Influence of Social Capital on Performance of Self Help Groups in Nambale Sub-County of Busia County, Kenya.
Wasirimba, N. Joy
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Self Help Groups (SHGs) are informal groups formed to allow its members to get financial benefits by helping one another. Their objective is to build savings as well as credit for their members. Social capital (SC) is viewed as a combination of a SHG’s characteristics of bonding, bridging, and linking forms. The main aim of this study was to examine the influence of social capital on the performance of self-help groups (SHGs) in Nambale Sub-County of Busia County, Kenya. The study was guided by four objectives: 1) to examine the relationship between social capital and performance of self-help groups; 2) to examine the relationship between trust and performance of self-help groups; 3) to examine the relationship between social cohesion and performance of self-help groups; and 4) to establish the challenges facing self-help groups in Nambale Sub-County and recommend solutions. This study was anchored on two theories: the Social Capital Theory and the Group Development Theory by Bruce Tuckman which explains the link between social capital and the performance of self-help groups. The study used a mixed-method approach and adopted a descriptive survey research design. The study targeted all Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in Nambale Sub-County. The researcher purposively selected twelve (12) SHGs in three sub-locations of Nambale Township Location from a sample size of 96 respondents who were randomly selected. Questionnaires, focused group discussions (FGDs), and key informant interviews (KIIs) were used to collect primary data. The researcher administered 96 questionnaires with a response rate of 95%; 9 FGDs, and 12 KIIs. Quantitative data was analysed quantitatively using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 23 while qualitative data was analysed qualitatively through content analysis. The study observed all ethical considerations throughout the research process. The study found that 58% of the respondents indicated that their group members were trustworthy and had grown very close over the last five years while 42% per cent felt that their group members were somehow trustworthy and had grown somehow close. Overall, the respondents indicated that they agreed that there was strong group cohesion within their SHGs. Eighty-three percent (83%) indicated that they would be willing to give their support in terms of time, money, and labour toward a community project that would not be of direct benefit to them. It is therefore clear from the findings that trust levels, mutual reciprocity, and social cohesion play a pivotal role in determining the performance of SHGs. Study concludes that performance of SHGs in Nambale Sub-County was a function of different factors such as effective leadership, cohesiveness of members, effective communication, sharing of benefits and liabilities, effective participation in projects and activities of the group, proper record-keeping, and proper conflict resolution framework. It recommends proper regulations on registrations, financial and non-financial support to SHGs, homogenous membership, and training for members for efficiency and enhanced performance.