The impact of development on women in Kenya: a methodological approach.
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This research project constitutes a follow-up of the 1978 Expert Meeting on Research and Data Collection on "Women and Development," held in Nairobi for the East African Region. Among the research priorities and guidelines established was the major emphasis on openness and flexibility in reseach methodology to find deeper insights and comprehensive views about women's perceptions, problems, and envisaed solutions. Following these guidelines, a major research project has beeen designed with a duration of 3-4 years, combining research, action, and training elements. First stages of the project focused mainly on pilot research activities oriented to provide scientific grounds for action. In general, the methodology adopted has been oriented to widen the field of inquiry by incorporating women's own perceptions of their problems and ways of life within different development situations: pastoralist, small agriculturalist, and periurban. The data have provided comprehensive evaluations of: health and nutritional aspects; education and perception of the role of education in this changing development pattern; concerns about children's aspirations and perception of children within their present life style; attitudes about family planning; women's labor, both at the domestic level and as cash earners in wage labor or other cash-producing activities; aspirations in general; perception of main changes in women's life since their mother's time; man-woman division of roles; and conception of what development means for the respondents and how they see their participation in it. The adopted research strategy has had practical methodological and theoretical purposes. Regarding the practical purposes, it has helped to identify some of women's main problems, objectives, and aspirations in life as they perceive and evaluate them. The target group of the research is low income women in both rural and urban settings with major emphasis on rural women. For the comparative study of the 3 selected groups, a pilot representative sample was examined. This sampling attempted to cover different areas in Kenya for the rural and pastoralist groups and women linked to different activities within the informal sector for the periurban one. A total of 362 small groups were surveyed. The 3 research instruments were an open-ended questionnaire, a set of photographs, and life histories. The report includes an illustration of projective techniques through the analysis of some photos, focusing on: tea picking; women and cows drinking water from a pond; milking; adult education; fetching firewood; 3 women walking in town;f fetching water; and a boy sitting alone. The 3 research instruments used complement each other in the apprehension of women's perceptions, feelings, and in the evaluation of the process of development and its impact on their lives.