This paper focuses on the effects of institutional partnerships on farmers’ groups to leveragelivelihood outcomes in Kenya. The key question addressed is: Do partnerships between agenciesand rural groups enable the groups to generate beneficial outcomes for rural households? Thisis important in understanding the viability of rural organizations in a context marked bygovernment and market failures. Data were collected through a household survey and focusgroup discussions. The findings indicate that partnerships matter to performance of groups inoffering goods and services. However, not all group types are equally likely to spawnpartnerships. Partnership building is more likely in supra groups making them realize morevalue out of collaborations, but there remains untapped potential in these groups that could berealized through targeted partnerships and those gaps are likewise greatest with supra groups.This is revealed by an increase in the variance of local groups’ performance by 2.5% and insupra groups by 10.2% when respondent preferred partnerships are analyzed. Finally, the maingap comes from the need to improve access to finance necessary to invest and expand productiveassets. The gap also comes from absence of a coordinating mechanism that identifies potentialpartners and facilitates allocation of responsibilities and resources to groups. The studydemonstrates the critical import of groups as sustainable vehicles for agricultural, naturalresources and rural livelihood extension. Future partnerships to enhance rural groups’capacities must be different from present practice, both in nature of partnerships and in the typesof activities promoted.

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