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WOMEN'S GROUP ENTERPRISES:

A Study of the Structure of Opportunity


on the Kenya Coast

World Education, Inc.


210 Lincoln Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02111

U.S.A

WOMEN'S GROUP ENTERPRISES:


A Study of the Structure of Opportunity on the Kenya Coast

by
Jeanne McCormack
Martin Walsh
Candace Nelson
June 30, 1986

A report to the Human Resource Division of the Bureau for Program and
Policy Coordination, Agency for International Development, on research
conducted under Contract OTR-00-78-C-00-2313-00.

World Education, Inc.


210 Lincoln Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02111

U.S.A.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Background of the study

This report describes the findings of a three-year study of the


effects of women's participation in income generation projects on household
The major objective of this research wRs to
income and fertility. planning
or without family whether such projects,
with determine income and their receptivity to and
components, increase participants' acceptance of family planning.
Research questions included the following:

-- --

Do income generation projects increase real income? Does success or failure of groups to increase real income fertility attitudes, knowledge, or behavior? What program components are critical in decreasing fertility? increasing affect

--

income

and

--

What external events or colnditions are necessary for lead to failure?

success

or

class
different'ation, social questions concerned with Other formation, gender
relations, group function and structure, and household
income and expenditure were also addressed.
The study focused on the program of Tototo Home Industries, a local
vcluntary organization located in Kenya's Coast Province, and on a sample
The research was
of the 45 women's groups with which it has worked. by World Education, with assistance from Tototo, and was funded
carried out the Agency for
by the Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination International Development.
Multipurpose women's groups are commonplace in Kenya and are currently
estimated to number 15,000. Formed in part as a response to the Kenya
government's self-help, or harambee, policy and partly in response to the
government's Vomen's Group Programme, these groups normally undertake
a
range of community development activities. Group projects include building
nursery schools, organizing day care programs, forming r~iolving credit
associations, securing safe water supplies, and developing small businessis
While Tototo has assi. ted rural women's groups
on a cooperative basis. with the entire range of activities, it is the development of group
enterprises that has occupied our attention here.
Groups generally have 25
such businesses as bakeries, poultry
members and embark on to 30 production, farming, and retail sales.
groups,
women's of analysis: The study employed three units individual members of women's groups, and the households of group members.
A baseline sample survey was conducted in 1983 of 406 women from 13
locations and included non-members as well as members. This was followed
anthropological field research which yielded four
case studies of
by

specific women's groups and their small enterprises. Group income were gathered from the cashbooks kept by the groups; supplementary relating to projects and groups were collected by rototo staff.
The data

data
data

The survey data produced a profile of group members similar to results


of other recent survey research carried out on women's groups in Kenya.
Income generation groups include women of all ages, most
of whom are
married and have fille or six children. They are residentially stable and
work primarily as farmers. Members' mean age is 37 years, and their
age
distribution shows a preponderance of women over 40. Iine percent
are
widowed and nearly seven percent divorced. Twenty-nine percent are members
Christians make up 45% of the membership and
of polygynous households. The
Muslims about 41%. The remaining women follow traditional practice. are largely farmers with access to land through male
women studied relatives, primarily husbands. The economic importance to
their households
of their cultivation depends on the locale and on the resources and
opportunities available to the women where they live.
Members of women's groups differ from non-members only in age, for
non-members tend to be younger than members. Although non-members are also
less likely to cultivate and own land than are members, the apparent
economic disadvantage of the former can be explained by their younger age
and corresponding position in the lifetime process of accumulation of
assets and wealth.
The case studies, which form the core of this research, describe four
have undertaken very different
women's groups which very different the operation of women's groups and
The key to understanding enterprises. the success or failure of their income-generating projects lies in the
relation between indigenous social formations and the external economic
forces that are working to transform them. This transformation is far from
complete, and while indigenous formations have been considerably modified
remain strongly resistant to them,
forces of change, they by the particularly along the Kenya coast. Women's groups and their enterprises
stand at a critical juncture of the forces of both capitalist and peasant
economies and may be severely constrained by one or the other.
The first group described, Mwamambi Women's Group, provides an example
Because the members'
of a group in an early stage of development. finncial ability to support group
households have a very limited activities and therefore to capitalize any business, the group remains
mired in repeated failure to main-ain a revolving credit association.
unable to establinh firmly a
Without sufficient capital, they are potentially lucrative business-- the manufacture and sa..e of roofing
Midodoni
Women's Group presents another example, this time a
materials. With significant investment by an outside
successful one. relatively agency, Midodoni has been able to
carry out several innovative
development community development activities, and while members and their households
have benefitted from these activities, the women have yet to receive income
from the well-established group enterprise. The third case, that of Bogoa
Women's Group, illustrates the difficulty faced by women who try to enter a

Supported by foreign donors, Bogoa began a ferry


male economic domain. boat operation between their island home and the mainland, but by adopting
the only model they know of managing the enterprise, they doomed themselves
to an early failure. The last group described, Mapimo, established a very
successful bakery but, because of organizational difficulties, fell into
decline after some years. Mapimo's enterprise has been the most successful
in producing income for individual members but this, ironically, has had
virtually no effect on gender relations which are determined by factors
other than those usually posited by women-In-development advocates.
How to Generate Income
The initial success of women's groups rests on the extent of their
access to the labor of members and to the cash provided by members or their
The amount of income which these households (and women as
households. members) are prepared to invest in groups is conditioned by the
household sum of demands upon them, their ability to meet these demands, and the
return they can expect from this as opposed to other investments.
Investment in a group typically promises no more than a long-term return,
and members contribute cash to group enterprises accordingly-- that is,
their cash investments are usually small. Labor investments are subject to
a similar set of constraints, as is the time that members are prepared to
devote to group meetings. Groups do not possess the power to separate
Under these members from their households or enforce participation. groups working alone to establish viable circumstances, it is not easy for enterprises. In order to overcome such formidable obstacles, groups need allies, and the major allies available to them are the government, represented in
Kenya by the Department of Social Development, and non-governmental
organizations (NGO's) like Tototo Home Industries and World Education.
Once made, allies offer a somewhat ambiguous relationship, particularly the
The
government, for it can and does exact a price for its assistance. demands placed upon groups and their members' households include labor and
cash contributions, but, on the other band, government representatives
provide groups with grants which can help to capitalize a fledgeling
NGO's offer capital to groups but also important technical
enterprise. assistance in the planning and operation of their enterprises.
Enterprises that are new to a community, particularly those which are
capital intensive, are difficult for groups to operate successfully. Such
enterprises lie far outside the experience of groups members, who thus
require continued inputs of advice from external agencies. This problem is
magnified in the case of enterprises employing complex technical processes
or machinery which can be difficult for groups to maintain or expand
without further injections of capital from the outside. These kinds of
enterprises are characteristically bounded by official controls, including
state-regulated pricing of raw materials and products. Where groups employ
collective labor, it may be difficult for them to compete with rivals in
As a result, it is not easy for such businesses to
the private sector. remain economically viable. Given the various constraints which operate
upon collective enterprises, choosing one that requires minimal involvement

iv

of group members in its day-to-day running presents a solution to many of


these problems. The replacement of unpaid collective labor by formal wage
labor is another means by which greater efficiency might be achieved.
The simplest way to avoid some of these constraints is to choose the
right enterprise in the first pla-e. The easiest enterprises for groups to
run and maintain are arguably those which reproduce existing processes of
capital accumulation in the local community. As such their viability is
proven, the knowledge needed to run them is readily available, and they
require less support from external agencies. A group that is able .o select such a p:o 4ct is much more likely to fulfill its promise as corporate entrepreneur. Economic Effects of Income Generation
In so far as they are able to escape the constraints of the peasant
economy, groups and their enterprises become subject to the logic of
effect, as agents of economic
development and act, in capitalist They do this in a number of ways. First, groups shed or
differentiation. exclude women whose domestic circumstances are so difficult that they are
unable to sustain groups membership and the demands upon cash and labor
that it entails. As a result, many women in the least fortunate categories
remain outside of groups.
Secondly, groups which are working free of the peasant economy tend to
come increasingly under the control of members whose background and
domestic circumstances make them better equipped to run their enterprises.
In other words, their development favors women who already occupy a
relatively fortunate position in their households and/or the community.
This discovery that group enterprises, if successful, become instruments of
differentiation is particularly painful for some international NGO's and
exposes the contradiction inherent in the notion of income generation as a
participatory development strategy.
Where successful, group enterprises inevitably play a part, however
small, in transforming the structures of the peasant economy. In general,
though, groups and their enterprises remain severely constrained by their
economic context. Few projects succeed in generating substantial profits,
and few provide their members with income on a regular basis. When they
do, the amounts are usually so small as to comprise only a fraction of a
group
It is important to understand, however, that wage. living enterprises are only one of a range of medium and long-term investments
that women make, and the short-term income supplements often realized from
group enterprises can make a considerable difference to members and their
households, as evidenced by women's continued participation in groups.
Income Generation and Gender
The state creates women's groups through ii:s women's group policy; it
certifies them through its registration procedures; and it appropriates
them, when it can, to carry out its development work. The relationship is
not monolithic, by any means, and groups receive grants from the state for
But it is women, not men, who are the target of
their own activities.

state policy with respect to social welfare and who are orgawized into
groups for the purpose of carrying out this work. Insofar as they comply,
they reproduce and
reinforce existing gender relations from which only a
very fev of their members, by virtue of personal circumstances, escape.
Who controls the products of women's labo" and therefore the income
earned from women's group enterprises depends on the local economy which
varies greatly from community to community. Women's income is usually
treated
as income for the household, whether or not it is appropriated by
the household head or whether, indeed, the woman heads her own
household.
As such it forms an important supplement to other sources of income
available to women and their households. When income is handed over or
otherwise finds its way back to husbands, there is no determining how it is
The
invested or whether it will be invested in the household at all. naive
findings of this study indicate that there is little basis for the assumption that income generation for women will enhance their independence
Women's possession of income does not automatically improve
and status. their bargaining power within the household. This is more likely to occur,
if at all, where overall household income is already high and sufficient to

The great variability documented in the four cases
cover basic needs. reported here points to a complex set
of factors that affect the internal
distribution of household income and underscores the absence of a linear
relationship between women's income and women's status.
Income Generation and Family Planning
Just as there is no predictable relationship between income generation
and women's status, there ii none between income generation and family
Children are an inextricable part of economic activity and
planning. and
For the women described in this report, production welfare. sides of the same coin, and in such a context,
reproduction are two children are treated as an investment. Not only do they provide an
important labor resource for the household, but they also hold the promise
of a future return, providing parents with cash and social security when
While education of children withdraws labor from the
they are older. household, it is still true that the more educated children
are, the
greater the chance that they will secure good employment and provide their
parents with income in the years to come.
It is therefore not surprising that family planning programs have not
only a limited impact in the rural areas studied and among the women's
group members but that they meet with resistance. The more children these
women have, the greater the returns, and this economic logic is supported
by a range of ati:itudes and beliefs. All indications are that such
resistance will persist until the peasant economy undergoes a major
In theory, women's groups are in a position to contribute
transformation. to such a transformation; in practice, however, the majority of members
remain deeply enmeshed in the resistant structures of their households.
Recommendations
Recommendations stemming include the following:
directly from the research reported here

vi

1. The concept of "women's income generation" should be replaced one of "small-scale or micro-enterprise development".

by

2. Women's group enterprises should be funded and supported, since if


current support
is withdrawn, rural women and their households will be
completely at the mercy of large-scale, externally financed development
which generally affects women more severely than men.
be viewed 3. Women's group enterprises should of local opportunities.
realistically within the context and evaluated

4. Intensive field research should be given priority over other forms


of project feasibility studies and program evaluation.
5. Community development or welfare projects should be separated from
economic enterprise projects.
6. Women's groups enterprises should be chosen with respect to local
economic conditions and be based on the indentification of local processes
of indigenous capital accumulation.
7. The organization and operation of groups enterprises should be
subject to experimentation and explore various methods of capitalization
and management.
8. Indigenous NGO's operating locally should be supported as the most
effective agents to foster women's small enterprise development.
9. skills.
NGO field staff should be trained in a range of entrepreneurial

10. Efforts to promote family planning among women's groups should be


planned with the recognition that different conditions prevail in different
places and that the return from an investment in family planning will be
low in some areas.
11. Small cost-benefit studies should be conducted on community-based
contraception distribution systems to determine whether enough women would
try contraceptives to warrant the cost of these systems.
Men as well as women should be 12. educational programs about family planning.
the target of small-group
who are

The deeds of the poorest and most vulnerable women, 13. likely to be excluded from women's groups, must be addressed.

