Assessment of the performance of community based organisations in Kenya
Gikonyo, Waweru Jimmie
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This study assessed the performance of community based organizations (CBOs) in Kenya by using Tumaini Oasis and Marurui United Youths Group, as examples. These CBOs were located in Kasarani division, Nairobi and were founded in 2003. The study's statement of the problem was derived from the fact that CBOs had been found to play a great role in community development activities (Mulwa and Nguluu, 2003). And in this regard, unemployed youths had coalesced and formed CBOs to address their. poverty. However, with all this credit being paid to the CBOs, it was apparent that concrete studies on their performance to credit or debunk this contention were few and far apart. It was in this respect, that a need existed for further study to solidify this position, as the status quo became clearer. This was a survey design. The study objectives included identification of motivational factors behind formation of the CBOs and the causes of poverty among the members. Others were identification of the income generating activities, achievements made and factors that affected the performance of the CBOs. Data was collected using a questionnaire from a sample of 52 respondents from the two CBOs. It was then edited, coded and entered into an Access data base that had been prepared prior to data collection. The next step was to analyse the data using descriptive statistics aided by computer software - Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). The resultant information was then presented through frequency tables, graphs and pie charts for easy understanding. From these presentations it was easy to do a descriptive analysis of the results and make inferences about the findings. The findings indicated that the respondents were influenced to form or join the CBOs by many factors, among them being a desire to improve the socio-economic statuses of their communities and the need to fight idleness by utilizing their skills and talents. Causes of poverty on the other hand, among the respondents, included unemployment and lack of or low education, among others. On the issue of income generating activities, the CBOs were engaged in many that were equally diversified. They included cyber cafe, computerllanguage college/ secretarial services and garbage collection, among others. In the area of achievements, the CBOs had made modest gains in the provision of employment to their members, establishment of computer college/cyber cafe and transformation of many youths from drug takers to volunteer workers in the community, among others. The above achievements notwithstanding, there were some factors that affected the performance of the CBOs. These included inadequate funds, inadequate knowledge and skills to run the CBOs and inadequate commitment and motivation among some members, among others.To overcome these constraining factors the respondents suggested some solutions. These included the need to build the capacity of the members in leadership, organization and financial management and the need to solicit more donor funds to initiate more income generating activities, among others. Finally, the respondents advised the unemployed youths to engage in self employment by starting small enterprises and to form or join CBOs or youthgroups to attract government and donor funds, among others. It was recommended therefore, that the government should take advantage of the youths desire to alleviate poverty and unemployment by legislating policies that would make it easy for the youths to access business education and business start-up funds through the CBOs. In addition, the government should address all the bottlenecks inherent in starting small enterprises to encourage the youths to venture into them, as a way of creating self employment.