THE CONTRIBUTION OF YOUTH ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT FUND ON YOUTH EMPOWERMENT IN KANGUNDO CONSTITUENCY, MACHAKOS COUNTY
The youth today face an increasingly pressurized and complicated world where youth unemployment and its direct consequences such as poverty, crime, prostitution, drug abuse among others, remain as some of their critical development challenges. The need of empowering the youth to participate in their own development initiatives is important. It was on this basis that the Government of Kenya introduced YEDF in 2006 to foster positive youth development. The purpose of YEDF was to empower the youth by providing them with financial resources and training to ensure that they are engaged in meaningful business activities and also increase their economic opportunities and participation in nation building. This study sought to examine the contribution of Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) on empowerment of the youth aged between 18 to 35 years in Kangundo Constituency. The study assessed this by considering the activities that the youth were engaged in before and after receiving the YEDF loans. The study argued that provision of the loans to the youth and training has improved their economic and social status through the income generating activities the youths engaged in. The research was conducted in Kangundo Constituency where there were 58 youth groups funded by YEDF between the years 2007 and 2012. The study used descriptive research design and random sampling to select 100 youth from 29 sampled youth groups. Interviews and questionnaires were used to collect data from the respondents. Data was analyzed using SPSS and presented in form of tables. The study presented its findings by discussing specific activities and trends of improvement among the youth. This study also discussed the extent to which loans provided by Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) have empowered the youth in Kangundo Constituency. It argued that empowerment took place in two main forms; group and individual empowerment. This empowerment is what the YEDF loans set out to achieve initially through the seed money product. The study concluded that the provision of YEDF loans led to empowerment of the youth and that training given to the youth further enhanced the chances of youth empowerment after receiving the loans. The study recommended an increase in the amount of money given to the youth, subsequent loans and training given to them.Key Words: Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Empowerment
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