Effectiveness of Undugu Society Programmes in Empowering Female Commercial Sex Workers in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Ngai, Juster Mbura
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Undugu Society of Kenya plays a major role in including CSWs in the current world-wide effort to emancipate the women through empowerment programmes. USK runs several empowerment programmes such as health, education, microfinance, guidance and counselling among others. Despite the efforts by USK to empower CSWs by doing all the positive things that should retain them, most CSWs keep going back to the sex trade. The study sought to assess the effectiveness of these programmes in empowering female commercial sex workers. The objectives of the study were; to identify USK empowerment programmes and activities for CSWs from 2012 when the programme started to 2015, determine the impact of the programmes and activities since 2012 to 2015, examine challenges faced by USK in empowering the CSWs and come up with strategies that could be put in place for effective empowerment of CSWs. The study was guided by the Liberal feminist theory. A descriptive survey design whose analyses were concerned with relationships between variables was used. The target population was all the 200 CSWs under the programme from 2012 to 2015, four social workers (1 from each centre) and one programme coordinator. Stratified random sampling was used to select a sample size of 40 CSWs from the target population (10 CSWs from each centre). Further, 4 social workers and the programme coordinator were purposively selected because they were believed to be more informed about the issue. Questionnaires and interview guides were used to collect data. Quantitative data was analyzed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) while qualitative data was analyzed thematically and interpreted in context. The findings of the study revealed that rehabilitation programmes mainly included education, microfinance, vocational training, health education, guidance and counselling as well as peer education programmes. It was also found that some of these rehabilitation programmes were effective in the social and economic empowerment of the CSWs. A regression analysis revealed that microfinance access had the highest influence in empowering CSWs, with the results being highly significant (p<0.05). Inadequate facilities, financial constraints, inadequate trained and support staff hampered empowerment efforts by the NGO. Stigma, poverty, low level of education and gender roles challenged the CSWs. The study recommends that USK should provide adequate rehabilitation facilities, avail adequately trained staff, provide adequate rehabilitation facilities, sensitizing community members, establishing more centres and continued follow- up activities to the reformed CSWs. USK should also avail adequate seed money to enable CSWs to start small businesses.