Muungano's Jubilee

Tags: Kilifi, elders, mweria, mwerya, traditional, indigenous, reciprocal exchange, merry-go-round, non-monetary, mutual aid, social contract, promises, Celo

image Muungano group together with other Mnarani community members during their market day on Friday. Photo by;Joyce kamau

Faced with the challenges of economic instability and the need to strengthen their collective well-being, the Muungano group which comprises the community elders of Kilifi (Mnarani) came together to create a revolutionary system called Community Asset Vouchers (CAVs). Combining traditional practices, trust-building, and blockchain technology, Muungano has successfully embarked on a journey towards a resilient economy.

Recognizing the power of collaboration and trust, Muungano sought a way to leverage their skills and resources to uplift one another. In the year 2022 the group launched their Community Asset Vouchers known as the MUU voucher. These vouchers have been serving as a medium of exchange for goods and services within the community in situations where members don't have enough KSh to purchase.


Through selling some of their vouchers (in-kind and for cash), Muungano was also able to raise enough funds to complete the community market toilet. After the toilet launch the market was opened for the public and community members have been meeting every Friday to trade their goods and services. Other groups have now created their own Vouchers totaling to 4 CAVs in Kilifi which are accepted at the market.

image Mnarani community toilets Launch led by the area Sub-Chief. Photo by ; Damaris Njambi.

One vital aspect of Muungano's Community Asset Vouchers is the establishment of trust amongst its members. To ensure the authenticity and commitment of each participant, the group introduced a mutual aid practice called "mweria." This practice involves the rotation of labor, wherein the host member calls upon others for assistance. In response, group members commit a voucher representing their promise to fulfill the requested task.

Muungano's journey of resilience and empowerment has not gone unnoticed. Recognizing the positive impact they have made within their own community, the group recently organized a grand celebration. The purpose was to: commemorate their achievements and extend an invitation to the wider community. This celebration aimed to inspire and educate others about Muungano's successful model, encouraging the transfer of knowledge to benefit the broader society.

During this celebration the group also embarked on a series of activities that included the equitable distribution of vouchers, planning for the upcoming cycle, and skillful voucher balancing through trading. The primary objective of voucher balancing was to ensure that each individual returned to their initial voucher commitment, fostering a sense of renewal and rejuvenation for all.

image The Muungano Jubilee is a celebration day marking the end of the 1st Mweria cycle.

image Mweria Day at Marriam Michael’s home. Photo by; Hamida Ramadhan.

Achievements and Impact: Muungano's commitment to the Community Asset Vouchers and labor rotation has yielded remarkable outcomes. Through the completion of two labor rotation cycles, the community has established six syntropic agroforestry farms, providing sustainable livelihoods for different individuals within the group. Moreover, they have embarked on community clean-up activities and supported one another with various household chores, fostering a spirit of cooperation and unity.

One of the success story was from Marriam Michael and this is what she had to say "With the Mweria initiative, our group has successfully established a syntropic farm within our homesteads, cultivating a variety of crops. Previously reliant on purchasing vegetables from the market, I am now thrilled to be able to grow my own and even sell some for KSH and Muu vouchers. Moreover, I have effectively utilized an unproductive space to its fullest potential." Marriam Michael syntropic farm


image In addition to their resilience-building efforts, Muungano has also utilized the savings from using Community Asset Vouchers and ventured into a table banking initiative. This financial endeavor enables members to access loans up to 10,000 Kenyan Shillings (Ksh) without struggling through traditional banking procedures. By saving their Kenyan Shillings via voucher suage and pooling their resources and distributing loans within the community, Muungano has opened doors to economic opportunities that were previously inaccessible for many.

This is what Tonny Safari had to say; "I initially joined without dedicating enough time to understand the system, so I withdrew. However, I decided to give it another chance and I am extremely grateful that I became the fourth person to benefit from the Mweria initiative. Furthermore, I am a beneficiary when it comes to raising school fees for my children. By saving and pooling our finances together with other members, we are able to secure loans at favorable interest rates."

image Tony safari weaving a winnowing basket.

Muungano's Community Asset Vouchers have revolutionized the way this community operates, fostering trust, cooperation, and economic resilience. By combining the power of blockchain technology with traditional practices and the spirit of unity, Muungano has achieved remarkable milestones. With their agroforestry farms, community marketplace, toilet, clean-up activities, and the introduction of table banking, they have become a shining example of how communities can thrive and uplift each other in the face of challenges. Muungano's journey stands as an inspiration, urging us all to embrace collaboration and innovation as we strive for a more resilient and prosperous future.