionnaires. Questionnaires were also be given to the community based organization officials of sampled Community Based Organizations. The findings have been analyzed using descriptive statistics with the help of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences and the analyzed data has been presented using tabulations frequency distribution tables and percentages. Measures of central tendencies such as modes have also been used to describe the analyzed data. The findings of this research study have confirmed that there are more than 500 CBOs in Kombewa division which are engaged with various activities such as farming, giving loans to members of the community, extending bursaries to school students and pupils as well as offering home based care to the community. All these are done with main aim of improving the livelihoods of the community. Women account for more than 90% of the membership of these CBOs. The CBOs activities have improved the livelihoods of the Kombewa community and a total 93% of the respondents accepted that the CBOs have improved their income, 37% said that the CBOs have supported their education and improved their literacy levels while another 61 % of the respondents said that accessibility to health care services had been made better by the activities of these CBOs. On property ownership, a good percentage ofthe respondents (82%) attest to the fact that CBOS activities have made them acquire property of various types. A lot has been invested by the CBOs on trying to improve the livelihoods of these people but the people themselves have not further invested for a sustainable livelihood. The people of Kombewa only need to learn to invest the little income they so obtain from the CBOs activities without which the high poverty levels will persist forever. There is therefore need for the Government to come up with policies that can improve the investments capacity of these people by training them on how to save and invest as well as sensitize the men-folk on the importance of involving themselves in the development agenda of the community. There is also need to put more emphasis on supporting education in the area which is the only way out of poverty. Further research would be necessary into reasons why investments practices are rare in this region and the influence that culture, religion and education level has on these peoples' livelihood sustainability.