Youth Financial Empowerment Programmes and Socioeconomic Development of Rural Areas in Nyeri County, Kenya

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Muruthi, James Waweru
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Kenyatta University
There have been numerous policies and programmes on growth, development and improvement of people and society welfare. This is through empowering the youth by providing them with the necessary resources and a platform for creating awareness on available opportunities. Most of these policies and programmes are directed toward a specific sector, industry or an area with an aim of creating a positive impact in the short or long run to that sector and the overall economy. This has led to the government and other stakeholders focusing in the rural areas by using the youths as an instrument of change but the question was if there is any change despite pumping a lot of resource in these areas. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of government and non-governmental organization intervention through youth financial empowerment programmes on socio-economic development of rural areas of Nyeri County by providing credits, bringing new technology, markets provision and finally through imparting them with financial knowledge. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. The population of the study was 2 persons from 63 registered youth groups from Nyeri County, totaling to 126 respondents to represent the whole population of youth. Purposive sampling was employed to all the targeted respondent making the study sample size 126 who were beneficiaries of the youth financial empowerment programmes. Data collection was through primary methods such as interviews and questionnaire and secondary methods such as journals and government publications. Reliability and validity of the questionnaire was tested through piloting while ethical considerations were observed by treating responses with confidentiality. Multiple Regression Analysis and descriptive statistics (such as mean and standard deviation) were used in the analysis of data. Data presentation was done by using tables for ease of understanding and interpretation. From the study findings youth financial empowerment programmes had varying impact on development. Adoption of current technology was significant in influencing socio-economic development of rural areas. Credit provision and market provision were also found to have high effect while financial knowledge was found to have a moderate effect on socio-economic development of rural areas. In conclusion, to improve productivity and living standard of rural areas of Nyeri County youth financial empowerment programmes through adoption of new technology, credit provision, market provision and financial knowledge are of significant effect. The study recommended that good financial management knowledge such as budgeting, recording, and reporting are of paramount importance thus more resources such as educative materials should be produced to enlighten the youth. A policy framework that would involve more youth through public participation in coming up with empowerment policies should be put in place and involve a wider net of stakeholders apart from the government, such as private investors and NGO. Lastly, diversified sources of funding or credit should be involved so as to pump more financial capital to youth and rural areas which would have great effect on development
A Research Project Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirement for the Award of a Master of Business Administration Degree (Finance), School of Business, Kenyatta University.