The nature and form of collective action varies. It is contextually specific and may change over time. It arises when individuals jointly tackle constraints, make decisions and achieve outcomes with mutual benefit. Strong and vibrant smallholder groups do provide opportunities to the community to play a role in rural development and benefit from it. However, most of those groups do not have the capacity and ability to individually influence rural development. Linking groups across levels therefore, facilitates access to combined knowledge and leverages complementary assets. While there is emerging evidence of linkages amongst groups and associations that transcend individual group activities, more systematic information is needed on across level linkages, their reasons for success and possibilities for designing supportive policies. The main objective of this study was to examine factors which influence successful linkages among the smallholder groups. The study involved two already existing smallholder platforms in Embu county of Kenya and Kapchorwa district of Uganda. These platforms serves as multi-stakeholder linkages of smallholder groups, the local government as well as development partners with shared values of sustainability, stewardship, local ownership and involvement, profitability, adaptability and volunteerism. Focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted to obtain in-depth information on members’ perception on the network performance. A five-level likert scale survey questionnaire was administered to sixty eight groups from the two platforms to quantify their perception on the networks’ successes in terms of sustainable performance and benefits. Principal component analysis was used to extract indicators which define the dimensions that influenced the performance of the platforms. Weighting of the selected indicators was done using their factor loading values. Multiple regression analysis was used to fit the model of successful linkages. The results indicate that members’ ownership, motivation, and leaders’ commitment, skills and motives are the critical factors that have enabled the success and sustainability of these two platforms. The findings of this study are important for developing strategies for strengthening smallholder platforms through capacity development and information sharing.
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RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
Dr Anthony Waititu & Dr Joseph Tanui