Contribution of Worth Village Banking to Economic Empowerment of Women in Salvation Army in Bungoma County, Kenya.
MetadataShow full item record
Economic empowerment of women is part of the holistic mission of the Salvation Army (SA) which evangelizes both in word and deed. The holistic mission of the SA aims at restoring the right relationship with God through redemption from both sin and economic disempowerment. In Kenya, particularly in Bungoma County, the SA executes her holistic mission through redemption from sin and economic empowerment of women using the Women of Worth (WORTH) program. This study explored the contribution of SA’s WORTH program to economic empowerment of women through WORTH village banks in Bungoma County, Kenya. The purpose of this study was to bring to light the activities of SA’s WORTH village banking program that economically empower women in the study area. Guiding objectives were first, to discuss the teachings of the SA on holistic transformation and redemption in relation to economic empowerment of women; second, to assess the contribution of the SA towards God’s mission of shalom in reference to economic empowerment of women. The third objective was to examine the nature of WORTH Village banking. Finally, the study sought to address the challenges facing WORTH village banking in its economic empowerment of women. The study is significant in assisting the SA in and outside the study area as well as other Christian denominations interested in coming up with sustainable economic empowerment initiatives for women and other vulnerable groups in the society. The study reviewed the literature related to the objectives. The study was conducted in Cheptais Ward, in Bungoma County because of poor penetration of formal women microfinance institutions. Holistic Christian Transformation and Social Gospel theories guided the study. Holistic Transformation theory advocates for transforming lives holistically and restoring relationships with God and humanity through the local church. The SA is an agent of this holistic transformation due to its ability to mobilize people for change. Through the WORTH Village banking program, it mobilizes women to accumulate savings and use them for investment in income generating activities (IGAs). On the other hand, the Social Gospel Theory attempts to bring the Kingdom of God on earth by using the Church to address the contextual social and economic realities in the society. The researcher employed the descriptive research design to gather both primary and secondary data. This was because it allowed the researcher to conduct in-depth interviews, focused group discussions (FGDs) and observations. Simple random and purposive samplings were used to select 136 respondents who participated in the study from a study population of 351 members and leaders of WORTH groups. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and presented in form of frequencies, tables, graphs and charts. Qualitative data was organized into study themes and presented in form verbatim and narratives. The study findings revealed that the SA’s WORTH village banking has enabled women to become economically independent by reducing the financial dependence on men. Further, inadequate skills and knowledge on investment as well as inadequate loan capital have thwarted efforts to investment in IGAs. The study recommends the need for WORTH groups to form linkages with formal microfinance institutions (MFIs) and Uwezo Fund so as to boost the loan capital. It also calls the successful investors through WORTH program to share their stories so as to inspire the other member.