Patterns of utilization of uwezo fund among the youths in Kenya: a case of Rongo sub-county, Migori County
Ouko, Calvine Ooko
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Uwezo Fund is provided to youths in Kenya to enhance self-employment among them. However, utilization of such fund remains a challenge. Nearly 80% of youths in Rongo sub-county cannot account for Ksh. 16,943,338 which has so far been disbursed to them. This study therefore sought to assess the patterns of utilization of Uwezo Fund among youths in Rongo Sub-County, Migori County, Kenya. Specific objectives of the study are: influence of accessibility of Uwezo fund on its usage; socio-demographic factors that influence the usage of the fund; and the socio-economic factors influencing the usage of Uwezo Fund. Literature was reviewed in relation to the specific objectives of the study. The study adopted Theory of Planned Behavior and Social Learning Theory. It utilized a cross-sectional descriptive survey design. The study targeted youths who were recipients of Uwezo Fund in Rongo Sub-County. The target population was 1,296 youths and two Sub-county Uwezo Fund officers. Cluster, Proportionate and Simple random sampling were adopted where 125 youths were used as a sample. Data was collected using questionnaires, key informant interview and focus group discussion. Validity of research instruments were ensured by discussing them with research supervisors. Reliability was ensured by doing a pre-test. Data was subjected to both descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. Results were presented in tables, bar charts and pie charts. The study found that most youths (76.80%) do not receive amount of Uwezo Fund they apply for. The study also found that amount of Uwezo Funds accessed has a strong significant association with its planned use (ᵪ2=69.512 at 1df and P=0.05, with a Cramer‟s V of 0.746). Regarding socio-demographic factors, the study found weak association between planned use of Uwezo Fund and Age (ᵪ2=9.388 at 2df and P=0.05, with a Cramer‟s V of 0.274) and marital status (ᵪ2=7.398 at 2df and P=0.05, with a Cramer‟s V of 0.243). The study found no significant association between use of Uwezo Fund and gender (ᵪ2=1.622 at 1df and P=0.05) and religion (ᵪ2=0.588 at 2df and P=0.05). On socio-economic factors, the study found weak association between use of Uwezo fund and level of education (ᵪ2=8.006 at 3df and P=0.05, with a Cramer‟s V of 0.253) and income (ᵪ2=7.568 at 2df and P=0.05, with a Cramer‟s V of 0.246). The study found no association between use of Uwezo Fund and occupation (ᵪ2=6.303 at 3df and P=0.05). The study concludes that there exist a strong relationship between amount of Uwezo Fund accessed and its use. There is also a relationship between socio-demographic and socio-economic factors and planned utilization of Uwezo Fund. The study recommends the following: Government through the ministry of finance should increase amount allocated to individual youth groups; Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs to consider socio-demographic factors of youths in distributing the fund; and the ministry Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs should also consider socio-economic factors of the youths in allocating funds and carry out monitoring and evaluation on economic projects undertaken by youths.