14. Assistance to indivi.dual women farmers through groups should be a


priority.
Communication, discussion, and dialogue should be initiated and
15. supported between development workers, particularly those at the grassroots
level, and academics and other researchers.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Acknowledgements
Chapter 1: Introduction
of A. Origins the study
of B. Purpose th study
C. Focus of the study
Chapter 2: Review of the Litefature
A. Women, production, and reproduction
groups as a development strctegy in Kenya
B. Women's C. Reproduction and rural Kenyan women
Chapter 3: Methodology
A. Research design
B. Methods
1. Sample survey
2. Case studies
income data
3. Project 4. Supplementary data
C. Methodological problems
D. Conceptual issues
Chapter 4: The Women's Groups and Their Context
A. The Coast
B. The womenis group movement

C. Tototo Home Industries

Chapter 5: The Women's Groups: Members, Non-members, and Project

Finances
A. B. C. D. E. Group members
Group members and non-members
Group membership
Leaders
financing
Project

Chapter 6: Four Case Studies


A. Introduction
B. A revolving debit association: Mwamambi Women's Group
1. The role of the state
2. Tototo Home Industries and the water project
3. Constraints of the peasant economy
4. Gender, differentiation, and group leadership
5. Summary discussion
C. The corporate entrepreneur: Midodoni Women's Group
1. The Midodoni project
2. Satisfying the state, manipulating NGO's
3. Households, gender, and differentiation
4. Summary discussion
D. The long arm of tradition: Bogoa Women's Group
1. Foundations
2. Succumbing to tradition
3. Women and the island economy
4. Summary discussion
E. A bakery's decline: Mapimo Women's Group
1. Formative years
2. Conditions and accidents of enterprise development
3. The peasant economy
4. Summary discussion
Chapter 7: Fertility
A. B. C. D. Knowledge and practice of family planning
Majengo Women's Group
Children and the peasant economy
Groups, children and reproduction

Chapter 8: Conclusions
A. B. C. D. How to generate income
Economic effects of income generation
Income generation and gender
Income generation and family planning

Chapter 9: Policy Recommendations


Glossary of Abbreviations
Glossary of Svahili and Vernacular Words
References

LIST OF TABLES
3.1 3.2 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 6.10
6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18

Sample of 13 Groups Surveyed


Distribution of Survey Interviews
General Characteristics of Members and Non-members
Selected Economic Characteristics of Members and Non-Members
Selected Aspects of Group Membership
Selected Characteristics of Group Leaders and Members
Average Land and Livestock Holdings by Location and Group Status
Contributions of Mwamambi Members by Category of Expenditure
Mwamambi Women's Group's Second Harambee
Employment of Mwamambi Husbands
Cultivation of 17 Mwamambi Group Members' Fields, 1985
Age in Years of Mwamambi Members
Mwamambi Members: Marital Status and Children
Cultivation Assistance to Mvamambi Members, 1985
Use of Income by Mwamambi Group Members, 1985
Midodoni Group Crop Sales, 1982-85
Funding for Midodoni Water Project

Contributions to Midodoni Group's Harambee, 11/85


Midodoni Group's Acquisition of Assets
Midodoni Group Sales, 1985
Midodoni Members' Age in Years
Midodoni Members: General Information
Midodoni Husbands' Employment
Midodoni Group Subscriptions, 1981-85
Midodoni Group's Cultivation, 1985

6.19 6.20
6.21 6.22 6.23 6.24 6.25 6.26 6.27 6.28 6.29 6.30 6.31 6.32 6.33 6.34

Casual Laborers, Midodoni


Bogoa Boat Purchase, 1983

Bogoa Group Income and Zxpenses, 1983-84


Bogoa Group Debts, 1/86
Bogoa Members' Age in Years
Bogoa Members: Marital Status and Children
Bogoa Cultivation, 1985
Bogoa Group Attendance, 1982-85
Bogoa Producer Prices, 1981-85
Bogoa Handicraft Prices, 1986
Bogoa Husbands' Employment
Mapimo Bakery Inputs, 1978-C3
Mapimo Bakery Income/Expenditures, 1984-85
Mapimo Production and Sales, 12/85
Mapimo Group Missing Funds, 1983
Mapimo Group Attrition, 1983-1984

6.35 6.36 6.37 6.38 6.39 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9

Mapimo Members' Age in Years


Mapimo Members: Marital Status and Children
Mapimo Cultivation, 1985
Husbands' Employment, Mapimo
Uses of Mapimo Group Dividends, 1980-84
Family Planning Kno-ledge and Acceptance
Characteristics Related to Fertility for Members and Non-members
Characteristics of Acceptors and Non-acceptors
Contraception by Group
Majengo Group Members, Age in Years
Majengo Members' Marital Status
Ethnic Composition, Majengo Group
Selected Characteristics, Majengo Group Members
Remittances, Group Members

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We wish to give special thanks to the four women's groups who received
Martin Walsh so well and to the 13 groups who participated in the survey.

Home Industries as it has been of World Education. Tototo's Director, Mrs.


Elvina Mutua, helped us plan the research, oversaw the survey, and gave us
valuable critiques along the way. We thank her and our friends on the
Tototo staff who worked often tirelessly on this project: Elizabeth Agina,
Miraji Jeffah, Matilda Katana, Elizabeth Kenga, Simon Mwero, Messalim
Anthony Pete, and Granton
Mapengo, Beatrice Chifei, Peace Karamba, Mwashumbe.
The criticism and guidance of Pauline Peters, of the Harvard Institute
for International Development, have been indispensable to us during the
last three years. The study's weaknesses are ours alone, but many of its
insights we owe to Pauline.
University of Nairobi's Sociology
Edward Mburugu, of the Dr. Department, helped design the survey, supervised all survey field work, and
did the initial data analysis. His competence, steadfastness and patience
were exemplary, as well as his courage in facing down crocodiles
and hippopotamuses.
We are grateful to Shirley Buzzard, who conducted a preliminary
anthropological survey of eight women's groups; to Ann Day, wh3 worked in
Mombasa as
research assistant for the sample survey; to Lucy Langstaff,
who carried out a field survey of the group we call Majengo; and to Joanne
Revson who gave initial design guidance for the sample survey.
We were unusually fortunate in encountering a number of experienced
and thoughtful people concerned with the same issues that preoccupied us.
Ned Greeley, Kathy Blakeslee, and Rosalie Fanale, all of AID, instilled in
us an initial enthusiasm for the project that has not yet waned - Ned
spending long hours in Kenya talking about the development potential of
women's groups, and Rosalie and Kathy helping us find the best balance of
quantitative and qualitative research methods. Others who have assisted us
along the way include: Ray Abrahams, Carolyn Barnes, Mayra Buvinic, Peter
Eckart, Christine Jones, Margaret Lycette, Wariara Mbugua, Judy McGuire,
George Mkangi, Jennefer Sebstad, Judith Tendler, Barbara Thomas, and Irene
Special thanks to Nancy Pielemeier, our project manager at AID.
Tinker. World Education colleagues Kevin Kane, Russ Mahan, Fred O'Regan and Deborah
Strong have given significant help at the inception and during the course
of this work.

Data

collection for this research has been as much the work of Tototo

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

A.

ORIGINS OF THE STUDY

An improve rate of

early

concern of development planners, in the post-War effort conditions In the Third World, was the reduction of growth. During the last 25 years,

to the

economic

population and

knowledge, and

literature, field program

hypotheses have accumulated in university

libraries

offices of development workers which indicate a number of policy and


approaches likely to succeed (Population Crisis Committee 1981).

One of these gathered support in the 1970's and proposed that such indirect
interventions among the as increasing women's education and raising strata of developing countries were income levels
for

poorest

essential

sustained fertility decline.

Interest in this approach coincided with the emergence of a world-wide movement of these to promote the economic and social equality of women. two causes concern
-

Proponents

the one viewed as an economic issue and the other as joined forces at the point where both urged that end

a political special

attention be devoted to poor, rural women in their productive

reproductive roles. integrated real life.

They advocated that assistance to women be given in an in

fashion that reflected the way the two roles are played out

The

result

has

been

a for

burgeoning, women that

in the promote

last income

decade,

of

gender-specific

programs

generation

activities
and

incorporate
elements
of

family

planning,

nutrition,

and
vocational
education.
These integrated
programs,
as they are
called, depend for their success
on multi-purpose
groups
of women who are interested in learning the skills and
information
offered
and who have the resources (credit, contraceptives, child care)
to
apply what they learn.
In Kenya particularly, multi-purpose women's groups
have proliferated
and are
viewed as potentially effective
vehicles
for
fostering local
development and community self-reliance (See Chapter 4,
Section B).

child-rearing,
literacy,

women are sponsored by both the


state and
(NGO's).
Evaluations of these programs have
on the whole been
positive (see, for example, N.Clark 1981
and Crandon
1984), while
research
studies
have been more negative (Buvinic
1984,
Feldman 1983)
about the ability of these
programs
tc develop viable
economic enterprises and
to affect women's reproductive role.
The truth is
that very
little is actually known about
these multi-purpose
groups,
particularly
in Africa where
they are often confused
with traditional
social formations.
Very recently, a few quantitative stidies have appeared
(e.g., Njonjo et
al.
1985) which demonstrate the fragility
of women's
group enterprises.
Unfortunately,
these do not provide any deeper
interpretation or clue as
to why groups fail economically. There are other
qualitative
studies (Mwagiru 1985,
for example) that do not
provide
reliable
figures and therefore the data are of questionable validity.
In
short, virtually no interpretable information exists about women's programs
on which can
be based policy and planning concerned with increasing
the
incomes of the poor and decreasing fertility.

Integrated
programs
for non-governmental organizations

The Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination (PPC) of the Agency for
of
International Development (AID) became interested in this issue because its continuing
concern with effective ways to reduce population growth.
Indeed, about AID in general becane especially concerned in the growth in Kenya, which had reached
an early 1980's
and
had

population four

annual NGO,

catastrophic

percent.

World Education, Inc., an American

recently
concluded the pilot phase of a successful six--village women's program phase of on Kenya's coast (N. Clark 1981).

integrated
second

In planning the

this program, World Education, aware that the income of

generation
to

component

its most fragile aspect, proposed to PPC the program was

study whether in fact income generation was a workable development strategy


and what were its specific effects on participants' fertility. The

proposal was funded in October of 1982. concluded in June, 1986.

Research began in March, 1983, and

B, [URPOSE OF THE STUDY

The income increase

major
objective of this study was to determine generation

whether

women's

projects, with or without family


planning

components,
of

participants'

income and their receptivity to and acceptance

family planning.

Initial research questions asked the following:

1. Do income generation projects increase real income?


a. Who takes advantage of income generation projects?

b. If groups do generate income, why?
2. Does success or failure of groups to increase real income
affect fertility attitudes, knowledge, or behavior?

What program components are critical in increasing income


3. and decreasing fertility?
What external events or conditions are necessary for success
4. or lead to failure?
Other gender questions relations, concerned with social differentiation, class formation,
and

group function and structure, and household income

expenditure were subsequently added.

FOCUS OF THE STUDY


C.

The

study

focused

on

the program of Tototo

Home

Industries

(see

Chapter 4, Section C) and a sample of the women's groups it has worked with
since 1977, of The Coast Province of Kenya, where Tototo is located, is not
the popular imagination. There are no Maasai warriors or

the Kenya

fertile Rift Valley farms.

This corner of Kenya is poor.

On the whole, it

lacks roads, its soil is infertile, its rainfall scarce, and its population
scattered and isolated, except for the narrow coastal strip (see Chapter 4,
Section A). The coastal hinterland does not compare well to the Kenya of

the television Africa lessons and

and tourist camera, but it is very like many other parts of


For this reason,
so

other less-favored regions of Kenya itself.

can be learned here and generalizations made that might not be

apparent in more affluent places.

The Tototo around:

choice offered

of Tototo as the study site had an additional a women's group program that was (and still is)

advantage.
the best

it provided regular training to group leaders, frequent extension

services While

to group members and, more recently, credit to small enterprises.


did not provide family planning services, education planning and attempted to services. it had link always
to were in a

Tototo

emphasized government accustomed learning definable, beneficial

family and to how

planning family

groups staff

other

Tototo

collecting quantitative data, and they were to make their work better. and well-organized In short, program

interested offered

Tototo that

consistent,

should

yield
of

results in economic and reproductive terms.

An examination

these results and their causes promised to provide the answers that PPC and
World Education sought.

CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

A.

WOMEN, PRODUCTION, AND REPRODUCTION

Integrated
programs for women are a relatively recent phenomenon. evidence for women human pointing to the dire consequences of rural development

As

programs

mounted during the 1970's, this once invisible half of potential


was discovered by the international aid community. by the U.N.-proclaimed International Women's During
Decade,

capital

the years development

spanned

criticized for the sexual discrimination of


organizations were

their programs that either ignored the productive roles of women altogether
or relied on a welfare approach, focusing on home economics training that
At the

sought to make women into "more skillful dependents" (Rogers 1980). same time, household students of gender issues across cultures
were

examining

survival strategies, the sexual division of labor and allocation


and their implications for the subordination of women. As a

of resources, result,

for different reasons and from different points of view, academics


called in unison for women's income generation
the past

and practitioners
alike programs as

an apparent panacea for the gender-related ills of

three decades of development aid. of these programs,

Because the present study focuses on one


behind
for

include a summary of the various rationales we

the current

popularity of income generation as a development strategy

women.
These we group in the broad categories of economJ :s, basic fertility and equity.

needs,

There majority generation of poverty. mainstream economic available

is considerable

overlap

between these

categories,

but

the

of arguments offered in the literature in favor of women's income


programs are economic and linked to
the worldwide feminization

Neo-classical approaches that advocate integrating women into


development efforts argue for income generation on the basis of

efficiency at national and local levels. human

Women constitute 50% of


the

resources.
Therefore, both national development and

producers and
maximization of household benefit demand their recognition as
their incorporation into the mainstream of the economy (Buvinic,
Lycette,
Cloud 1985).

and McGreevey 1983;

Focusing more specifically on the issue of women's economic need, the


literature cites several trends.
A prevalent one is the continuing

increase in female-headed households and the financial constraints on these


households land tenure increasing of men women caused systems by women's unequal access to economic based on private ownership of land, resources. continued New and

emphasis on cash crop production, and a mistaken identification

as the correct target of agricultural investment all contribute


to being consigned to the ignored and underdeveloped subsistence sector
1981, Rogers 1980). The writers propose income
generation to
If

(Blumberg

replace women's loss of traditional earnings and prestige (Dixon 1980). women and other rural poor are excluded from the returns on

agricultural

production, enterprises. already

then they stand to gain much from participating in small-scale


Such enterprises can be built using skills that women have

acqultcd through their roles ir household production.

These kinds

of businesses offer flexibility, opportunities for part-time investments of


labor, and, in some cases, home-based production. All of these qualities

facilitate women's participation by allowing them to continue to meet their


reproductive traditional the issue, leads responsibilities. With businesses largely based on

skills and production, compensation for work performed becomes


not the occupation of women (Dulansey and Austin 1985). This

us to perhaps the most poignant reason to promote income and that is the priorities of women themselves. revealed that economic need was the

generation

for women, project

A review of 32
priority women

documents

expressed most often (Dixon 1980).

