The role of women in the management of water resources in Bungoma West District, Western Kenya
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This study investigated the role of women in the management of water resources in Bungoma West District with the main aim of exploring the rural women's roles and responsibilities in using, managing and conserving the water resource. The general objective of this study was to explore the problems/obstacles that women face in the management of water resources in Bungoma West District of western Kenya, and particularly to determine the extent to which women have been empowered to participate in the management of the water resources and also to examine the obstacles that stand in the way of women and prevent them from seizing the opportunities in the management and conservation of water resources. The study population was intended to consist of ten women from each of the ten selected villages. However, due to some hindrances encountered during the research a total of 88 women were interviewed from the ten villages and 100 women participated in focus group discussions conducted in every village. Random sampling was employed to select the respondents and participants in FGDs. Methods employed in data collection were mainly structured questionnaires with both open and closed ended questions and the focus group discussions. In order to permit analysis, the responses in the questionnaires were coded with numerical values. The coded data were then entered into the computer for analysis and the findings presented in per cent ages, pie charts, graphs and tables. The study findings revealed that women have not been empowered to participate in management of water resources and that there are other numerous reasons as to why women were passive in participating in management of water resources some of which included domestic chores, poverty, .illiteracy, gender bias, cultural beliefs and natural resources ownership. Besides the respondents and the participants were optimistic that these hindrances can be minimized if not eradicated and gave several recommendations on the way forward. On the basis of the findings the study concludes that cultural beliefs are not currently major obstacles due to exposure that women have got from their development groups and that competition between men and women is on the increase and may rise if women are empowered economically and educationally in form of awareness about water resources and their benefits. It can also be concluded that government intervention is necessary to eradicate some of the hindrances raised by women despite the fact that there has been some form of empowerment though dearth. Finally, that several other areas should and must be investigated further if the recommendations in this paper is to be actualized.