Influence of household livelihood strategies on the socioeconomic wellbeing of communities living along the coastal strip of Msambweni sub _county
Tatua, Pauline Wambura
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Kwale County received enormous support from donors and the government for implementation of development projects. The areas targeted were the improvement of people’s livelihoods, these included; small-scale fisheries, agro- pastoralism and the emerging seaweed farming. Despite this kind of support, the number of poor people along the coastal strip has remained high evidenced by the low incomes, low education levels, high incidences of malnourished children, poor housing among others. This situation has been worsened by a deteriorating marine resource base that is suffering from overexploitation and changes in weather and climate. Support for these sectors has been mainly due to consideration of: Gross Domestic Product that informs economic policy; politics and for research purposes, and not from evaluation of people’s well-being. The purpose of this study was to assess how different livelihood strategies influence the socio-economic wellbeing of households found along the coastal strip of Msambweni sub- county, Kwale County, Kenya. The study was guided by four objectives: (i) To analyse the influence of agro-pastoralism on socioeconomic wellbeing, (ii) To assess the influence of artisanal fishing on socioeconomic wellbeing, (iii) To assess the influence of seaweed farming on socioeconomic wellbeing and (iv) To determine the influence of livelihood diversification on the socioeconomic wellbeing. A descriptive survey design was adopted for this study. Structured questionnaires were administered to a stratified random sample of 269 households in Gazi and Nyumba sita villages based on the three selected livelihood options. The data was analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS version 25) software for descriptive and inferential statistics. The results indicated that significant positive relationships were found to exist between socioeconomic wellbeing and agro-pastoralism ((β=0.751, t=18.61, p< 0.001)) and livelihood diversification (β=0.910, t=35.82, p< 0.001), and artisanal fishing (β=.-.322, t=5.55, p< 0.001), while non-significant relationship between socioeconomic wellbeing and seaweed farming (β=0.052, t=.847, p=0.398) were found to exist. Based on these findings it was recommended that it would be advantageous for the community members to diversify within the livelihoods and to increase their portfolio of economic pursuits to encompass a wider range of productive areas. It is also recommended that it was important for the National and County governments and development actors to improve infrastructure and access to technical skills and training to enhance effectiveness of livelihood strategies. Findings were expected to provide useful recommendations to both national and county governments and development agencies to choose and support public actions and programmes that have the greatest impact on the wellbeing of the people. This study contributes to knowledge of how wellbeing can be used as a measure of societal progress among groups practising different livelihood activities.
Africa Nazarene University