FACTORS INFLUENCING PERFORMANCE OF THE UWEZO FUND ASSISTED YOUTH PROJECTS IN MIGORI COUNTY, KENYA
Otieno A., Grace
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This study sought to assess factors influencing performance of the Uwezo Fund assisted youth projects in Migori County in Kenya. The study sought to determine how the administration of the Uwezo Fund affects performance of its assisted youth projects and to establish how performance of projects affects performance of Uwezo Fund assisted youth projects in Migori County in Kenya. The study was based on social capital theory and Grameen banking framework. The study adopted descriptive research design with a target population of 99 Uwezo Fund beneficiaries representing 10% of the youth groups assisted by the fund in Rongo Migori County. Primary data were collected by use of structured questionnaires which contained both open and closed ended questions and the data was analyzed using SPSS. The key findings of this study were as follows: that female youth entrepreneurs were less involved in the uptake of the fund; the process of disbursement and repayment had setbacks and it took longer to access the fund compared to the other financial institutions. On the performance of the projects assisted by the fund, the study found out that a considerable number of respondents had managed to employ workers and increased their stock. However; the entrepreneurs incurred high cost of doing business pointing out high taxes introduced by the county and national governments. The study also found that the youth entrepreneurs managed various businesses; merchandising, service and hybrid businesses. Poor state of infrastructure, inadequate electricity supply, inadequate knowledge of running enterprises and communication skills were some of the factors that affected the youth entrepreneurs. The study also found that the fund administration failed to train the entrepreneurs, offer internet services and was characterized by lack of professionalism, corruption and nepotism. The study recommends that in order to improve the fund management; institutionalizing its structures that allows bottom up approach of leadership, where the people are given a chance to participate in creating rules and policies that govern SME growth and development was key.