Article

Initiatives for rural development through collective action: the case of household participation in group activities in the highlands of Central Kenya

02/2005;
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT "Dimensions of the nature, scope, and complexity of collective action in Kenya have evolved over many years. In studying collective action, the aim is to understand why and how people participate in networks of trust. The purpose of this study was to investigate the different objectives that farmers pursue through collective action with the aim of understanding the patterns of people's participation in collective action, identify factors that influence people to join groups, and identify the costs and benefits of participating in activities of groups. The study was carried out in four sites spread across the highlands of central Kenya. Data was collected from a total of 442 households, focusing on whether members of those households belonged to groups and if so, what type of groups these were and their activities. In addition we looked at how these groups functioned and identified some of the contributions members make to these groups and the benefits from the same. The analysis shows that collective action is used to accomplish a range of activities for different socioeconomic categories and that the majority of households in central Kenya engage in some form of group activity.... The study suggests that where institutions and policies that promote individual or private sector growth are weak, collective action can help to overcome these weaknesses and connect individuals in these institutions and policies." from Author's Abstract

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    ABSTRACT: "Collective action plays a vital role in many peoples lives, through such areas as income generation, risk reduction, public service provision, and the management of natural resources. However, mens and womens interests often differ because they have different rights, resources, and responsibilities. Due to these differences as well as socially constructed norms of what it means to be male and female, mens and womens voices are often not equally represented or valued in collective action institutions. Including a gender perspective in these institutions can lead to more effective and equitable outcomes. "This brief summarizes findings from an international workshop on Gender and Collective Action organized in 2005 by CAPRi in Chiang Mai, Thailand."
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    ABSTRACT: "A mixed-methods, multiple-stage approach was used to obtain data on how gender and wealth affected participation in community groups in Meru, Kenya, and how men and women farmers obtain and diffuse agricultural information. Research techniques included participant observation, documentary analysis, semi-structured interviews, social mapping, group timelines, and structured questionnaires. Dairy-goat farmer groups were interviewed for the study. Qualitative data provided baseline information, and helped in the formulation of research questions. Quantitative data were analyzed using contingency tables, descriptive statistics, correlations, tests of significance, and regression. Factors that affected participation in different types of groups included household composition, age, and gender. Women made up 59 percent of the dairy-goat group (DGG) members, with the DGG project encouraging women's participation. Women made up 76 percent of DGG treasurer positions; 43 percent of secretary positions, and 30 percent of chairperson positions. Gender also influenced participation in clan groups, water groups, and merry-go-round (savings and loans) groups. Wealth did not appear to have a significant effect on participation in community groups. Extension was the most important information source for both men and women farmers. However, church and indigenous knowledge (passed on from parents) seemed more important to women. Both men and women mentioned other farmers, groups, and 'baraza' (public meetings used to make announcements and diffuse information) as important information sources, but they rated them at different levels of importance. Men were diffusing information to greater numbers of people than women, although men and women diffused to similar sources. This study shows that because men and women traditionally participate in different types of groups and receive agricultural information from different sources, development agencies must target different types of groups and institutions to reach men, women, or poor farmers. Mechanisms should be developed to include women, the poor, and other targeted groups in community associations that provide market and other income-earning opportunities."
    02/2007;
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