Improving the Livelihoods of Women in the Developing World: Selected Perceptions of Women’s Self-help Groups in Western Kenya

By Billy A. Jivetti and M. Craig Edwards.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Development specialists agree that poverty in developing countries is a multidimensional phenomenon. The United Nations (2001) reported that the poorest of the world’s poor are women. The Kenyan Government recognizes that poverty is area specific and interventions aimed at creating employment and reducing poverty must be localized. In Kenya, “women’s self-help groups” have become popular avenues through which women in rural areas complement efforts toward alleviating poverty. This study examined women’s groups (Sindikiza Maisha) in Western Kenya regarding members’ perceptions on improving their livelihoods. Semi-structured, focus group interviews were used to collect data from 11 groups. Most groups were formed to assist HIV/AIDS-related orphans or widows. Groups expressed the need for a local trade school and supported the establishment of a mobile training unit (MTU). Policy-makers, who are charged with alleviating poverty, should consider the implementation of a MTU and the construction of a trade school in the Shaviringa Location.

Keywords: Education, Kenya, Poverty Alleviation, Training, Women’s Self-help Groups

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.167-182. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 682.559KB).

Billy A. Jivetti

Graduate Student, Division of Applied Social Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO, USA

Billy A. Jivetti Mr. Jivetti is a doctoral student at the University of Missouri in the Department of Rural Sociology where he is focusing in community development. He holds a masters of science in international trade and development from Oklahoma State University, and Masters in environmental management from Miami University, Ohio. His research interests include rural livelihoods development, community development, capacity building, empowerment of poor communities, and women in development. Upon graduation, Mr. Jivetti intends to work in international development.

Dr. M. Craig Edwards

Professor, Agriculture, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA

M. Craig Edwards, Ph.D. Edwards serves as professor and director of student teaching in the Department of Agricultural Education, Communications, and Leadership at Oklahoma State University. Prior to joining Oklahoma State University, he served as a faculty member at the University of Georgia and Texas A&M University. He earned a doctoral degree in agricultural education from Texas A&M University, and M.Ed. in vocational education and B.S. in agriculture degrees from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Before entering academia, Edwards taught secondary agricultural education for 15 years in Texas. His research interests include student learning and achievement in agricultural education, preparation and early-career induction needs of agriculture teachers, student teacher-cooperating teacher relationships, and special needs and challenges of agricultural educators in post-socialist societies. He has worked on agricultural and rural development projects in Kenya, Mali, and Mozambique.


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