Experiences of Persons With Disabilities in the Utilization of the Economic Empowerment Fund in Nairobi County
Globally, evidence shows that Persons with Disabilities are at greater risk of poverty than people who do not have disabilities. The Government of Kenya in acknowledging this and similar concerns established the Economic Empowerment Fund to assist in income generation for Persons with Disabilities. The main objective of the study was to evaluate how and the ways in which the Economic Empowerment Fund has impacted beneficiaries in Nairobi County so as to determine if it is meeting its objectives. To fulfill this objective, the study sought to identify the socio-economic factors influencing PWDs participation in the Fund; to describe the ways in which the Fund has changed the lives of beneficiaries; and to assess if the Fund‟s impacts match the needs of beneficiaries. The study employed a qualitative methodological approach so as to gain a full understanding of the meanings that beneficiaries place on their experiences with the Economic Empowerment Fund. Interviews of an open-ended nature were used to gather information from representatives of eleven groups and two key informants working with the National Council for Persons with disabilities. Two focus group discussions were held with two groups participating in the study. The study found that the two main factors influencing PWDs participation in the Fund are the sources through which PWDs can access information about the Fund and the awareness raising strategies employed by the National Council for Persons with Disabilities. The study found that PWDs experiences with the Fund have largely been positive. Even though most of the beneficiaries considered the income from the small enterprises significant at the individual level, it was found to have no implication at the household level as no change in financial responsibilities was reported after benefitting from the Fund. The study found that the actual needs of the target population are not being met by the Fund as the Fund‟s impacts failed to match with the needs of beneficiaries in more than half of the cases. In the cases which the needs and impacts matched, it was to varying degrees. The study concluded that even though there are certain aspects of the Economic Empowerment Fund that should be amended for the Fund to realize its full potential, the Fund is on track in meeting its objectives.
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