Empowerment of women through participation in women self help groups in the Kumasi Metropolis

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Recently, issues of women’s empowerment and participation in self help groups have gained grounds and are at the center stage in global development discourse. Despite the evidence of women’s accomplishments in a given realm of national and local level development, women’s empowerment today leaves very much to be desired. In attempts to improve and enhance the participation and empowerment of women, the third Millennium Development Goal (promoting gender equality and women empowerment) is focused on women’s upliftment in the socio-economic development of Ghana. This study is intended to achieve a number of objectives. Among these are: to examine the nature of Self help groups (SHGs) in the Kumasi Metropolis; to assess strategies of empowering women through SHGs; to examine the extent to which women are empowered by participating in SHGs; and to examine the challenges impeding the groups in empowering women. The study adopted the case study approach which allows statistical inferences to be made to a broader population so that results can be extrapolated. Multistage sampling technique and qualitative and quantitative analysis was employed to come out with the empirical findings. The study revealed a number of interesting findings which include: diverse nature of SHGs with about 67 percent being formed along religious and economic lines; skill training, adult education and enterprise development as the strategies of empowering women through SHGs. The extent of women’s empowerment through participating in groups are in the form of increased self assertiveness and confidence and resistance to negative cultural practices; and challenges, like poor attendance of members, impeding the operations of the groups in empowering women. In response to the findings revealed, a number of proposals were made to enhance the empowerment of women. These include the following: improving the nature of SHGs; enhancing strategies of empowering women through the groups; improving the coverage of SHGs in women’s empowerment; and overcoming the challenges of SHGs.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning.