ASSESSMENT OF SAVINGS AND INTERNAL LENDING COMMUNITY PROJECT ACTIVITIES (SILCPA) AND EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN-HEADED HOUSEHOLDS IN KIREHE DISTRICT: A CASE OF MAHAMA REFUGEE CAMP
The current situation among women is that poverty reduction initiatives do not recognize social and economic problems faced by women in terms of basic needs and lack of ownership in the project activities. With reference to Rwanda, more specifically at Mahama refugee camp, there is still persistence of poverty among women resulting from insufficient income generating activities, low level of competences among women headed households, problems related to cultural beliefs and insufficient financial support to perform income generated activities. The general objective of this study was to assess Savings and Internal Lending Community Project Activities (SILCPA) and empowerment of women-headed households in Rwanda. The specific objectives were to assess the extent to which project budget contribute to the empowerment of women headed house-holds in Mahama refugee camp, to determine the benefits of capacity building and mentorship on cost effectiveness and self-esteem of women headed households and then to assess the extent to which project risk analysis contribute to effective decision making among women headed households in Mahama refugee camp. The study was descriptive research design and involved both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The target population consisted of women headed households at Mahama refugee camp, management officials, savings and internal lending committee members and the host community (Munini Cell). The total population was 1,366 from which a sample of 309 was selected. The random sampling technique was used and data were collected through questionnaires and interviews. Data were analyzed by use of SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Science) version 20. Research findings showed that 87(28.2%) of surveyed respondents strongly confirmed that having project budget assisted improvement SILCPA and 222 (71.8%) of respondents also agreed. As a result, women headed households improved both socially in terms of medical facilities as confirmed by 99.0%, 99.0% improved in terms of nutrition, 97.0% improved in terms of capability to make decision and 96.0% of women headed households participated in community activities. Based on the economic situation, 99.0% of women improved in terms of saving, 96.0% of women improved in terms of productivity, 99.0% improved in term of investment in small activities and the purchasing power increased as confirmed by 97.0%. When assessing benefits of project capacity building and mentorship on cost effectiveness and self-esteem of women headed households, findings showed that 147(47.6%) agreed by 162 respondents equivalent to 52.4%. in terms of what extent project risks analysis contribute to effective decision making among women headed households. Data collected indicated that196 (63.4%) of respondents put more focus on project risks assessment as one way of risks analysis which were also confirmed by by109 respondents equivalent to 35.3%. it is highly recommended to the management of Mahama refugee camp to promote SILCPA as aspect of alleviating poverty as income from investment help them acquire basic needs in social working environment.
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