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Uwezo Fund and Poverty Reduction in Moyale Sub–County in Marsabit County, Kenya

Abstract:Globally, poverty and unemployment are some of the main development concerns. This is especially true in third world countries. Different governments have employed various strategies in attempt to alleviate poverty amongst its most vulnerable population of youth, women and people living with disabilities. The Government of Kenya set up a number of development funds, such as the Uwezo Fund, to aid in its fight against poverty among vulnerable groups especially the youth, women and the disabled. The broad objective of this study was to investigate the role of the national government special funds such as the Uwezo Fund on poverty reduction in Moyale sub –county, Marsabit County, Kenya. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were employed. Questionnaires were used to engage members of the various groups that had received funding. Face to face interviews with group leaders and local Fund Officials were carried out with the help of key interview guides. Multi-stage sampling techniques was used to draw a sample of 125 respondents. These were drawn from 25 groups, representing 5 out of the 7 Wards in Moyale sub County. Descriptive statistics was analyzed using the Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) program. For inferential statistics, Chi-square test was used to understand the relationship between the loan amount, the rate of unemployment, and the loan -profit margin. Further analysis, using the same chi-square test, was done to evaluate the relationship between the profit margin and market access facilitation, Fund policy awareness and entrepreneurial training. The study revealed that the Uwezo fund did not achieve its main objective –the reduction of poverty among its beneficiaries through the creation of youth employment. The fund’s ineffectiveness is linked to the amounts disbursed as loans. These amounts were considered too little to support any viable business venture. The role of the fund in the creation of a local entrepreneurial network was noted by the respondents. In addition, it was found that infrastructural support-including media, policy and training -had a positive impact in advancing the objectives of the fund. The study recommended that, for the fund to achieve its key objective, the amounts disbursed as loans should be increased. Further support initiatives targeting the fund beneficiaries, including training and awareness creation through the use of appropriate media, also need to be to be given more emphasis. Key Words: Uwezo Fund, Poverty reduction, unemployment
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