The role of women groups in women economic empowerment: a study of selected women groups in Magutu division, Nyeri County, Kenya.
Gachemi, Damaris Mumbi
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ABSTRACT This study examined the role of women groups in economic empowerment of women in Magutu Division, Nyeri County. This study arose from the need to evaluate the impacts of government, NGOs and policy makers’ efforts to improve the socioeconomic status of women in Kenya. Thus the study focused on the income generating activities that women get involved in, gender related factors that affect the performance of women groups, challenges facing them and strategies that can be employed to enhance women groups. The study was guided by Stromquist’s and Sarah Longwe’s empowerment model. The study applied a descriptive research design. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. The target population consisted of 320 members from 15 groups which had over 10 years of operation, and whose economic empowerment process was noticeable in terms of completed projects and revenues raised. A sample of 106 respondents was obtained which included group leaders, members and the County Gender Officer. The study employed questionnaires and an interview schedule as the instruments of data collection. The data collected was then cleaned, coded, analyzed and presented in percentage frequencies, tables, and narratives. The findings indicate that women groups in Magutu Division have devised various income generating activities to improve their income, have rules and regulations that govern their operations and demonstrate a commitment to their groups’ activities in order to improve their economic status. The findings showed that when women band together in women groups, they were able to improve their economic status through the economic activity (ies) that they carried out. The study recommends that active engagement by the members of staff in the department of social services should be implored on as a measure to ensure that the women groups realize their objectives. The group members should equally be offered educative forums which will equip them on the challenges that cause difficulty in their groups. The department of gender should put in place mechanisms such as capacity building forums to ensure that its officers visit women groups in the field with an aim of empowering them and sensitize those not in groups to join them, as a measure of enhancing their participation in group activities. Policies should equally be put in place to ensure that women groups are empowered to be effective in the activities that they engage in. This will ensure that women groups in Magutu Division will become powerful economic tools, which can help the women generate regular incomes for themselves as well as their families.