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Challenges Facing Socio Economic Empowerment Initiatives and Microenterprises among Women with Disabilities in Kibera Slums, Kenya

Abstract: Women with disabilities constitute a sizable population in Africa, with a majority living in poverty. Despite various social-economic empowerment initiatives, the majority continue to face social- economic barriers that prevent them from fully contributing to the country's economy. It is therefore critical to understand the challenges facing social-economic empowerment initiatives of women living with physical disabilities in Kibera slums. The study employed a convergent parallel mixed methods research design to interview women with disabilities living in Kibera slums. Data was analyzed using qualitative and quantitative techniques and findings triangulated. Key findings indicates that, there was low awareness level (22%) on the existences of socio–economic empowerment initiatives; main challenges included insufficient funding resources, poor communication on the registration process, strict selection criteria for financial support as well as high loan defaulter rate. The study concluded that, Lack of financial support is a key challenge. The criteria that have been employed in selecting the beneficiaries was too strict, for example requiring the participants to be registered in groups, or the need for people to have running businesses. This has locked out many women with disabilities aspiring to be businesswomen. High loan defaulter rate has also troubled the success of these socio-economic initiatives, resulting to the closing of the microfinance department at APDK. It is recommended that, institutions focus more on capacity and skill building and allow members to control the income generating ideas to promote ownership of the initiatives.

Key words: Challenges, Socio Economic Empowerment Initiatives, Microenterprises, Women With Disabilities


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