Concomitant on women's women's dire

to the justification of income generation programs economic roles straits is that based on the

based
of
and
the
in
to

recognition to food in

reproductive

and their special relationship shows that women invest

family
welfare. household savings increase

Research

resources

to a greater extent than men do and that they tend to invest nore reliably. Therefore, some writers logically argue will have a positive impact on the that

women's

earnings

health,

nutrition, and education of family members (Blumberg 1981, Dixon 1980, Nash
1975). A link between specialists on family welfare, promoters of

small-enterprise, was thus forged.

a and advocates of
"basic needs" approach to development

Yet another source of support for income generation programs for women
lies in population agencies. integrated family 1980). development Critics claim that these agencies have to used

programs for their own ends, that is,

promote
Hoskins

planning

and to disseminate contraceptives (Rogers

1980,

There is nevertheless a body of theoretical, policy, and evaluation


which asserts that employment and income earning
opportunities

literature

can change with women's family roles;

attitudes

towards fertility.

A number of

factors

associated
of

employment These

are believed to promote a greater include incompatibility between

acceptance

planning.

worker-mother
and

increased status due to greater visibility, access to income, of new or non-traditional skills; and

acquisition

increased

self-confidence and new aspirations (Chhabra 1984, Crandon 1984, Wiarda and
Helzner 1981). These assumptions have generated substantial income financial
generation
the assumed

support
for components. inverse In most income power,

integrated Other

women's programs that include however, have

researchers,

challenged

relationship rural

between women's productive and reproductive


powers.
in and
and

societier., the extent to which women's involvement

translate into increased status from productive activities can


particularly allow in the household, depends upon whether

prevailing
is not

ideologies

it (Safilios-Rothschild 1982).

Women's status

always the same in the community and in the household. broad

Rather, status is a
privileges

term including differential power, prestige, rights, and

that change on the

along different points in a woman's life-cycle and that depend


division of iabor within the household. This division of

sexual

labor is itself highly variable (Youssef 1982).

For feminists, creating opportunities for women to have an independent


source
of income has been a popular strategy to help women free themselves
of patriarchal have revealed bonds. the Yet it is also the researchers of gender issues who
of such a strategy. They have pointed out the
As

flaws

power of ideology and the way it reinforces women's reproductive roles. mothers, that their women are expected to respond to needs of children, which are the hardest to hold onto.

means

resources

Increased income
for

10

women,

therefore,

may actually translate into increased oppression if it

means that their access to new resources permits men to spend more of their
own cash on personal consumption. leisure, Where the allocation of food, education,
that
of

and income is socially determined by patriarchal traditions preference to males, it becomes obvious that the impact

give overall

increased income'for women is partly determined by men (Whitehead 1981).

Added least works issues

to

these theories and debates about income generation

are

at
what

ten years of project experience that provide some insight into and of more into what does not. Most of this experience

highlights
whether to

project design:

appropriate levels of investment,

direct inputs to groups or individuals, the pros and cons of women-specific


versus integrated programs, the the kinds appropriate of role of that implementing make or

intermediary businesses,

agencies,

activities

profitable
really

the role of training, and so on.

It has not, however,

succeeded in helping practitioners understand operational/design matters in


light of domestic power relations, the responses of households to economies
in transition, and how both of these affect gender relations and This is our ambitious goal.
women's

role in development.

B.

WOMEN'3 GROUPS AS A DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY IN KENYA

Much an ideal

has been written about Kenyan women, for the country has offered
intellectual setting for research history, migrant on gender: an labor, economy and ethnic based and
on

topographical agriculture, development

diversity, a tradition

a colonial of male

a grassroots
review to

movement

of women.

It is not the purpose of this

survey referred

such to

a formidable

body of literature.

The

reader

is instead
profile
economic

two recent and comprehensive treatments:

Reynold's

(1978) of
Kenyan women and M. Clark's review (1985) of household strategies in Kenya.

A description scope is presented or have

of

the women's group movement, its history,

and

its
of
of

in Chapter 4, accompanied by a brief in Kenya. In the last few years,

discussion a number

self-help scholars

harambee

studied the phenomenon of rural women's groups has varied

in Kenya.
In this
groups

This research section, we

both in quality and in availability.

wish to highlight several of these studies of women's

which share concerns or data similar to ours.

Most noteworthy is the 1983-1984 study by Apollo Njonjo (1985) and his
colleagues
districts: to study community the

who

carried

out

full census of

women's
groups

in five

Kitui, Bungoma, Kisii, Kiambu, and Nairobi.


Their purpose was
structure and functioning of these groups and their role
in
From this census, they selected 25 groups for

development.

intensive study, achieving a careful balance cf active and inactive groups,

assisted Women's

and Bureau

non-assisted, records, the

rural

and urban. the

Their

data

consisted

of

files of

respective

District 252 72

Social
members
group

Development randomly leaders,

Officer,

and
interviews with 473 respondents:

selected and 39 to drew

from
the 25 groups, 110 of their non-members. family planning No data or were

husbands, which the

reported but

pertained

specifictilly researchers revealed by

fertility,

picture
the
later
the

of the groups resembles in some respects the


one Groups attracted members primarily "rom among

our data.

12

middle-aged young

(a mean age of 40), middle peasantry, largely

excluding

the

and the very poor.


In this sense, the outreach of the women's group
The groups, averaging 30 members each, carried
ranging from simple mutual
aid

movement was found limited. out a multiplicity of

activities,

associations

to the management of complex enterprises.

Groups encountered

no major organizational problems; recruitment patterns,

maintained their cohesion through stable


and

face-to-face interaction, and group pressure;

relied on consensus for decision-making. operated providing revolving direct credit

Sixty-eight percent of the groups


successful in
were

associacions which were judged

and tangible benefits to members.


Less successful

the small enterprises, which were virtually all badly managed and operating
at a loss. Lack of
education, skills, and knowledge, and unsuitable
The

capitalization researchers, both financial

were found to be principal causes of business failure.

however, noted thp impressive capacity of groups to


generate
and labor resources from among their
members: 95% of

financial
resources were contributed by group members themselves. spent between six
and on ten percent of their schools. For this total funds on

Groups
community

projects, attracted one percent in these mechanism women


and unless required group provide

especially strong

reason,

their

activities
only

community support.

The researchers suggested that

of the adult female population received any kind of assistance


The team recommended that
the movement, of be via the

activities.

of
the Women's Bureau, be widened to include 25-30% that income generation as a development strategy were preceded by careful feasibility

Kenyan
dropped,
and the
the

projects

studies

skills were clearly identified and secured.

The strength of

seen to lie in the revolving credit associations, which


movement was
direct support to households; in the dissemination of knowledge

13

and skills; projects.

and

to in the support given by groups


community

development

Barbara Murang'a, female

Thomas

(1985) combined 1978-79 data on 44 women's groups

in
250

Embu,
and Kericho Districts with data from interviews with in a larger study of self-help. She identified

respondents

three

sometimes groups, these

overlapping categories of women's groups:


(a) income generation
which were small and cohesive, consisting of 25 to 30 members;

then divided among members or used for


groups earned money which was
purpose; which one or (b) revolving credit associations, numbering from 24
to
collected funds monthly from the membership and

a common

240 members, designated

more members as recipients;

and (c) social

security
widows,
Women
the
were

groups,
which provided a support structure to women, particularly the elderly,
or wives of migrant laborers who otherwise lacked one. in all general household funds: three female categories population

were literate (17-40%) at half the rate


of in the same locations, and 25 to 30%

heads.
Thomas identified four operant means of generating group
regular group subscriptions of two to twenty shillings a month;

selling commercial labor, which was done by half the groups;


proceeds from
sales from communal farms; on an individual and basis, and handicraft sales. The last was mostly done
collective
groups'

with only two organized a tempts


at

purchasing startling

marketing.

Thomas, like Njonjo et al.,


noted the

capacity

to raise and distribute funds:

$87,168 in a seven
or

eight-year period, in one instance. representing location, other one 1,013 group Thomas

In another location in 1977, 26 groups


In yet
another
to

women raised and distributed $13,577.

raised $7,600 to buy a maize mill.


In
contrast found that from two to 14% of
the adult

studies,

female

14

population members.

belonged She

to

women's that

groups, and in one

location, belong

34% if

were
(a)

suggested

women were more likely to

women's responsibilities were increased due to


men's prolonged absences, or
(b) the group resided in a location more tightly linked to a cash economy.
four external
conditions that foster of local development
toward

She identified through

women's
groups:

(1) a positive attitude

government

groups, (2) economic opportunity available to groups, (3) community support


for groups, Internal and (4) a supportive infrastructure (markets, necessary for success included group for example).
and

conditions

leadership She

such systematic that groups case of

procedures
as keeping a bank account.

hypothesized
in the

enabled

women to gain control over a new technology,

group-owned of

and operated grain mills, and facilitated a


changing

relationship adequate.

rural women to the means of production if resources


were

Millicent groups

Odera

(1980) 434 women

reports a 1980 survey of 10 in Nyeri District,

Kikuyu

women's
Province.

comprising

Central

Ninety-five percent of the members of nine of these groups were interviewed


using groups well-planned survey procedures. for home economics and The groups were formed as
learning
and to establish income
of

agriculture

generation

projects.

They were assisted in doing so by


the

Ministry

Agriculture and the Family Planning Association of Kenya. the members were of child-bearing years, and 67% were

Sixty percent of
married. Twelve

percent had never married, partly a function of the age distribution of one
group where 17% were less than 25 years of age.
Most (95%) of the and only 29% of their husbands had off-farm women

were farmers,

employment.

Monthly group subscriptions ranged from 10 to 20 shillings, and five groups

15

had revolving First, and 20% 88%

credit

associations.

Odera found two

interesting

things.
group,
funds

of the total merbers belonged to more than one women's to three or four. Second, she found that group

belonged

ranged from Ksh.700 to Ksh.5,000, averaging Ksh.2,029 ($268). most groups committee. women drawn unique were Most made not by group consensus but by the

Decisions in
management
of the

(90%) knew about modern contraceptives, and 25%

were using one method. regarding the

Odera's data do not permit conclusions to be


study is

economic performance of projects, but the

in-having collected family planning data that show an above average

rate of contraception.

Wanjiku Province.

Mwagiru Because

(1985) studied 46 groups of Kikuyu women in Central


her sample of respondents was small and not

systematically selected, it is difficult to know how valid the data are for
the population activities under consideration. She found that groups' goals and
the

were primarily economic and that these varied according to zone the in which a group was located. source of funds, and Regular spent

agro-climatic constituted

subscriptions
their funds

major

groups

primarily on items of direct benefit to the members and their families.

Data consisting officials groups. times

for Rayah Feldman's study (1983) were even more impressionistic,


of and She visits private to 15 groups in 10 districts, interviews on with

individuals, and published

materials

women's
five

found that women in Central and Eastern Provinces were

as likely to receive government (i.e., Women's Bureau) assistance as


She found that groups were composed disproportionately of
and that the young were excluded. The agriciltural

women elsewhere. better-off women

16

projects

included they plans;

in the were

study not

suffered integrated

from marketing into overall

problems.
agricultural
where
seen

Additionally, development members' as an end

they were often seen as ancillary

enterprises they were not

only obligation was to finance the activity;

in themselves but were used for capitalizing other risked being taken over by men.

businesses;

and they

Of the non-agricultural projects


None had accounting systems,
of

she observed, none appeared to turn a profit. and all skilled Feldman had

pervasive problems of unfavorable market conditions, lack

personnel, and lack of attention to workers' wages and conditions. judged women's group projects to be doomed to failure so long as

they failed to challenge existing power relations.

There

seems to be little agreement among the researchers on the value


Njonjo et al. and Feldman find that the poor and young
are

of women's groups. are excluded likely to from

groups, while the middle-aged, slightly better-off Thomas disagrees, giving evidence of

participate.

higher

illiteracy,

a greater proportion of female household heads, and a greater


among Thomas, members; and Odera shows participation of young

marginalization women. factor links through Njonjo, benefits Odera,

and Njonjo agree that leadership

is a critical

in group success but do not elaborate on how leadership operates or


groups to the outside. while Njonjo finds that groups make groups decisions make by decisions
committee.
for and
on

consensus, and tacitly

Odera's

Thomas, cite widespread community

support

from the activities of groups.

Thomas and Njonjo both remark

the capacity to outright gains

of the groups to raise local funds. failure sales

Feldman and Njonjo point


substantial
and Mwagiru

of group enterprises, while Thomas cites of communal labor. Njonjo, Feldman,

through

17

indicate government for

one percent or less of the adult female population receives


that
assistance for their group efforts;
Thomas points to evidence
participation in groups, as high as 34% of women in a

widespread

specific the most

location.

Njonlo et al.

find the revolving credit


association
Thomas finds women's appropriation groups of
for

successful
feature; most

technology

promising;
Odera suggests the potential of

family planning acceptance;

a ! Feldman finds nothing good to say at all.

In fact, conclusions,

all of these researchers can be presumed correct however the contradictory their data may appear. This

in their
is so,
but

first,
because operate because

groups they studied are probably not

comparable and

within
economies in different stages of transition; the

second,

reasons for the contradictions could not be revealed


through
used in these stucties. While these studies have all shed much

the methods

needed
light on the women's group movement in Kenya, the weakness they all
share groups is insufficient attention paid to the relationship of the Vc.11en's
This
group

to the vital sub-stratum of the local or indigenous economy. explains


more than about the performance of women's

relationship enterprises

statistical comparisons of data on age, literacy,


funds

raised, or number of projects undertaken.

C.

REPRODUCTION AND RURAL KENYAN WOMEN

Kenyans

are

presently increasing their numbers at an annual rate

of

4.2%.
The United Nations projects that the country's population, estimated
at 13 million in 1975 ana 21 million in 1986, will quadruple by 2025; bleaker This may even

is the World Bank's estimate of 116 million by 2100 (Survey 1986).


be catastrophic in a country of 225,000 squar' miles, of which

less than a third are arable (Kaplan 1976).

18

The Kenya

current

total fertility rate among Kenyan women is 8.1, and Survey (KFS) suggests that it may actually be as high

the
as

Fertility

8.6 (CBS 1980, Mott aad Mott 1980).

