Influence of women participation in groups on socio-economic development of rural communities in Kenya; a case of Koibatek district, Baringo county
Women in Kenya are finding that if they pool their resources together in groups of their own creation, they can radically change their lives and the lives of their families. The study aimed at investigating the role of women self help groups on economic development a case of Koibatek District women groups, Baringo County. The specific objectives of the study included to investigate the participation of women in groups towards socio – economic development in Koibatek District, to establish influence of women groups enterprise development projects on socio - economic development, to find out influence of micro credit activities on socio – economic development, to investigate the influence of education and training activities of women groups on socio – economic development and to establish challenges experienced in influencing socio – economic development of rural women in Koibatek District. The study utilised socio network theory as its theoretical framework. The study was conducted in Koibatek District. Both exploratory and descriptive research design strategies were used. The target population comprises 113 women group within the district of 3000 members. The sample size for the study comprised of 340 women in the district selected purposively. Those who had group membership of more than 4 years were selected to participate in the study. Other key informants included district development officer and women groups‟ leaders in the district. The study utilized questionnaires and interview schedules as instruments for data collection. The data collected was analysed qualitatively and quantitatively using descriptive statistics. Findings of the study were presented using frequency distribution tables and bar graphs. Results of the study have shown that there is significant influence of women groups towards socio economic development of rural women. The study established that women have started income generating projects which has resulted from group lending activities. It was also evident that women groups have increased their education training activities that provided the rural women with knowledge and skills on socio economic development. The study recommends that financial institutions should support women groups in increasing amount of loans given to women to improve both economic and community development.