Influence of Savings and Loans Associations in empowering women towards household food security in Bondo District, Kenya
Savings and Loans Associations have often been argued, but not without controversy, to be a tool for empowering women and especially towards ensuring food security. Women make essential contributions to economic development, household income and ultimately household food security. However, women have always suffered inadequate credit facilities, weakening their role of ensuring food security. Women remain an invisible workforce in global production chains, where they dominate as house-workers and temporary laborers, while their role in ensuring household food security is significant, it hardly valued. Savings and loaning services have led to women’s empowerment by positively influencing their decision-making power. The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of Savings and Loans Associations in empowering women towards household food security in Bondo District. The study was guided by the following objectives: To assess how Savings and Loans Associations empower women towards enhancing food availability for households in Bondo District, To assess how Savings and Loans Associations empower women towards enhancing food accessibility for households in Bondo District, To examine how Savings and Loans Association empower women towards enhancing nutrition and utilization of food for households in Bondo District, To examine how Savings and Loans Associations empower women towards enhancing risk management and resilience for households in Bondo District. In order to conclusively address the objectives of the study, descriptive research design was adopted. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches to data collection and analysis were used. For quantitative data collection, a sample determination formula by Fisher et al. (2003) was used to establish a sample size of 72 respondents from a population of 7068 women. The test retest technique was used to ensure reliability of research instruments while validity was ensured through pilot testing and reviews. Systematic random and purposive sampling methods were used to pick the sample, data obtained was cleaned, verified and analyzed by Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and content analysis. The study findings indicate that VSLAs have enhanced the ability of 78.6% of the women to produce more food, 88.6% to purchase food of higher quality and greater quantities, increasing their ability of 77.1% of women to engage more in decisions relating to food variety and quality. Moreover, 85.7% of the women had been cushioned from risks hence enhancing their nutritional stability. The researcher concluded that women’s ability to ensure availability, access and nutrition has been enhanced. However, purchase and ownership of productive assets is still minimal. The researcher recommends that Plan international and CARE-Kenya should introduce a wide range of financial services not just savings and credit to increase women’s ability to generate and control income. The government should invest in time-saving infrastructure and enhance women’s ability to access input and output markets as well as increasing women’s access to resources, technology and information. Whereas this study revolves around influence of VSLAs in empowering women towards household food security, it further recommends an investigation on influence of VSLAs in empowering men towards household economic and social stability in Bondo District.