Contribution of women groups in the economic empowerment of rural women: a case of women groups in Bureti constituency, Kericho county, Kenya
Women groups play an important role in enabling rural women to achieve economic empowerment through poverty alleviation. The general aim of this study was to determine the contribution of women groups in the empowerment of rural women. In a bid to achieve this objective, the study sought to assess the achievements of these groups in increasing women access and control of economic resources, in assisting women contribute towards economic decisions at the household and community level, and in enabling women access credit and business services. The study also looked at the hindrances to the group’s performance. The study was conducted in Cheborgei Division, in Kericho County and focused on registered women groups. In its design, the study adopted a survey research design, use of random sampling and purposive sampling of cases. Data was collected using interview schedule and key informant interviews. Qualitative data was analysed through content analysis whereas quantitative data was analysed using figures and tables. The study revealed that the groups were averagely contributing towards the economic empowerment of rural women in the region. In its findings, the study showed that the groups had averagely played a part in advancing the economic growth of women through improving their accessibility to economic resources at the family and community level. The study also showed that the groups had played a role in enabling women make decision at the family and community level as well as in helping them access credit facilities. However, the study also revealed that there were constraints limiting the relevant groups functionality and they include; lack of proper accessibility to information; family interference on groups’ performance; strict rules imposed by financial institution on loan application; poor leadership in the groups; laxity and prejudice from government officials especially in disbursing funds; low education level amongst group members and lack of leadership training on group leaders. The study recommended the need for more entrepreneurship training for women as this will enable them raise their incomes. There is also need for capacity building on women so that they can grow their businesses into profitable enterprises. The study further recommended diversification of income generating activities by women groups and need for government, private organizations and community members to inculcate a cultural orientation that recognizes women and position in society.