Influence of constituency women enterprise scheme on economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs in Kisumu Rural, Kenya
Omollo, Benter Achieng
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The Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) was a strategic move by the Government of Kenya towards addressing poverty alleviation through socio-economic empowerment of women. WEF provides funding to Kenyan women who are aged at least 18 years; who must have intention of investing in income generating activities, and who already belong to appropriately registered groups that must have been in existence for three (3) months. Constituency Women Enterprise Scheme (C-WES), which is a channel through which WEF disburses funds to women entrepreneurs, has been in existence in Kisumu Rural since 2007, but the extent to which these funds have empowered these group of women has not been established. The purpose of this study was to examine influence of C- WES on economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs in Kisumu rural, with a view to isolating the actual contributions of C- WES so as to recommend on the priorities of C- WES that could create predictable financial practices and avoid haphazard implementation of programmes based on scientific justification. The objectives of this study were to examine influence of C- WES on investment in commercial infrastructure by women entrepreneurs, business engagement by women entrepreneurs, access to subsidized credits by women entrepreneurs, capacity building of women entrepreneurs, and support and facilitation of local and international marketing of goods and services produced by women entrepreneurs in Kisumu Rural. The study sought answers to the research questions as to whether investments in commercial infrastructure, access to credits, marketing facilitation, business networking and capacity building influence economic enipowerment of women entrepreneurs in Kisumu Rural. This study tested the hypotheses that there is a statistically significant relationship between investment in commercial infrastructure, access to credits, marketing facilitation, business networking and capacity building, and economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs in Kisumu Rural. The study reviewed related literature on C- WES as an aspect of microfinance, C-WES and economic empowerment of women, investment in commercial infrastructure and economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs, marketing facilitation and economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs, capacity building and economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs, and access to credits and economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs. It is hoped that policy makers at the various Ministries, C- WES managers at district, and divisional offices will base their decisions regarding C- WES management on the findings of this study. The researcher also hopes that students, managers and general readers in the field of microfinance and women empowerment would find the document a valuable source of information regarding C- WES management. The study was conducted through an expost facto research design in Kisumu Rural on a sample of 205 women entrepreneurs selected through stratified and snowball sampling techniques. Data was collected by the researcher using questionnaires and interview methods in March 2011 and analyzed through percentages and Analysis of variance techniques by the use of Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). After data analysis, findings of the study showed that C-WES has not empowered women entrepreneurs in Kisumu Rural. The study recommend that C- WES loans should be made available to women entrepreneurs at their door steps and that loans be given to women entrepreneurs as individuals and not as a group. The study further recommends that funds implementers should initiate businesses for women entrepreneurs and train them on how to run the businesses for self socio-economic empowerment. The study suggests that a study be carried out to find. out factors contributing to low uptake of C-WES credits and on marketing facilitation and economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs to ascertain their contribution to economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs.