Effects of women group projects activities on households’ livelihood in Kenya: a case of Maseno division, Kisumu County
Studies show that most women in most parts of the world are dissatisfied with their situation in the family, social, economic and political circles in comparison to men. This prompted women to form groups so as to cater for their interests. They therefore engage in women group projects which have an impact on their participation in household responsibilities such as healthcare, proper shelter, food security and education of the children. The purpose of this study was therefore to determine the effects of women group projects on the livelihoods of their households in Kenya with particular focus on Maseno division. The study attempted to achieve the following objectives: to establish the extent to which women group projects influence food security among households in Maseno division; to assess the level at which women group projects influence education of households in Maseno division; and to determine the extent to which women group projects influence health care of households in Maseno division. The study adapted a descriptive survey design. The target population was 164 women groups with a total membership of 624 women, 15 staff from the department of social services and 33 Non-governmental Organization workers giving a sum of 672 people in Maseno division. The study used a third rule to select 113 respondents who comprised 156 women group members, two department of social services staff and five NGO workers for data collection. Instruments for data collection included: questionnaire and interview schedule. Both instruments were piloted for their validity and reliability. Data collected was processed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Quantitative data was sorted, coded and processed by use of SPSS version 12 to generate frequencies and percentages. The percentages were used to determine Chi – square value in order to establish whether there was a significant effect of women on household livelihood. Qualitative data was transcribed, categorized into themes and interpreted and then reported. The study established that women group projects influence food security among households to a greater extent since households are either enabled to improve their agricultural production or empowered to purchase food from the market directly from the project proceeds. Also women seem to subsidize education of the households thereby sustaining a higher enrolment of children in schools in the division. Women group projects also seem to support healthcare among households since members only contribute whenever a member is overwhelmed with healthcare bills: hence the study recommends that more women should be encouraged to join women groups which would eventually enable them initiate income generating projects to boost food production. Further the government should allocate more revolving funds to women group projects so that they can expand their projects for higher income generation to enable them effectively support their children to higher level of education. The study further recommends that women should initiate clear policies on healthcare instead of operating at welfare level. It was hoped that the findings of the study would be used by women groups in the division to explore their untapped potential in economic development. The findings may also be used by development partners to incorporate women group projects as part of their development agenda.
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