The role of community based organizations (CBOs) in transforming people's lives: a case study of Omega child shelter in Mwingi Central District
Kenya is one of the countries in Africa where civil society organizations play a key role in promoting both rural and urban development. Many civil society organizations adhere to the laid down legal requirements are legally registered with relevant government departments and therefore recognized as key stakeholders in development. This gives them power to influence government policies and political decisions in support of the community development initiatives. Civil society organizations including CBOs are seen as effective vehicles to transform peoples' lives and in promotion of sustainable development because they apply integrated, people centered, participatory development approaches through organizing and mobilizing communities into action and exploitation of the rich social capital asset for public good. Through Civil Society organization efforts, the country has made tremendous progress in health, educational, agriculture and food security, community capacity building and awareness raising, infrastructure development and technical development. The study was set out to establish the capacity of CBOs in promoting sustainable development in communities. This was done through doing a case study of Omega Child Shelter, a CBO in Nzeluni, Mwingi Central. The selection of Nzeluni was done purposively and data were gathered through focus group discussion, unstructured interviews, and observation guide. Data analysis was through establishing the emerging themes and comparing responses by respondents in order to check the validity of the data collected. The researcher established that the Omega Child Shelter had initiated education programmes, provision of hea1thcare, food security and nutrition, infrastructure development; environmental conservation, capacity building, and building of community endowment fund. These programmes were all geared towards development. The CBOs programme on education, especially Early Childhood Development stimulation and socialization have been put in place since 2005; and were meant to run up to 2013. The study however established that there was need for other intervention measures in order to keep students in school. on food security, the CBO's effort had been a major contribution towards achieving sustainable development. There were four projects initiated by the CBO: a goat project, crop farming, a green house project, and a friut tree nursery. Of all these projects, the goat project was already established amongst the community members. The general conclusion from this study was that commendable efforts had been made in local resource mobilization and therefore CBOs have a great potential towards the achievement of sustainable development.