Challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in their efforts towards poverty reduction in Mukuru Kwa Njenga; Embakasi East Constituency, Nairobi, Kenya

Nancy Wanjiku Njagi, Wamuyu Teresia Wachira, Daniel Omondi Onyango


This study explored the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and their effects on poverty reduction.  The study focused on women entrepreneurs living in Mukuru Kwa Njenga, a slum within Embakasi East Constituency of Nairobi County; Kenya.  It gave attention to women entrepreneurship as a vehicle towards women empowerment; these two concepts in the development of women were explored.  Studies show that the majority of the world’s poor people are women and especially those living in the slums.  According to a report done on women empowerment by Care International in 2012, of the 1.3 billion people who live in absolute poverty around the globe, 70% are women.  The paradox however is that women empowerment efforts, conferences, and declarations have been ongoing since the 1970s with the aim of improving the well-being of women all over the world.  Yet women live in poverty.  This study sought to address this gap by drawing an understanding as to the challenges that vulnerable women face while enhancing their economic empowerment and that of their households. The study targeted 66 women within five self-help groups in Mukuru Kwa Njenga because these groups bring women together towards the cause of self-empowerment.  All 66 women targeted operated small-scale enterprises referred to as Jua Kali enterprises that are run by the side of the road, and with no permanent business structure.  A mixed methods research design incorporating both qualitative and quantitative research methods was used.  Drawing from the research findings, business skills training is not a challenge faced by women entrepreneurs in Mukuru however they lack assets (68%) and business financing (62%) to grow their businesses which tend to have a one year life span.  Other challenges include domestic violence, limited access to affordable health care services, poor drainage, and sanitation within the slum, lack of a conducive market space among others.

Keywords: Women Entrepreneurship, Women Empowerment, Poverty Reduction, Slums

DOI: 10.7176/DCS/9-6-10

Publication date:June 30th 2019

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