Women collective actions and performance of their informal groups: analysis of rotating savings and credit associations in Muthara division, Kenya
Karwitha, N. D.
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This study examined Rotating Savings and Credit Associations’ (ROSCAs) socio- economic benefits to members who overcame the collective action challenges to significantly achieve ROSCA goals in Muthara Division Meru County, Kenya. The study objectives were to outline factors influencing women membership into ROSCAs; assess social economic benefits of ROSCAs that improve economic performance of women participants; determine opportunities and challenges affecting performance of ROSCAs and establish the influence of management practices on performance of ROSCAs in Muthara division of Meru County. The study adopted a descriptive design and was done in Muthara Division of Meru County. The target population was 7619 ROSCA members from 176 registered ROSCAs. ROSCA groups were stratified into four categories and stratified random sampling technique was used to select 18 groups which had been in existence for more than two years. Using Cochran’s correction formula, 171 respondents were selected from 18 ROSCAs using stratified random sampling method to participate in the study. Questionnaires were administered to ROSCA members while interview schedules were administered to ROSCA officials and registrar of social welfare groups in Muthara Division. The coded data was analysed using a programme developed by Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The analysis of study findings supported the conclusions that: Providing timely feedback to members influenced economic performance of groups; Women joined ROSCAs to accumulate income to cater for their family needs in education, medical and other emergencies. ROSCAs are platforms for initiating group projects like chicken rearing, outside catering, renting out utensils to organised ceremonies. There was a good ROSCAs management and performance like organised group’s financial records, meeting attendance registers and ‘pot’ receiving records. Chi square model established a positive association between ROSCA management practices and its performance However, ROSCAs rarely consulted registrar of social services about investment projects in their locality. ROSCAs faced various challenges including failure by members to honour their obligations like paying group subscription fees hence a need to improve the management of ROSCAs. The study recommends that: ROSCAs adopt technologies of using M-pesa, M-Shwari, and Airtel money among others to make it convenient to save ones income; ROSCAs have links to banks to have a strong capital base; ROSCAs work closer with both County and national government departments on training of ROSCA members by organizing seminars and workshops on prudent management of funds and ways of exploiting unexploited business ventures. Finally, the study recommends that future researches be carried out on the following: first, a cost benefits analysis on socio-economic benefits enjoyed by ROSCAs members in urban versus rural areas. Secondly, a comparative study on prudent ROSCA management skills and techniques in urban and extensive rural areas where there is diversity in membership.