That women are achieving close to that


of

rate is supported Ly KFS data giving a mean of 8.01 children ever born women fifty years of age. 1980). health 1958 to front a Bhatia actually and are Such high

An average of 6.3 of these children survive (CBS


of the improved

fertility is indeed pertly a result

care and nutrition that have cut infant mortality from 160/1,000 in
87/1,000 in 1977 (Mott and Mott 1980). decline 1985). It also may result in part
1982,

3 in polygyny in certain areas of Kenya (Diepenhorst

Some evidence, however, suggests that this high

fertility

represents an intentional increase, that women want more children


now having the number they want (Dow and Warner 1981, Dow and

Warner 1983a).

Kenya family

was

one

of the first African states to institute

a national
the

planning

program, but
it is only in the last three years that

government know about 87.8% knew

has aggressively promoted fertility control.

Many more Kenyans

family planning than use it. Of the women surveyed in 1977-78,


of at least one method of contraception, either modern or

traditional. In spite modern of method

Thirty-eight percent had heard of a family planning facility.


this level of awareness, only 5.9% were currently using of a

and 3.3% a traditional method.

Further analysis

these

same data suggested that when women did practice contraception, they did so
to replace traditional methods of prolonging the interval between births

and not to limit the number of children (Dow and Warner 1981).

19

While
in Kenya 5 ,

the concept of desired family size must be used very cautiously

KFS data show that overall, women want an average of 7.2

children (CBS 1980).

Even those most favorably disposed to family planning

'ant more than seven children (Dow and Warner 1983).

One maintain

may large

well

ask

why relatively poor people

choose

to

have

and
food

families

in the face of high inflation,

increasing

shortages, low rates of employment, and a growing threat of sub-division of


landholdings countries do and landlessness. Kenya and other sub-Saharan African
that

not appear to be undergoing the demographic trqnsition the northern countries at the beginning of their Contraception is not being widely adopted or, once

characterized revolutions.

industrial
adopted,

it is not being continued because Kenyan coupleF do not want to limit their
fertility planning efficient and may even seek to increase it (Dow and Warner 1983a). programs use of Family

therefore are little utilized and may not represent


an
population and resources (Tabbarah 1971). While
attitudes
must
to

sccial-psychological toward

ethnic factors do influence

people's

fertility and their sexual practices (Molnos 1972, 1973), one superficial -xplanations of surface behavior in order

look beyond

understand better its underlying rationale.

In seeking explanations for these phenomena, many development thinkers


hold that Asia, the structural changes that occurred in the economies of Europe,

and the Americas and resulted in fertility decline have yet to occur
Boserup in (1985) summarizes this viewpoint by Africa is promoted by extensive suggesting that

in Africa.

high fertility

land-use

subsistence

systems, communal land tenu'e, and the low status of women, all features of

20

African decline. to signal

life

which

both

deter industrialization

and

hinder

fertility

Boserup's special contribution to this school of thought has been


the deterioration of African women's economic situation, to

illustrate how women's dependence on child labor and financial support from
adult women's children roles perpetuates in production behavior. At large are family norms, and to as critical to point out as that their with that

fertility

reproductive peasant portend prolonged a high

present, high fertility

is associated

practice changes

throughout Africa.

There are some signs, however,

in the distant future, and these are exemplified

in the

economic crisis that has occurred in Ghana and resulted there in


of contraception. The extent and rapidity of this change in

rate

fertility and Boserup Africa.

control is unlikely to be replicated soon in the rest of Africa,


predicts many decades ahead of rapid population increase for

There

are

a number of difficulties with this analysis.

The

model

assumes
that economic development universally follows a single

historical

path, the one charted by Western industrialized nations, and that Africa is
-iust embarking on this journey. In this view, "modernization" is

synonymous with "Westernization" and will do for Africa what it did for the
West in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, irrespective of worldwide Africa has economic not interdependence. There is, however, indeed today's
that

evidence cannot,

followed

this same process and

because

conditions there differ radically from those of pre-industrial Europe (Leys


1975, Rodney 1972). If this is so, then other, and is yet unknown,

processes similar

will determine fertility change in Africa.

There are also other

criticisms of Boserup's own analysis of women's role in production

and population growth (Beneria and Sen 1981).

21

A less specific Caldwell's focuses (1984) on

general of

analysis high

would be more useful

in identifying this is provided

the
by

causes

fertility in Kenya, and

theory of intergenerational wealth flows (Caldwell 1982) the relative obligations of parents and this relationship using Kenyan children. data.

which

Shepherd
are

illustrates

Parents

expected to provide for the early welfare and education of children and, in
the case of sons, for bridewealth. parents they are their with In return, children begin to help their

household and farming tasks while still very young,


whether
After completing school, daughters marry by
or

in school or not.

mid to late teens and sons work full-time on their father's land

are employed in town and send remittances home.

"A father's responsibility


A son's to his
and continued

and

to his sun, then, lasted a maximum of perhaps twenty years. father began
the

in a modest
way well before he

was

ten,

throughout

lifetime of the father - probably at least 20 years -

beyond, to his man's

The son's duty


when he cared for his father's widow, his mother .... father thus outweighs that of father to son, which means that a

expectation is respect from his children rather than care for


them"
1984, support 36-38). Included in that expectation is significant
son's

(Shepherd economic

in old age.

Although Shepherd believes that


the

ability to fulfill his father's expectation is eroding as school leavers in


Kenya find it increasingly difficult to get formal sector jobs, others

(Reining taken up

et al.

1977, Tinker 1986)


feel that some of this slack is being
elderly for parents,
old age

by daughters and that in some areas of Kenya, widows, tend to rely on adult

particularly assistance.

daughters

22

Two

very interesting studies (Dow and Warner 1983b, Gomes 1984) offer
expectations
investment
to
receive
that family
and

quantitative
support for the proposition that these parental are in
fact still born out. Kenyan direct parents economic make Gomes, looking at the educational

in children, finds that they can expect

returns on these outlays.


She demonstrates related to educational attainment of

size is positively concludes Dow and

children

from
this that to have a large family is inherently Werner cite strong evidence that adult Kenyans now

rational.
provide
a

substantial children noting fertili! structure, negative. parents by jobs behavior

amount

of support for their elderly parents and expect


their
Handwerker (1986) illuminates this discussion by
education alone clearly does not the bring about

to do the same. that while mass

decline, the Thus

when it is accompanied by changes in wealth flows from children to

opportunity

expected

parents
become
motivate

education without employment opportunities will

to continue having large families, but education which is rewarded


will bring about "changes in the moral economy of reproductive

and parent-child relationships." Handwerker finds his theory born

out by data from the Caribbean and Liberia.

Mkangi Kenya's large gives

(1983)

offers convincing data from Taita/Taveta

District investment

in
in
He

Coast

Province on the economic reward of parental

families
in general. and in children's education in particular.

detailed time allocation data for men, women and children concerning
He finds that the
child
by
a

production, consumption, social investment, and leisure. rural labor; household, that the

regardless of its economic situation, depends


on distribution gender-specific of household labor

is determined

culturally-rooted

tasks;
and that the options open to

23

household in how it exploits its labor depend largely on its socio-economic


status. poverty. or a few job. Formal education is seen by these peasants as an exit from

Poor families gamble by having many children in the hope that one will make it through the school system and into a formal sector

In parents, in large Women's although between

considering

the

case of Kenya, then, it seems clear

tbtr

rural

faced with a dearth of economic opportunity, are forced to invest


families groups the and that this investment, in a general way, appear to represent a form of of economic low. pays off.

also rate

investment,
The link

return on that investment may be

these two kinds of investment and their relationship to

household

economies and gender relations are the focus of this study.

24

NOTES TO CHAPTER 2
or
done at
the request of a donor agency
1. Frequently, such research is not easily
and is therefore
in the context of a development project the topic
of work by the following scholars on
We are aware located. Chesaro
and Cyrus
Gachukia, Lena of women's groups in Kenya: Eddah Safilios-Rothschild,
Nicky May,
Diana Mutiso, Shanyisa Khasiani, and Preston Chitere.
We regret
that
Kavetsa Adagala, Rachel Musyoki, the work of these colleagues and
we
have not had opportunities
to read
in the body of the text.
do not wish to slight them by omission other
researchers (Shepherd 1984,
2. Odera does not mention this, but and slowly increasing incidence
of
Reining 1977) have pointed to
a new children.
This phenomenon
occurs
never-married
women who
have evident among our sample.
in many places in Kenya and was also in
is 11% lower among Kenyan women 3. Shepherd says that fertility
(Shepherd 1.984,
7).
marriages polygynous marriages
than in monogamous Ghana supports this view (Bhatia 1985).
Evidence from Survey of 1984, just released at
the
4. The Kenya Contraceptive Prevalence contraception has increased overall
time of
this writing, indicates that has dropped from 7.2 to 6.2 (Survey
to 17%
and that desired family size 1986).
of a desired family size is alien to
5. KFS data "suggest that the concept they do not
think in such terms
or
many women in Kenya, either because fatalistic manner.
Survey findings
a because they regard the subject in
be regarded
with considerable
therefore, must
on this subject, when asked how many children
example, scepticism" (CBS 1980, 114). For reply ("as
many
to 26% of respondents gave a non-numeric they want, up data are biased but in
what
as God
wills"). Therefore, the resulting is direction or how, one
not sure.
toward the use of KAP
surveys
Other criticisms have been directed and Radel 1976). These include an
in Kenya (see, for example, Smith from Western sociology for use
in
inappropriate reliance on variables of applying a standardized
survey
non-Western
societies and difficulty to varying and unique cultural settings.

25

CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

A.

RESEARCH DESIGN

From

the

inception of this study, we considered it essential that

balance of qualitative and quantitative data form the core of the research.
We recognized non-Western would using supply the limitations of survey research, particularly in

settings, and believed that qualitative and observational data


interpretation and therefore meaning to findings obtained

quantitative methods.

This stance, then, uneerlay both the research

design and choice of methods.

The study employed three units of analysis.

The sample survey focused

on individual members of women's groups, while the case studies and content
analysis of program records looked at members' households and at each

women's group as a whole.

baseline

survey

was

carried out in 1983,1 the

data

from

which

allowed

us

to

compile

demographic

profiles

of

group

members

and

income

non-members. generation studies.

These data,

profiles,

as well as continuously

collected as

assisted us in selecting four 2 groups to serve

case

26

B.

METHODS

1.

Sample Survey

a. Organization of the survey

The director,

survey was planned jointly in 1983 by the World Education project


the The director of Tototo Home the all Industries, and a research

consultant. trained the

consultant

supervised supervised

questionnaire field work,

preparation,
designed and
The

interviewers,

supervised survey was

the coding, and carried out the preliminary data analysis. completed on schedule.

b. The sample

Ir

A list was made of the 26 women's groups in five districts that Tototo
had worked relevant success to urban the group constraints into account ideal for to with the to date. 3 These were categorized according purposes of the study: to variables
program;

length of time in the religion;

in meeting group objectives; centers. to be

ethnicity;

and proximity
category,
of the

Where more than one group fell into a given included in the sample was chosen on the basis

of travel;

that is, logistical considerations had to be taken


a two-week survey. Although a group might be

in planning

study, it was excluded if there were a chance that be lost in traveling to and from it. This was not but conformed Thirteen to commonly a 50% accepted sample

significant
a random
of

time would sampling stratified

procedure

principles at the

sampling.

groups,

time,

constituted the sampling base.

(See Table 3.1)

27

A membership
list was prepared for each of the 13 groups, both active order table and and non-active members. a number assigned to each.

including

Members were listed in no


varticular
Respondents were selected using a

of random numbers.

Additional members were randomly chosen to serve


On average,
This sample

as reserves if selected participants could not be interviewed. 66% of the groups' members were selected to be interviewed.

constitutes Tototo not able

a pool of approximately 30% of the entire membership of all 26


During the actual field work, the research team often was
and

groups.

to
locate all members who had been selected for interviews, were interviewed.

the reserves

When reserve members could not be located,


This

members
at hand who had not been selected randomly were interviewed. biased the data in favor of more active members.

For several reasons, it was not possible to select non-participants in


a random manner. Not only did our budgetary constraints prevent the type

of mapping exercise necessary for random non-participant selection, but the


position of Tototo to itself in the communities it serves and local
to

sensitivities interview lay-out 10

research precluded this possibility.

It was decided Where

non-participants in each sub-location.

sub-location
identify

permitted,

interviewers would go from house to house to

non-participants. provide

Where they were too dispersed, members would be asked to

the names of non-participants and these women would be invited


to
During the field work, however, the house-to-house method

be interviewed. proved through

impractical, so that all non-participants came to the research team


group
members. The extent to which this introduced a bias in

non-participant fact that 20%

selection is unknown. of non-member Four

That it does so is suggested by the


proved to be daughters conducted, of
of

respondents

member-respondents. which

hundred and six interviews were

297 were group members and 109 were non-participants.

28

This compares favorably with the Njonjo (1985) random sample discussed
in Chapter 2 which represented 25 groups in five districts and included 324
group members (including leaders and members, active and inactive) and NJonjo also interviewed 110 husbands of group members. 39
The

non-members. size of Mwagiru's

Thomas' (1985) sample was 250, of Odera's (1980) about 320, and of
(1985) 92.
Odera's study took a census of nine groups. It is

unknown how Thomas' and Mwagiru selected their respondents.

c. The questionnaire

The of group

purpose of the questionnaire was to establish a baseline members, to suggest differences between members and

profile

non-members,

and to indicate areas of likely interest to the anthropologist.

The questionnaire covered the following toics:


1) Respondent characteristics
2) Household composition
3) Aspects relating to respondent's involvement in income
generation project, including husband's role and other
group affiliations
4) Non-members' views of income generation group
5) Sources of household income
6) Landownership and use
7) Household decision-making patterns
8) Fertility and infant mortality
9) Family planning knowledge, attitudes, and practice

Non-participants were asked additional questions about their perceptions of


the Tototo group in their village and why they were not members.

