Influence of the boda boda enterprise on youth empowerment in Kericho town, Kericho county, Kenya
Bodaboda enterprise has become a popular industry towards the provision of informal self-employment and income generating opportunities for many unemployed youth thus changing the face of rural-urban transport services in Kenya. The youth contribution to economic, social, cultural and environmental development of any country is immense. However youth who constitute the largest proportion of educated population, have always fallen victims of exploitation e.g. the famous “kazikwavijana, pesakwawazee” have felt short changed in the share of the national cake due to inadequate empowerment programs to meet their obligation in a sustainable way. Although the youth form the largest work force in Kericho town, there is little focus on their socio-economic empowerment a gap that this study intends to fill. Bodaboda enterprise have positively influenced the youth in their bargaining power and decision making. The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of bodaboda enterprise on youth empowerment in Kericho town. The study was guided by the following objectives: To establish the extent to which the bodaboda enterprise influence economic empowerment of youth in Kericho town, to determine how the bodaboda enterprise socially influences the empowerment of youth in Kericho town, to examine how the bodaboda enterprise influence cultural empowerment of the youth in Kericho town and to assess how the bodaboda enterprise influence environmental empowerment of youth in Kericho town. In order to comprehensively address the objectives of the study, descriptive survey design was used. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used in data collection. The target population was 2100 individuals. Stratified random sampling was used to select 206 Bodaboda operators and purposive sampling was used to select 2 bodaboda youth group officials and 2 bank personnel. Questionnaire was used in the study for data collection. Peer reviews and expert judgement was used to establish the validity of the instrument while test re-test technique was used to establish the reliability of the research instruments, where Cronbach reliability index of 0.77375 was obtained. Data was obtained, verified and analyzed using statistical package for social science (SPSS) and content analysis. The study findings revealed that the purchasing power of the youth has greatly improved by 67.7% as a result of operating BodaBodahence improved living standards. The findings indicated that BBE has helped them to discuss matters that empower them socially. The study established that BBE has enabled the youth to have self -esteem and aspiration for a better future at 92.8%. Further findings revealed that BBE have a positive relationship with cultural empowerment of the youth and 89% agreed to have been empowered culturally. The findings also showed that the youth interacted with people from different cultures and this has helped them embrace cultural diversities. Further the findings revealed that involvement of the youth in BodaBodaEnterprise has led to the improved environmental conservation at 53%. This was seen in terms of significant changes to the environment and reduction of noise by 54%, reduction in solid wastes was 45% and less congestion in the zones of operation by the BodaBoda operators at 64%. The study also established that 22 % of youth empowerment can be explained by the existence of bodaboda enterprise. Some of the conclusion drawn from the findings were that most bodaboda entrepreneurs lacked entrepreneurial and saving skills which affects their performance .The study recommends that the financial institutions should work closely with the bodaboda operators to give them capacity building on entrepreneurial skill and savings tips. This may boost the purchasing power and investment performance.