Implementation framework for income generating activities identified by community health volunteers (CHVs): a strategy to reduce attrition rate in Kilifi County, Kenya

Roselyter Monchari Riang’a, Njeri Nyanja, Adelaide Lusambili, Eunice Muthoni Mwangi, Joshua R. Ehrlich, Paul Clyde, Cyprian Mostert, Anthony Ngugi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite the proven efficacy of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in promoting primary healthcare in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), they are not adequately financed and compensated. The latter contributes to the challenge of high attrition rates observed in many settings, highlighting an urgent need for innovative compensation strategies for CHVs amid budget constraints experienced by healthcare systems. This study sought to identify strategies for implementing Income-Generating Activities (IGAs) for CHVs in Kilifi County in Kenya to improve their livelihoods, increase motivation, and reduce attrition. Methods: An exploratory qualitative research study design was used, which consisted of Focus group discussions with CHVs involved in health promotion and data collection activities in a local setting. Further, key informant in-depth interviews were conducted among local stakeholder representatives and Ministry of Health officials. Data were recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed using MAXQDA 20.4 software. Data coding, analysis and presentation were guided by the Okumus’ (2003) Strategy Implementation framework. Results: A need for stable income was identified as the driving factor for CHVs seeking IGAs, as their health volunteer work is non-remunerative. Factors that considered the local context, such as government regulations, knowledge and experience, culture, and market viability, informed their preferred IGA strategy. Individual savings through table-banking, seeking funding support through loans from government funding agencies (e.g., Uwezo Fund, Women Enterprise Fund, Youth Fund), and grants from corporate organizations, politicians, and other donors were proposed as viable options for raising capital for IGAs. Formal registration of IGAs with Government regulatory agencies, developing a guiding constitution, empowering CHVs with entrepreneurial and leadership skills, project and group diversity management, and connecting them to support agencies were the control measures proposed to support implementation and enhance the sustainability of IGAs. Group-owned and managed IGAs were preferred over individual IGAs. Conclusion: CHVs are in need of IGAs. They proposed implementation strategies informed by local context. Agencies seeking to support CHVs’ livelihoods should, therefore, engage with and be guided by the input from CHVs and local stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number132
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Community empowerment
  • Community health volunteers (CHV)
  • Economic empowerment
  • Health systems
  • Implementation strategy framework
  • Income generating activities (IGAs)
  • Skilled health services


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