29

TABLE 3.1
SAMPLE OF 13 GROUPS SURVEYED

Year joined

REMOTE"

NOT REMOTE

Tototo
1978

Status
More
1 Successful" )

Group Mapimo Ngamani Pangani Bogoa Lukundo Kitere


Vigurungani

Ethnicity~c) Giriama Mixed Kamba Chifundi Taita Pokomo


Duruma

Group Mkoyo Chumani Majengo Gede X Maunguja

Ethnicity Digo Mixed Mixed Giriama X Rabai

Less Successful More


1982

Successful Less Successful More Successful


Less

1983

Successful

Kayafungo

Giriama

(a) Proximity of group to public service facilities.


(b) More Successful/Less Successful: A group was defined as more successful
if it had:
a) established an objective (for newer groups)
b) remained coherent as a group
c) fulfilled its primary objective (for 1977 groups)
A less successful group had failed to establish or fulfill an

objective.
(c) Includes 7 of the 9 Mijikenda groups plus one immigrant group, Kamba,
and one Swahili sub-group, the Chifundi.

30

TABLE 3.2
DISTRIBUTION OF SURVEY INTERVIEWS

MORE SUCCESSFUL GROUPS

LESS SUCCESSFUL GROUPS

NONMEMBERS

DISTRICT

# of Groups

# of Members interviewed 64

# of Leaders interviewed 14

# of Groups

# of Members interviewed 45

# of Leaders interviewed 9

Number of non-members
interviewed 45

Total # of inter
views 177

Kilifi

Mombasa

--

27

17

48

Kwale

21

34

11

28

97

Tana River

20

34

Taita/
Taveta

1
6

28

12

..

.....

10
24 109

50

TOTAL

133

34

106

406

31

subSssences
csh and

prO duc tO
n

( e9loyme member sou~rces e


ded al 1 possible i nco i b~ 1.~ 0 5
. t 8 o~e ~id d ~ da re .0
aho se
hol 1.n -ae ,tituS
t ttd to-ard thmeincome gen ,come or e
-l b oo ti
obtained

1
Ca5 no~

S v lta
th selves
n ae
I te

sure s
urve

e iO ati t
th o g

1;e

see

be v) iatfjg 11e

id ot On

V vsion

loe In- o

household

(s
olec t cou dt ev
e oc

ltd d Ii

an a cess to Moe eas il I o-an isseS,


a id
rnS"

,
n

. usedt m e mat
8 ette

d ry a Oma
to
oa e
ahis.
t n t suj
or a
?e

method, is Se n ma
?o r

n e
s red-o

Cro
4l an ti d dgs i U-O es'eaSi a househOm
hm
r
o

on

ta
,.
h

-~

t
e

-o

Vfosedge ue o

ano r ae

rt ieeS
rno
pnd e t

hta
tFro our"
stre ever ton oj t aini rn nf re. o l d.5e eie 1a d i.mt n tezed thequston Stae aot Fi in ted onr
ri te -

oe srv

mebes ihen

a . The dad

toat

,,,st
t
a
eant
e d
use
no s te re e t
e oe d
e !
r te
Ic an d d,or in
ts s pn d e n
fooprreect
re yet
~ ne~uer
ticezeaO

them

32

Interviewers were trained for two days, which included pre-testing and
revision of the questionnaire. Training covered the following topicsi

- purpose of the questionnaire, including advantages and dis advantages of questionnaire use in data collection;
- importance of interviewer neutrality;
- differences between closed-ended and open-ended questions,
and how to probe in the latter;
- need to eliminatn or minimize perceived differences between
interviewers and respondents;
- need to search for consistency in answers;
- item-by-item review of questionnaire; and
- items requiring probing or other special attention.
The pretest for was conducted with a women's group which produces
integrated
pretest and

handicrafts program.

Tototo's shop but does not participate in the women were interviewed. Allowing the

Fourteen

discussion, the questionnaire was slightly revised.

e. Administration of questionnaire

The travel to two

survey

was conducted from September 13-29, 1983.

Time spent

in

was substantial, ranging from 35 minutes to reach the nearest group


days to reach the most remote. the As interviewers time became necessary inore
to

proficient

in administering

questionnaire, the

concuct an interview was reduced.

33

f. Coding and data analysis

Coding

was done at Tototo by a research assistant. by the research assistant. of Nairobi using SPSS;

Coding categories

were developed the University

Data were initially analyzed at


additional analysis was done at

World Education.

2.

Case Studies

The case studies represent seven months of anthropological field work.


They include four women's groups, each in a different ecological zone, each
with different ethnic and religious composition. Two of these groups were

included in the sample survey. to a locale The fourth Tototo

We chose the third because of its proximity

for which substantial ethnographic data existed (Parkin 1972).


was selected because it was very new, both as a group and as participant. The names of these four women's groups a

program

have

been changed in this report for reasons of confidentiality.

The

World Education anthropologist spent a minimum of a month

living
He spent
history,

with each group and staying in a household of one of the members. the first two weeks in each location re-constructing the group's activities, problems and process of capital with

its formation, over the years.

accumulation
individual

He then conducted extensive interviews

members, collecting personal and household data. group

In addition to the weekly


This field

meetings, he participated in other community activities.

work has yielded data on group leadership and social stratification as well
as a host of other socio-economic factors that influence local life and

project operation.

34

3.

Project Income Data

The keeps for

third

data set wad collected from the cashbooks


that each These data were

group

its income generation projects. for six

continuously
and

recorded expenses.

to nine consecutive months and chart daily


income introduced this accounting system in 1984
and,

Tototo

though

very simple,

it has been difficult for group members to master the system.

For this
precise trends husiness data also

reason,

the data are somewhat unreliable and cannot be


of group finances. Nevertheless, they

seen

as

representations with

indicate
in
The each

respect to project accounts, cash flow, seasonal and non-business expenses incurred by a general indication of the

changes

activity, provide

projects. of

profitibility

enterprise.

4.

Supplementary Data

The
women's groups and Tototo keep several kinds of additional

data.
of
and

These
include a weekly evaluation of group meetings (attendance, level participation, decisions made); (attendance, social topics discussed, level of understanding reached,

a monthly index of group performance on several variables


dynamics, decision-making, economic or development, of and
group
meeting

group

development

community welfare);
a monthly analysis and problems; and a record for every

objectives, held (time,

achievements,

place, length of meeting, topics discussed, tasks carried out,


In addition, baseline

technical assistance received, income and expenses).

data on group history and goals exist for all groups, having been routinely
collected as each vroup joined the program.
These data have been collected
since January, 1983 and have assisted us in validating field data and

completing group histories.

35

C.

METHODOLOGICAL PROBLEMS

Although

the

survey was well-planned and supervised, we

encountered

several problems during data analysis which point to some weaknesses in the
data. Some items were either not clearly worded or not consistently asked,
was not apparent during the pre-test. Consequently, responses to
For example, with
not have

but this

some questions the question distinguished therefore, much of

may not be as reliable as we would like. concerning land

ownership and use, the items may rights in use and legal

sufficiently

between

ownership;
how

we cannot say with confidence how much land women farm and they was not own. asked Similarly, the item concerned with

that

household
cannot be

composition analyzed. education and data these because

consistently, so that these data

For this reason, we have no survey data on the amount of formal


women have received, although we do have survey data on literacy
on years of schooling for the case study groups. Problems like

should have beeni revealed during the pre-test but were not, in part
of insufficient pre-testing and in part because of dissimilarities
Many groups surveyed were

in dialect between interviewers and respondents.

not Swahili-speiking, and all interviewers were not fluent in all languages
spoken by respondents (eight distinct and separate languages or dialects).

Coding too often variables and food separated

errors constituted another class of problems. created that collapsed continuous variables; were often collapsed into large categories. were

Categories were

similarly discrete
For example, now cannot cash
be
This

crops

combined in response categories and

to show if there is a surplus of food crops which is sold.

kind of error has prevented us from disaggregating data on some variables.

36

The

cashbooks,

the

source

of group

income

generation

data,

are

frequently incomplete. have noted cashbook the same

All other researchers concerned with women's groups


problem. Despite the frequent errors and gaps in

entries,
we feel they do indicate reliable patterns and

trends,

even if the actual figures may not always be accurate.

We

do
not have two kinds of data which are important to a study time allocation data and complete household expense data.

of
To

this kind:

have meaningful use of time as

data on women's use of time, one also needs data on men's well as women's use of children's labor. There is

furthermore without The kind survey,

the problem of determining the exchange value of labor or


time on definitions derived from Western culture and required far outstrips the capabilities of instead very frequent measurements for as economy.
a sample
much as a

relying of

effort

demanding

year's time (Booker, Singh, and Savanne 1980). financial

This was clearly beyond our

means (Sajcgyo et al.


1979, Anker 1980, Block and Messer 1983).

We hope to collect these data in the future.

Data where wealth, example luxuries the as

on household expenditures are intrinsically difficult to collect


prevailing ethos puts a premium upon having
little it does on the Coast. The obvious drains
school observable
fees, for

- are accessible;

expenses in the form of capital investments and


As

are not.
Peasants do not as a rule keep household accounts.

with time allocation data, this kind of effort requires a well-trained team
of surveyers time to to collect the data regularly, frequently, and over a year's
for seasonality. The income and expenditure data we do

correct

37

have,

while

not

as

consistent and universal

as

regular

and

frequent

expenditure

surveys

would yield, suggest patterns and trends in which


we

have confidence.

D.

CONCEPTUAL ISSUES

1.

Defining Household

To difficult

define

the household for purposes of measurement and analysis the Third World. In so doing, social

is

throughout

scientists

attempt to use a Western construct based on the conjugal unit for observing
societies
in which a precise analog may not exist. are aware sometimes summarizes taken Peters to Sometimes researchers
17-19);
(1980)
We Guyer have
and
that

of the problem and try to make adjustments (Anker 1980, tUey the heart are ignorant of it (Booker et al. 1980). White

problem, which is particularly acute in Africa. the warnings of Guyer and Peters (Guyer 1981,

1984)

and have tried not to use the household as a construct

excludes other kinds of processes and structures.

In conducting the survey, we defined the household to include everyone


living in the same house or compound at the time of the interview (i.e., on
the basis in economic What this of residence). For the case studies, the household was defined

terms as a semi-autonomous unit of production and consumption.


entails (how, for example, it relates to esidence) is discussed

in detail in the case studies themselves.

38

2.

The Peasant Economy

Similarly, we have had to find a term to refer to the economics of the


areas studied - that is, the network of economic transactions, rights, and
situated in a geographical area but extending to the center of
and Some even to the commodity exchanges of Europe and use the term "household economy" which we have the United

obligatioits the nation States.

discarded

because we feel it implies conceptual boundaries in one place - at the edge


of the conjugal or domestic unit - when the boundaries are in fact far more
fluid and complex. suggest "Local economy", "natural economy" and "indigenous
New York,
will

economy" London, see.

an economic life untouched by the markets of

and Paris, and this certainly is not the case, as the reader

We have settled therefore upon "peasant economy", a term in frequent

use, while we recognize that it is not at all clear that "peasant" actually
applies 1978, refers to rural Africa (Guyer 1981, Saul and Woods 1971, Smith and Hyden 1980, Hyden 1983). to The term "peasant economy" in this Welch
repo'
is

the economic life of the people whom we studied.

This life

acted out largely in the geographical places described and is characterized


by both elements of the historical or traditional economy and influences of
international capitalism.

3.

Women's Status

It women's

is an axiom of population planners that fertility is reduced

when

social position or status is improvl -


. We have tried to avoid the
in this report, believing that it is too difficult to define
A woman plays a variety of roles consumer,

term "status" and too

complex to measure.

39

producer,

reproducer, leader, follower, and so on. behavior, some may not.

Some roles may

affect
of
to

reproductive status, relate we to

Rather than using the

concept

have looked at observable phenomena that could be expected reproduction: wealth, land ownership, gender

relations,

bridewealth, marriage, community participation.

4.

Generalizability

Strictly Kenya and

speaking,

our findings apply only to the Coast Province The particular problems of

of

to the locations studied.

divorced

Digo women and the

on the coast are unknown, say, by Luo women in Nyanza Province;


of Mombasa is not the Islam of Kano, Nigeria. What can attempt be
to

Islam

generalized introduce is played functions, undermine processes different, for other research World.

is the knowledge that where development planners

any social or economic change, they can be sure that this change
out and or upon an enduring substratum of rights, Kenya obligations,
coast to which
the

roles. promote

The processes at work on the

the economic progress of women are similar

at work in Nakuru, Kenya, or Kaolack, Senegal. but the dynamics are similar. studies; similarly,

The details
are

Questions we ask are appropriate


to guide the

our findings should serve

agendas of others studying similar issues elsewhere in the Third

5.

The Framework of Group Enterprises

In this

report,

the language of the marketplace "the logic

is often of

evoked:

"profitability", "entrepreneur" apply to the and

"capitalization," so on.

capitalism,"
that are correctly
collective

It is difficult to find terms They

small enterprises of women's groups.

40

operations.
historical should

Their organization and to some extent their goals arise


traditions that those of are not
Western capitalism. of

from

They

evaluated from the viewpoint not


and Indeed cannot be enterprises, and we have not done so. profitability to benefit and

Western

capitalist been overall enterprises groups,

Our criteria have rather

and the ability to generate income from


these
members and are all their
households. engaged in The

individual World

Tototo,

Education

pursuing

profitability as a means of increasing collective welfare.

NOTES TO CHAPTER 3
We had planned to follow the usual fieldwork practice and carry out a
1. baseline and several mini-surveys based on anthropological data.
Unfortunately, we had great difficulty in identifying and recruiting an
appropriate anthropologist for the fieldwork. Conscious of the passing
months, we eventually proceeded with the survey in late 1983, and used
data from that to confirm and supplement the case studies which began
This is the reverse of normal practice, and any gaps or
in 1985. inconsistencies we have in the survey data are due largely to
this.
World Education and Tototo have obtained additional funding from
2. private donors
to add four more case studies to this research.
Fieldwork for these is currently in progress.
Between September, 1977, and August, 1983, 25 women's groups and one
3. men's group participated in Tototo's Rural Development Programme.
Twenty more had joined by March, 1985, making a total of 46 groups. Of
these, one has disbanded, leaving 45 groups presently allied with
Two of
these groups have only male members and several more
Tototo. small numbers of men among the largely female membership. For the
have sake of brevity, we refer in this report to "46 women's groups".

