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Women Economic Empowerment In Poverty Mitigation In Mwala Sub- County, Machakos County, Kenya

Micro-credit serves as a tool for improving rural livelihoods through the creation of entrepreneurship opportunities that encourage the elimination of unemployment by developing potential businesses based on their interest and skills. This study sought to determine the influence of Women Economic Empowerment in Poverty mitigation in Mwala Sub County, Machakos County, Kenya. This was achieved through an investigation into the effects of micro credit access as a poverty mitigation strategy amongst women in Mwala Sub-County, Machakos County, Kenya. The study was guided by the Capability Approach and human development and village banking models. Descriptive survey design and mixed methods approach were used in this study. Two staged cluster sampling technique was adopted by selecting micro-finance women respondents. A sample of 350 respondents was used to gather data from the selected wards. Data was also collected from 6 key informants. From the findings, it was established that (39.8%) of the women acquired microcredit in order to meet necessities, which included food, shelter and clothing. Majority (59.6%) of the respondents involved in the study had acquired microcredit of between 2 and 3 times, by the time this study was being conducted. Similarly, majority 53.01% (176) of the respondents had acquired credit between Ksh. 20,000 - Ksh. 29,000. A sizable group (36.5%) of the respondents owned assets worth between Ksh. 20,000 and Ksh. 29,000. Women perceived the interest rate charged on micro-credit as “moderate”. More than half of the respondents (59.9%) had observed a positive change in their monthly income after accessing micro-credit. Evidence from study findings substantiated that, micro credit plays key role in facilitating women provision of basic necessities at household level and even starting income generating activities. Micro finance entities provide the poor and low earning women an opportunity and hope through providing affordable credits. Women’s financial situation improved after accessing micro credit hence suggesting that micro credit access among women plays a key role in mitigation poverty among them. Therefore, facilitating women with favorable credit facilities is a step towards mitigating poverty at household level and consequently for development.

Key words: Women economic empowerment, Poverty mitigation, Micro-credits, households, rural

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