An assessment of housing condition in rural Kenya: the case of Muranga district
Kibutu, Thomas Njuguna
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This study on rural housing in Muranga' a District had a three-fold purpose:- to look into the historical development of housing from the traditional (since the advent of colonialism), to the present and the circumstances surrounding this development; to assess the present quality of housing and to investigate the socio-economic variables that influence the present quality of houses. Underlying the study were two premises i.e. (i) There have been changes over time in housing from the traditional (since the dawn of colonialism) to the modern in the study area. (ii) There exists a marked degree of variability in rural housing conditions in Murang'a District. There were also two hypotheses viz: There is no significant relationship between the housing conditions and the social factors in the study area (ii) There is no significant relationship between the housing conditions in the study area and the economic variables. Data were collected from both primary and secondary sources to address the issues above. Secondary sources were mainly historical and archival materials collected on the historical changes in housing and other related aspects. Primary data were solicited using a questionnaire, aimed at providing data on socio-economic characteristics of households and housing quality. Data processing and analysis utilized techniques such as computations of averages, percentages, frequencies, correlations, cartographic and diagrammatic representations. The major finding of this study can be summarized as follows: (a) there have been changes form the traditional housing due mainly to colonialism and the subsequent changes such as villagization, consolidation and registration of land, introduction of cash crops and monetary economy, among others. (b) There exists a marked degree of variability in housing conditions between and within the various sub-areas of the district. This variation was found to be in terms of the types and conditions of building materials and the availability of amenities. A statistical analysis using the Pearson's correlation analysis and the chi-square model exposed the socio-economic variables, which influence the quality of houses in the area. Their variables include the educational attainment, income level and the employment status of household heads. Others include how the farm was acquired and the nature of land tenure in terms of whether one has a title deed or not to his/her farm. In view of the above findings, recommendations have been made with a view to alleviating the rural housing problems in Murang'a District. Some suggestions for further research have also been proposed.