41

CHAPTER 4
THE WOMEN'S GROUPS AND THEIR CONTEXT

A. THE COAST

The Coast Province of Kenya, occupying the southeastern section of the


country, corsists in fact of several smaller
regions. Each has its

distinctive conduct beaches off-shore coastal others. seemingly

terrain which influences its economy and the way local


people
life. Most striking is the coastal strip with its white

daily and

armies of tall palms,


its barrier reefs and Arab and archipelagos.

ruins,
its
is the
arid in

islands hinterland, Much of

Rising from this shoreline and

hilly

and
wooded in some areas, flat

the hinterland is covered with sandy soil


and

acacia,

inhospitable to -ll but reptile life in the dry season but green
after a single rain.
Tucked away in a southwest corner. are

and blooming

the fog-enveloped, terraced Taita Hills.


This great diversity of landscape
has led people to an equivalent diversity of human economic response, and the way
make a living in one settlement can differ dramatically from what

neighbors do just twenty miles away.


their

The people
who inhabit the Coast do not carry much

political

clout

relative
to other ethnic groups in Kenya, and their homeland has one of cluster Kambe, the poorer regions of the country.

remained
a

Sixty percent are Mijikenda,

of nine ethnic groups (Giriama, Duruma, Digo, Chonyi, Rabai, Ribe,


Jibana,
and Kauma) who share a common history and whose intelligible (Spear 1978, Kaplan 1976). languages
groups

are mutually

Other

42

mentioned Swahili

in this report are the Bajuni, Chifundi, and Swahili.

The

term
mother

the Coast whose generally encompasses all people living on

tongue is Swahili and whose religion is Islam.

The Bajuni and Chifundi are


They speak
of

among a number of Swahili sub-groups on the East African coast.

official languages dialects


of Swahili which has become one of the two Kenya.

The Bajuni, hailing from the Lamu archipelago in the northern part
dhows
(Salim

of the
province, are seamen who have for nine centuries plied their up and 1973). down the coast and into the Gulf of Aden to the Arab states The

the wider designation


Chifundi of the southern coast also use

"Shirazi", alluding to their claim to Persian origin.

Coastal people have had links with Arabia since the tenth century when
Arab and Persian immigrants first arrived. and the Coast flourished Trading between the Arab states
century, while European
in

until the nineteenth

influence
began relatively recently with the arrival of the Portuguese the late fifteenth century. The British, however, were the

first

foreigners to attempt to
colonize the Coast, which they achieved at the end
of the nineteenth century.

The

long

surprisingly resulted in a
history of Arab contact has not

high proportion of Coastal adherents to Islam.


Large numbers of Christians
also reside here, including a number of Christian fundamentalist sects. will be seen in following chapters, Christians, Muslims, a As
and
person
she

traditionalists identifies

peacefully
co-exist in this area, and although as a follower of one of
the two world

herself

religions,

well may incorporate traditional practices into her life.

43

This religion

complex
diversity of ecological zone, ethnicity, language, is tied together by the thread of national government laid

and
down

for purposes of political consolidation and economic growth. of infrastructure and

When speaking
areas

government services, particularly in


poorer

like the Coast or western Kenya, development specialists often lament their
inadequacy. government state What in fact is astonishing is the extent to which the central
has penetrated the remotest corners of the country. While the
where
a

is often unable to control or even influence people in areas economy


and social formations are strong, of

the indigenous consideration arm of ends,

nevertheless

take into account the any development program must

long

own
the government and its ability to capture local efforts for its
however benign those ends might be. cadres of The Kenyan state at various The extends its

influence levels. comprises River,

through Each six

civil servants

administrative
Coast Province
Tana

province

is divided into districts.

districts, five of which are included in this study:

Taita/Taveta, Kwale, Kilifi, and Mombasa. each division into

Each district is divided


each location into

into divisions,

locations, and

sub-locations.
These blocks form the pyramid of government administration
and connect, Parliament, however the indirectly, the central organs of the 46 state -

Presidency,

and the technocracies - with the

groups

presented in this study.

Settlement next and Westerners fields pattern; from

practices one area

vary considerably from one ethnic group to to the next. In some places, there are

the
what
with
this

think of as villages: in adjacent

groups of closely clustered houses Other areas do not exhibit

lying

territory.

instead affinal groups live in homesteads comprising a house


or

44

houses
which are built on land the family farms and which are distant from
houses of other affinal groups.
The sub-location is thus the standard way

a locale, rather than village naines where villages may


not

of identifying

exist.

District, division, and location units form the setting of


this study.
Subordinate structures of national ministries operate at
these levels under
the authority example, of the distict commissioner or district officer. For

the Ministry of Culture and Social Services, which works directly


groups, has technical personnel working at location and
She (or he) is

of community

with women's

district levels:
paid by the

the Social Development Assistant, or SDA.


council and is charged with the task

county

development
frequently community

at

location

or

district

levels.

Because

women's
groups

for
as

provide the essential core of labor and monetary resources development (see below), the SDA's effectively function

extension agents to women's groups.

The chiefs

lowest

administrative level of the civil service is occupied


by
and sub-chiefs (sub-locations), who are appointed
of Kenya,
has no

(locations) on

officials many local analog

the government payroll. were

Before the colonization The role of

people

not ruled by chiefs.

chief

in pre-colonial Coastal Kenya and was created by the British solely


the local populace.
Modern chiefs in this area therefore carry
authority but are simply on the lowest rung of the chain of

to control

no traditional

government command.

45

Land

ownership

on
the Coast, as elsewhere in Kenya,

influences

person's economic standing.

to It represents food, security, and a means


a

the
livelihood.
In some areas of the study, land was alienated early under British what the resulted colonial administration, and the Kenya government then
continued
Land registration by government has sometimes
government is

British had begun. in

new social inequalities.


In other areas, the

attempting to redress inequities through resettlement schemes. however, access to land is tantamount to access to the

Everywhere,
means since of
in
and

basic

subsistence. some of own land; the

The
situation of women is especially precarious,

inherit communities included in this research, women can

in others, they cannot.

B.

THE WOMEN'S GROUP MOVEMENT

By which Kenya. essential today. women tasks

1984,

there

were reputed to be 15,000 women's groups'

in
Kenya
of

estimated ten percent of the adult female population included an


In to Thomas order to understand the strength of this movement, as

it is

understand and

the genesis of the women's group where

exists
it

others maintain that in Kenya,

"traditionally
sharing

have worked together in small groups of two, three or four, according to agricultural season... the basis for mutual enterprises of women's groups
can be found

corporation
in a social

and mutual tradition" often nothing groups,

(Thomas 1985,6).

In fact,
this is not true, for such groupings
neighbors and

represent more. their a

sporadic collective labor between kin and As we shall see, the composition of

present-day

women's

structure, and their goals indicate that

such
enterprises

constitute

new kind of social configuration arising in response to


new

political and economic conditions.

46

In among

an
effort to probe for traditional antecedents to women's the Mijikenda and rural Swahili we have found only women's

groups
dance

groups, a category which includes Muslim wedding dancers (Strobel 1979) and
spirit-possession circles (Brantley 1979, Parkin 1972), and rotating credit
associations, single Neither their purpose can also noted by Thomas (1985) and Njonjo (1985). and the latter frequently Both are
men.

organizations,

include

be considered as the basis of membership for women's or their enterprises. On the Coast, emerged result

groups,

organization, and rural

therefore,
from of any
Kenya
have

Mijikenda

Swahili

women's groups have not they are the direct

traditional government

antecedent. policies

Rather,

which

have emphasized community self-help


and

promoted the formation of women's groups to provide the labor and financing
for most of that self-help.

1.

Self-help in Kenya

distinguishing feature of post-colonial Kenya is its active and successful self-help movement. Indeed, among the

by

many standards cohort Kenya of

first
1960's,

African nations that gained independence in the

early

is unique in having mobilized the peasantry for sustained

planning,

building and financing of social service and public works projects in rural
areas. Much research has been conducted on this most interesting

phenomenon 1979,

which in Kenya is known as harambee (Barkan 1982, Barkan et al.

Holmquist 1979, Holmquist 1982, Holmquist 1984, Gachuki 1982, Mbithi

and Rasmusson 1977, Ng'ethe 1979, Thomas 1981, and Wallis 1982).

47

The arising

basis from

for self-help was originally political and

not

economic,
of
that

President Kenyatta's early efforts to forge a structure

rule in the face of regional, ideological, and personality conflicts threatened 1979). providing foundations That the that the self-help percent By

to immobilize Kenya after Independence (Holmquist 1984, Ng'ethe


the mid-1960's, Kenyatta self-help was well-established, but not laying only
the

President

with political legitimacy

for a self-help movement that endures today (Holmquist for self-help was not economic is evidenced by of Kenya's projects capital development was budget the

1984).
fact
to

reason

percentage development in 1979

devoted so

always small and remains That the movement's

- one
are

(Barkan et al.

1979).

fruits

indisputably economic is seen in the fact that these small projects account
for roughly 30% of all rural capital formation, and, between 1967 and 1973,

11.4%

of

all national development expenditures (Gachuki

1982,

Holmquist

1982).

Because

women's and

groups take from the self-help movement their financing income-gnneration aetivities,

model
it is

for structuring worthwhile projects. their Based own on

to summarize the chief characteristics of self-help development Such projects are usually built by community members, either on or with assistance from the state or other outside resources. from all the water

local initiative, projects utilize money and/or labor

residents completed supplies, time and

in a project area, virtually all of whom will benefit from service. Projects include schools, health centers,

roads and cattle dips. 2 People in the catchment area

contribute

labor to these projects, which primarily require-the construction


The people themselves bear about 90% of the initial costs,

of facilities.

48

and the assumes

state, NGO's, and other outsiders contribute the rest. subsequent recurrent costs and may provide aid in

The

state

the

form
of

grants from the Department of Social Development of the Ministry of Culture


and Social Services (Holmquist 1979, 1984). Virtually all local residents

contribute funds for the project, and fund raising efforts often reach more
affluent or native sons or daughters living in Nairobi
other urban areas.

The division and location SDA's mentioned above assist local groups to make
linkages Barkan with et, al. the state for the technical help 23) state that "the required for projects.
self-help

(1979,

contributions

development highly

projects

have made to material growth in Kenya is real,


but
provision
than

skewed in so far as the em~hasls to date has been on the services for
the members of rural communities,

of social

rather

increasing the things they produce." Projects do not generally deviate from
the narrow because because range of social services mentioned above. This is partly

people these to

living in similar communities have similar needs and


also
are the the
kinds of projects that have historically receive for been

acceptable These

government and therefore likely


to

funding.
innovation
among and

factors

greatly limit the potential of communities

(Holmquist

1982).

This then is self-help, the model promoted

taken up by Coastal women's groups in their efforts to better their lot.

2.

The Women's Group Programme and Women's Groups

Coinciding with
the harambee movement and reflecting its spirit early interest
in a women's self-help program. The Kenyan

was

government

expressed its support as early as 1966, well before the start of the United
Nations Women's Decade (1975-1985). A Women's Group Programme began in

49

1971,
and a Women's Bureau was established in 1975, International Year. These innovations a occurred in part as
carry-over of

Women's
colonial

community

development

and home economics programs for women

but
equally

from the worldwide attention newly focused on women's roles in development.

Situated
in the Ministry of Culture and Social Services, the Bureau program, extension is responsible channeling for coordinating the nationwide groups women's and

Women's
group

resources
to rural and urban

providing

and technical services (Feldman 1983, Thomas 1985, Njonjo 1985).


Assistants
has

This it does
through division and location Social Development (SDA's). no field

SDA's are not direct employees of the Women's Bureau (which staff of i.ts own), although 90% of them are women (Barkan

1982).

Rather
they are extension workers for the Department of Social Development
in the groups, same ministry and are responsible for assisting not only women's

but all self-help groups.


There are in Kenya no reliable censuses

either
of women's groups or community self-help groups, so it is difficult
to estimate the number of groups each SDA assists. The actual number of

groups varies from place to place and depens of whether a location has its
own SDA. women's It groups given grants (for and with to is safe
assume, however, that given the proliferation and given
the lack of training provided to SDA's, and of
the

assistance Development resources officers), help groups

is minimal.
SDA's channel Women's to groups,
link groups with

Bureau government husbandry

Social

technical
extension
to

example,

agriculture
or

animal

register groups with the state.


They are not equipped project development, feasibility studies,

marketing,

business management, or accounting.

50

Women's groups must register with the Department of Social Development


to be eligible for the grants the department dispenses. The groups

orginate literacy

in many ways, frequently as an outgrowth of adult classes.

education
or
executive

required to elect officers and an Groups are

or management committee in order to register with the state.


A chairwoman,
secretary, and treasurer are the minimum requirements, but vice-chairwomen,
vice-secretaries,
and others are often also chosen. a small entrance fee to new members
as well Groups usually charge
as regular dues or

subscriptions.

are usually paid either weekly or monthly.


Subscriptions

Groups are generally multi-purpose. for example,

While their initial activity may,

be a revolving credit association, subsequent activities


can

include both the usual range of harambee projects - constru..tion of nursery


schools, clinics, water supplies - and activities spccifically designed to
As indicated in Chapter 2, other researchers have found

generate
income. the latter the women individual raising

to be economically unsuccessful. seek funds not

To capitalize group projects, from NGO's and fund

only from the state but also

contributors.

The latter are most often reached through

events such as harambees.

Chapter 6 provides detailed data on the

origins, operations, and finances of w,nen's groups.

C. TOTOTO HOME INDUSTRIES

Tototo the Coast Tototo

Home Industries is one of the NGO's to which women's groups on


turn in search of capital. small Like the state for women's and other NGO's,

provides

grants
and loans

income-generation

projects;
unlike the state and most NGO's, Tototo. trains group members in

51

project training training

development to

and business management.

Evaluation has and

found

this

be especially effective in group development

leadership

(N.Clark 1981).
It has by no means been uniformly or even widely
in the promotion of profitable enterprise; learned but as Tototo staff
incomes,

successful have slowly and as groups members

what knowledge women need to increase their

they have learned how to impart this knowledge, many of the women's
are steadily being transformed into businesses and individual
in

beginning to benefit.

Much of
this learning has been revealed

the course of the research reported here.

1.

History

Tototo Home Industries is a regional agency deeply rooted in the Coast


Province. National Industries Operating Christian program. from Mombasa, Tototo was established in 1963 by Council of Kenya (NCCK) as part
of its the

Cottage

Tototo is a non-profit, voluntary agency seeking


to
It creates

help low-income

coastal women raise their standard of living.

employment and income-generation opportunities through four programs:

a two-year course that trains 40 female school leavers and working women in sewing, tailoring, and tie-dye;

20

a tie-dye and tailoring workshop that employs 30 women to make high-quality products which are sold wholesale and retail in Kenya and abroad;
marketing of coastal handicrafts through Tototo's retail shop in Mombasa to
the local tourist trade and wholesale to other retail outlets in Kenya. These products - mats, baskets,
jewelry, pottery are made and sold to Tototo by individual
women as well as women's groups;
a rural development program that extends training and credit to Lamu Province excluding women's groups throughout Coast District.

52

This rural development program is Tototo's most recent addition to its


strategies Education women's designed already trained to overcome what women's poverty. In 1977, Tototo and World
46

started groups and

has become a 10-year 1500

collaboration The two

reaching

approximately

women.

organizations

a training program for six of the women's groups with whom Tototo
worked in handicraft production. to For two years, Tototo staff were
training
education.

train group leaders in group dynamics, psycho-social and problem solving using the methods of nonformal

exercises,

The program was intended to enable women to go beyond handicraft production


and to establish that small-scale initially enterprises. Of the six are groups still in three
operating.
of
a

districts

received training, five

Income-generating rental bakery, resources Water help to phase property, and

activities included poultry production, construction day care centers, firewood and charcoal production,

farming.

Tototo assisted some groups in identifying

local

for technical assistance, and the Ministries of Social Services,


Agriculture, and Health have continued to groups. provide such
a new

Resources, Tototo

In 1982, World Education and Tototo began

of the project under which the program was extended eventually to 40


in five districts - Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita/Taveta and

new groups Tana River.

2.

Structure

Tototo NCCK.

is a project of Jisaidie Cottage Industries, a division of the

It is governed by a board of business people and social development


in Mombasa. The rural development staff include Tototo's

professionals director;

a field supervisor who is a social worker seconded by the NCCK;

53

four

assistant

field supervisors, three of whom are former women's an accountant who manages the

group credit

members; program;

two accounts specialists; and several support staff.

The the Ford PACT and training were fully of NGO's field

rural

development program is currently supported by grants

from

Foundation and Lutheran World Relief. the

World Education, funded by


Tototo with

International Foundation, continues to provide

and technical assistance.

The first two years of the pilot phase


A variety
funds for
ATAC,

funded by the Agency for International Development. provide Tototo These or its groups with other training or include CEDPA, Trickle Up,

activities.

Technoserve,

MATCH, FAO,
the Pathfinder Fund, and the Kenya Family Planning Association.

3.

Program

Until which Social

1986,
ten new groups entered the program each

year.

Groups,
and
to

average 30 members, were selected with the help of local chiefs Development Officers; only a few of the many requesting

participate could be accommodated. to Tototo's arrival,

All of the groups had been formed prior


years.

some having been in existence for nearly ten

Groups chose a coordinator to receive training.

Initially, Tototo paid the

coordinator a small monthly stipend of Ksh.300 ($20), but this practice was
discontinued for convening when it proved unsuccessful. regular The coordinator is responsible
for attending

group meetings and, until recently,

Tototo's semi-annual training workshops. lead group discussion,

Coordinators have been trained to


nonformal
generation

solve group problems through the use of the groups in planning income

education
methods,

assist

activities, and set up group accounting procedures.

54

This
practice has now been altered. groups groups staff

It was decided not to accept new


participating
Tototo
and

to into the program after 1985 but


work with already intensively
until a majority show profitable themselves

businesses.

have
recentiy had a series of refresher

workshops

on-the-job and a

training in nonformal education and small business


management,
of small financial incentives has been built order to into Tototo's
of group

system in

management success.

motivate staff and increase the


rate

4.

Outcomes

In

1977,
neither Tototo nor its technical assistance partner, were experts focus in small business. The program nine began

World
an
the

Education, almost emphasis assistance

with

exclusive

on nonformal education;

years

later,

has shifted to the transmission of business skills and


financial
to women's groups.
Tototo now has ten groups that consistently

and
show a
profit, that pay regular, if small, dividends to their members, that have stages group management systems. in various
The remaining groups are

of accumulating capital to
finance their projects or have operating
that may pay for themselves but do not in general provide

businesses

regular income to their members.

These during a

small slow

successes
have been achieved at considerable and painful learning process on the part of

cost the

and
two

responsible

agencies.
Although not without its share of problems,

Tototo

is arguably the best grass-roots development agency in Kenya.

The majority

of Kenya's 15,000 women's groups do not receive regular extension services,

55

do not

have

access

to loans, and do not have

frequent

assistance

with

accounting and management.


The demand for help to groups clearly outstrips
the supply
available from the government and NGO's. It is not surprising,

then, that previous researchers have reached rather pessimistic conclusions


about the viability of collective income generation projects. data presented women's groups in the The detailed
into why

following two chapters provide insights

have such difficulty succeeding and suggest needed


policy
The reasons underlying group failure are not but rather indicate a substratum of those

and program

changes. touted

conventionally

socio-economic

complexity of which development planners are generally ignorant.

NOTES TO CHAPTER 4
1. Njonjo (1985, 26) uses this figure of 15,000 groups. Mwagiru (1985, 62)
gives the number of 11,365 groups in 1982. Thomas, citing Ministry of
Housing and Social Service figures, puts it at 5,000. Feldman (1983),
using Women's Bureau 1978 figures, indicated a total of 8,000 groups
with a membership of more than 300,000 which "represented just over 11%
of all African women above the age of 20." We use Njonjo's figure
because
it is based on 1984 sample survey data, making it the most
recent and reliable of the various estimates, and because our experience leads us to believe it is an accurate reflection of the strength of the I, 1984, according to Ministry figures, Coastal women's movement. This
groups numbered 815. In 1985, the figure had increased to 958. the alacrity with which women
rapid growth is an indication not only of respond to the promise of group activities but also of the extent to
which the state is promoting the women's group program.
2. Frank Holmquist (1984) and Joel Barkan (1982) suggest that women's
income generation activities and revolving credit associations are
subsets of the self-help project category. Our view is that
while
women's group projects share many characteristics of general self-help
projects, they are on the Coast, at any rate, intrinsically different by
virtue of being largely gender-specific and having arisen in response to
a different set of state concerns and policies.
We see women's group
projects as similar to and sometimes overlapping but not synonymous with
community self-help projects.

56

coordinators foster
3. Tototo's
experience has been that stipends paid to to group interests.
that is not conducive an attitude among coordinators and to leave
Paid coordinators
tended to view their position as a job Coordinators are
now
when the stipend was
no longer forthcoming. enough profit
volunteers, except in the several cases where groups make to pay their coordinators themselves.

57

CHAPTER 5
TE WOMEN'S GROUPS:
MEMBERS, NON-MEMBERS, AND PROJECT FINANCES

The

purpose of this chapter is twofold.

First, we provide a profile

of the women who join Tototo's groups and compare them to women who are not
members. economic across Both demographic characteristics and indicators of household
variation
in

activity groups.

are presented along with a discussion of the Group leaders are compared to the general

membership

order to identify variables that are associated with leadership.

Secondly, using

we

explore the economic performance of contained in their cashbooks. These

group

enterprises
insights

information

provide

into the and the incur.

process of capitalization, seasonal changes in business activity,


kinds of non-business or social investment expenses that groups

Two the 1983

kinds of data inform our discussion in this chapter: sample survey of 13 groups and the cashbooks from

results 36

of

group

projects covering a six to nine-month period. membership, chapter leadership

In all areas of discussion

and economic performance of group projects - this


presented in

serves

as an introduction to the four case studies

Chapter 6.

38

A.

GROUP MEMBERS

Group

members

are,

for

the most part, women of all

ages

who

are

as farmers. married, have 5-6 children, are residentially stable, and work
Muslim, the nine

Christian, and traditional religions are represented as are all of


Mijikenda ethnic groups and others. Table 5.1 gives basic

descriptive statistics for members and non-members.

The characteristics of

members are discussed first, followed by a comparison with non-members.

1.

Age

Members shows cannot their likely between

have

a mean age of 36.7, and their overall age

distribution
figures
not know
more
evenly

a predominance of women over the age of 40. be age. to

However, these

taken as exact given that 15% of the respondents did

Working under the assumption that the younger women were know their exact age, we distributed the "don't knows"

the last two age categories.- A concentration of older women among


older women tend to be less literate
the newly independent

the members has several implications: because Kenyan to all. they were

beyond the schooling age when

government began an active push to make primary education available


They are therefore less able to develop the bookkeeping skills

required by project management.

Since many are beyond child-bearing years,


However, as is the case for women

they have less need for family planning. in rural measure (Reynolds many years

cultures of many Third World nations, with age they have earned a
of respect 1978). and independence they did not have as young women
the
begun

They have reached a stage in their life-cycle where

of bearing children and providing f,.r the household have

59

to pay

off.

Some of their work burden can be delegated to older

children

and younger wives (in the case of polygynous households) as they attain the
power only due an elder. Their membership, therefore, lends the group
a

degree of legitimacy it might not have otherwise.

2. Marital Status

Virtually all women in Kenya marry, with the exception of the severely

3 handicapped or the very young. As indicated in Table 1, the marital status

of group widows, 21.5% of

members have

shows a strong majority of married women.

The rest husbands. to

are
The
the

never been married or are currently between who are currently without husbands

members

is close

percentage although

reporting
that the head of theiL household is female this figure is almost twice that
for Coast

(23.9%),
Thim

Province.

difference may result from varying ways of defining the household head, but
it also suggests that that Tototo groups attract a number to their of
female headed
in the
household
live in

households population. composition households

is disproportionate

representation that women

However, is varied headed

we feel it is important to mention and can be complex; male many single

by

other

relatives
(brothers,

fathers,
that

brothers-in-law). theirs single

This
helps explain why of the 15.8% who reported

is the most important source of household income, only a few


were
women. and picture The difficulties of capturing the complexity of relationships make it impossible for us to household present an of

structures accurate female

of the extent to which group membership is comprised

household heads who, without grown children to support them, suffer

the hardships common to that position.

60

TABLE 5.1

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS

CharacterLtics Mean Age Age


20
< 20-29 30-39 40+ Marital Status
Married Divorced Widowed Never Married % Female Headed Households % Polygynous Households Average # of Children
Religion

Group Members 36.7 3.7


22.9 34.4 39.0

NonMembers 32 8.3
39.5 26.6 26.6

Coast
Province
N/A
54.2"
13.9
9.9
19.3

78.4 6.7 9.1 5.7 23.9 29.0 5.3

73.0 8.3 6.4 7.3 17.4 23.9 3.8

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
12.2"
32.6""
N/A

Christian Muslim Traditional None


% Literate

45.3 40.5 9.1 5.1


39.7

34.3 46.3 11.1


8.3
43.1

38.0**
41.0
20.0

N/A

% Living in Village < 10 years

20.4

37.3

N/A

Average Farm Size (acres) N=

4.8 297

4.1 109

3.7"

Integrated Rural Surveys, 1976-1979


Kenya Fertility Survey, 1980

61

Another factor complicating our ability to draw a clear picture of the


relationship third higher of members to their households is pclygyny, which is about for the Coast than for other provinces (Raynolds 1978). a As

indicated in Table 5.1, 29% of members are in pol .ynois marrivgas. the frequency concentrations predominantly Kitere
=

Thouigh higher are

varies of Muslim

from

one

locale

to

t]'e

next, in areas

with that

polygynous or
=

househo~id:

found

strongly traditional (i.e., Vigurungani

= 50%, to In all these


who

52%, Kayafungo

47%, Bomani = 45.9%), it would %ie mistake a exclusively. 20% of of

associate

polygyny with Islam and traditional practice 9% of members are part

this sample, Christian marriages may be a high

are polygynous Christians, and of polygynous marriages.

members are

Some

between a Christian woman and a traditionalist husband

more likely to take more than one wife. degree of related women who make up the

Although there tends to be


population of members,

relatively as possible

few co-wives belong to the same group. explanations: maintain

Two factors are offered

co-wives do not necessarily live together since


co-wives and their families in different

men frequently residences,

and second, given a household's limited access to cash, it may

be too difficult for two women dependent on the same man to meet obligatory
group subscription fees.

Overall,

divorce

is not common among Kenyan rural

women

of

Coast

Province and as Table 5.1 shows, divorced women comprise only 6.7% of group
members. In four sub-locations surveyed, there were no divorcees among

members interviewed. especially tend to

The economic hardship of having to repay bridewealth,

among the Mijikenda, together with general financial insecurity


Those who do divorce tend to Muslim remarry.
and the

keep the divorce rate low. of those of women

Interestingly, highest

who do divorce, 70% are

concentrations

divorced women are found

in two

communities

dominated by Muslims.

62

3.

Religion

The coast

third

variable

treated in Table 5.1 is that of

religion.

The
groups

of Kenya is interesting not only for the diversity of ethnic for the peaceful co-existence of Islam and Christianity

but also

at

all

levels divided

of

society.

As indicated in Table 5.1, members are almost

evenly

between the two religions, with a minority claiming adherence to a

beliefs and practices. Although Muslims tend to be

traditional

concentrated close to the coast, few areas can be identified as exclusively


Muslim places. and, Of in fact, adherents of both world religions are found in most
the 13 Tototo groups surveyed, three are all Muslim and only

one is nearly all Christian (90%) with the remaining 10% claiming adherence
to traditional equally have a strong simple beliefs. Of the remaining nine groups, three demonstrate
six and

representations of both Muslims and Christians, while majority of Christians and minorities of Muslims

traditionalists.

The

significance of religion with respect to women's participation in

income generation projects is less than might be expected, because Islam on


the coast world. does not restrict women as severely as it does elsewhere in the

Purdah, for example, is not enforced, which leaves the entire range

of economic activity open to women's participation and means that Christian


groups de not necessarily have an advantage over Muslim groups. Some
of
may

observers mobility

contend and

that Muslim women do not experience the same degree with strangers as Christians, which in turn

contact

inhibit their abilities to carry out the negotiating and marketing required
by group enterprises. On the contrary, our anthropological data suggest a

63

a relatively Perhaps property most

privileged

position of Muslim women

vis-a-vis

Christians.
and inherit
Muslims,

important is the fact the Muslim women can own is not always true of Christian women.

which

Among

bridewealth the case fact, of

payments are lower, as is the pressure to repay bridewealth in


divorce. This makes divorce a more realistic option and, women. in In as a

it is practiced with much greater frequency by Muslim

addition, money

there is a strong tendency among Muslims to view bridewealth to set up a household for the new couple rather than as to the wife's father. Therefore, independence Muslim from

intended

contractual frequently husbands women's

payment seem to

women
their

enjoy

a greater degree of

than do Christians.

But these differences, while they may affect

use of project dividends, do not in themselves have a significant

impact on project performance.

A final point about religion which is developed more fully in the case
studies is that Islam, as well as fundamentalist Christianity, serves as an
escape route from some of the heavy financial burdens imposed by

traditional practices, including the purchase and consumption of palm wine.


Previous paying research (Parkin 1972) has showr that converts to Islam avoid

traditional ceremonial costs associated with weddings and funerals,

thus paving the way for a process of accumulation not normally accommodated
by the ethos redistributional ethos of the peasant economy. The effect of this

upon group members and their income generation projects is discussed

in Chapter 6.

64

4.

Literacy

Table

5.1

indicates

that

39.7%

of

group members

are

literate.

However, in nearly one quarter of the sub-locations surveyed, more than 75%
of members problems education, among were for illiterate. A high degree of illiteracy poses obvious
to

enterprise management, but as a variable strongly linked

literacy also affects leadership.

Although illiteracy is high


write

members, of those who are literate, a majority (66%) read and

more than. one language.

Among members, Christians are more often literate

than Muslims, which can be attributed to the latter's history of resistance


to state-supported members sample, secular education. Sixty-five percent of literate
entire
have

are Christian and only 32.5% are Muslim as compared to the of which 45% are Christian and 41% Muslim. While Christians

had a longer involvement with the schools due to the European missionaries'
role in establishing an educational system in colonial Kenya, Muslims have

tended to stress the importance of literacy in Arabic rather than in

Swahili or English.

5.

Residence

The

last variable to be treated in Table 5.1 indicates that this is a


stable population. On average, members have lived in their

residentially

present communities for 25 years. for 10 years or less. This

Only 20% have lived in the area surveyed


fact is related to rates of local
the
and
of

intermarriage. area within marital the

These 20% are most likely women who have married into last 10 years and thus this figure is related to age not to migration. The range of variation in length

status,

65

residence is illustrated by two cases: group group

one is an island community where no

member interviewed has lived for less than fifteen years, while in a
located along the main coastal highway 20 kilometers north of

Mombasa,

more than 44% of the members are recent arrivals (within the last

10 years).

6.

Economic Profile

The coast

major

economic activity of group members is farming.

Along

the
of
the

itself,

land ownership and access is complicated by the history which, until recently, left a ten-mile strip under

Arab presence official the case, indicated

control many

of the Sultans of Zanzibar. titles

Although this is no

longer
As
that

to land in this strip are still in question.

in Table 5.2, 97% of group members cultivate plots of land

total an average of 4.8 acres in size. it, however.

Not all who have access to land own

Women traditionally have access to land through men - their

husbands, in most cases, though women may also borrow fields owned by their
fathers through from the studies.
and other natal kin. The practice of gaining access to land

male kin makes it difficult to discern patterns of land survey data.

ownership
case

This topic is treated in more detail in the

In most cases, women are responsible for raising food crops, the major
one being they grow tomatoes, reported maize used to make ugali, the dietary staple dish. a variety of vegetables to be eaten with ugali. spinach, onions, cow peas, and potatoes. In addition, These include often

The crops most

by women for sale are cashews, sugar cane, coconut, cotton, rice,

66

tobacco, important is the

and

tropical fruits.

Proceeds from sale of these crops

are

an
farm

source of household income (44% report that money from the important source of household income), although

most

their

cultivation and the income from them are not the exclusive domain of women.

While women are generally subsistence farmers, it is important to note


the variable actual nature of the sexual division of labor across locations. The

tasks performed by men and women depend partly on the resources and
available locally. For example, it appears that the degree
with

opportunities to which

a gender-specific assignment of tasks is observed can vary of wege labor. For one group located in the

availability

maize-producing

Taita Hills, 72.5% of members report that their farm is the major source of
household income, to and that their own income constitutes a minimal
by an

contribution island judge

the household.

The other extreme is demonstrated There, men's

group for whom land is scarce and strewn with coral. their income as only slightly less important than

women
fishing

revenues,

and farm income is rarely cited as important. little distinction is made between

Where farm income


and wife's

is important, employment. tasks about labor for which

husband's

However, in those areas where women perform

non-agricultural
much clearer own

cash income on a regular basis, respondents were

proportions of household income were the result of tilir

and which were credited to their husband. on the

Thus while questions were of labor, the


time
of

included

survey to delineate the sexual division leads us to conclude that locally

variability budget

uncovered would

specific this aspect

studies

be required to adequately capture

gender relations.

These were beyond our financial and temporal limits.

67

Other handicraft

sources

of

income

for

rural women

include

casut..

labor,

production, and remittances.

Detail on income earned from such

seasonal activities as collecting cowrie shells, producing thatched roofing


material, and processing food are provided later in this chapter and in the
case studies. activity vary The extent and nature of this type of from one area to another part-time on economic
location,

greatly

depending

access to markets, and availability of raw materials.

It is important to note that very few women in our sample have outside

employment. 4 Of the 16% who report outside employment, two-thirds sell

their

services selling

as

casual

farm laborers.

The

remaining

one-third

are
the

occupied

wood, fish, or charcoal.

A few members are paid by

state to teach nursery school or adult education classes. of women employment holding jobs outside the household points

The small number


to the lack of

opportunities,

the inability of women to gain access to

those

that do exist, and perhaps more important, to the demand on women's time of
their own agricultural, household, and reproductive responsibilities.

After

agriculture, women's major source of income is remittances sent


As shown in Table 5.2, these relatives are not always

by relatives. husbands. their

While only one-quarter of group members interviewed report that


are away during most of the year, nearly 60% report
area

husbands

receiving

remittances.

Coast Province caunot be characterized as an

of male out-migration where women are left to maintain subsistence farms as


occurs in Eastern, Central, Nyanza, and Western Provinces (Reynolds IJ78).
largest rural city areas, in Kenya, Mombasa draws male laborers but many return home on the from the
Those

The second surrounding

weekends.

68

living although

near the coast can and do find wage labor in the tourist

industry,
It is

they may compete with up-country migrants for these jobs.

the obligation of employed sons to help support their parents and unmarried
siblings, which explains the high percentage of respondents receiving

remittances in a context of relatively low out-migration of husbands.

B.

GROUP MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS

1.

Age

The the age

most important difference between members and non-members lies in


composition surveyed of the sample. In Table 5.1, it is clear that group the
of

non-members

constitute,

on the whole, a much younger

women than members, with nearly 47% of the sample less than 30 years of age
and a mean age of 32. that unmarried and This difference can be partly attributed to the fact
newly married women tend not to join women's groups.

Unmarried women and girls may not have access to the resources necessary to
meet entry acquire to join. provides fees and monthly contributions, and new wives often have yet to
permission
members

the negotiating power needed to secure their husband's The young age of this group relative to women's

group

the strongest explanation for the other differences found between


As one women, higher

the two in marital status, average number of children and literacy. would fewer expect of younger women, there are fewer widows, more single female heads of household, fewer children per woman, and

literacy rates. the difference

The age composition of the non-member sample also explains


in residential mobility. Because non-members are younger,

we can assume that a large portion are new wives that have married into the

69

area within greater

the

last of

ten years.

Interestingly,

non-members

exhibit fact

frequency

divorce, and this may be related to the

that

there are more Muslims among them.

TABLE 5.2
SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS

Characteristics % who cultivate % who own the land they cultivate Farm size (average acres) % who sell crops % employed

Members 97.0 77.4 4.8 63.0 16.8

Non-Members
90.0
68.8
4.1
56.9
18.3

% receiving remittances % husbands away most of year


% whose husbands would object to
their employment % craft producers N

57.6 27.0
11.8 52.9 297

64.2
23.0

23.9
32.1
109

70

2.

Economic Profile

Turning profile of

to

the

realm that

of economic activity, Table is very similar to

5.2 of

provides

non-members they

that

members.
they

Essentially, cultivate. mainstay cultivate points can be of

are farmers, over two-thirds of whom own the land looking at those variables related to Coast Province, it is clear that fewer This the

However, rural

economic

non-members
difference

land, own land, and sell agricultural surplus.

to the economic disadvantage of non-members relative to members and


explained by their age and corresponding position in the process of
over of a lifetime. These data are also consistent with the

accumulation perceptions

non-members, half of whom report that members are

"better

off" than they. off."

In most cases, older women could be expected to be "better

While difference is not. As

the

difference

in employment

rates

is small

(1.5%),

the

in husbands' attitudes towards their wives' outside noted in Table 5.2, husbands of non-members would

employment
object to

their wives' outside employment at twice the rate as husbands of This may women likely and be

members.
on

indicative of the influence that group membership has had their ability to negotiate with their husbands. But

a more
to

explanation

can be drawn from the assumption that members tend

come from than half

more open, development-oriented households. of group members also belong to other

In fact, while more


organizations, an

overwhelming that most (see Table secure that

83.5% of non-members have not joined any organization. 5 Given


(81.5%) need their husbands' permission to join a group
to
to

women

5.3), it is safe to assume that some non-members are unable permission. Those same husbands would presumably object

their wives' employment outside the household.

71

The

last substantial difference in sources of income for members is in the area of handicraft production. That members

and

non-members in this a direct actively through

engage

activity at a much higher rate (52.9%) than non-members (32.1%) is


result promutes its of Tototo's involvement with the women's groups. the production of handicrafts (which it then Tototo
markets
way to

retail store in Mombasa) among members as an initial capital to finance larger income generation projects. of communities, by Tototo builds on already

accumulate in he

However,
existent
quality

majority

handicraft control. in this In only and no

production

introducing new products, designs, and

As a result, in most locations surveyed, members are more active


area than non-members though the latter report some involvement.

two places is there a strong contingent of member non-member producers. groups, and

craft-producers

A closer look at this economic activity, its the .income it provides is presented in

role in women's Chapter 6.

C.

GROUP MEMBERSHIP

From comparison itself.

a general profile of the members of rural women's groups and the


to The by non-members preceding surveyed, we shift now an to group of membership
the program

chapter

provided

overview

implemented

Tototo Home Industries and of the groups involved - their


In this section, we will
and

size, range of activities and years of operation. look more

specificially at the impact of group membership in social

economic terms.

The data presented here will again serve as a backdrop for

the more detailed information contained in the case studies.

72

Each unique

of

the

46 groups involved in the Tototo program

has or as

its

own

origins

- some started as adult education classes

rotating

credit associations, while others were promulgated by well-intentioned (and


often male) community development agents. Because women's groups are

actively short

promoted by the government: support for their formation is not in


The Ministry of Social Services has even established
a

supply.

organizational group to

guidelines for women's groups which, if followed, enable with the Ministry and become eligible for

register

government

grants to fund their activities.

1.

Group Composition

Once

formed,

new

members

are

recruited

from

among

friends

and

relatives in a natural, if haphazard, way, which produces a membership that


varies widely in economic standing and education. degree of kinship in almost all groups surveyed. Table 5.3 shows the high
Groups do attract the

poorest of the poor, but not exclusively.

Membership tends not to be drawn

from minority migrant groups or the economically privileged strata of small


traders congregated along the coastal road. The only exception to this

recruitment ethnic

pattern is Majengo where members are drawn from nine different


That the same is true for non-members there indicates that
moved

groups.

it is a community of migrants, as does the fact that 44% of members to that community within the last ten years.

73

2.

Reasons for Joining

As indicated in Table 5.3, women join groups for a variety of reasons,


the most include members, members reason leaving in the during important cash and cite for being economic gain. The economic benefits they established by 19.2% cite
the
of

income, Tototo's social joining.

savings and credit mechanisms marketing services.

However, 28.9% and as

and educational gains respectively

their

major
for
women

The group does provide an occasion and a reason

the house or the fields for an afternoon to meet with other community, the early many of whom are friends and years when Tototo maintains relatives. an active

Particularly
involvement,
In fact,

education many groups Later in

and

training are a vital part of the group's agenda. out of adult education classes development, attention and however, time are when which its still

grew a

continue.
are
the

group's members'

enterprises to running

established, business. to the benefit

devoted

This may account for the discrepancy between members' responses


pertaining to the reason they join and the perceived
on

questions of

the group.

Responses to the latter focus almost

entirely

economic gain to the virtual exclusion of social and educational benefits.

3.

Membership in Other Organizations

Regardless

of

why they join or wny they stay, that members are

more

development-oriented is evidenced support to other both

or committed to a notion of progress than non-members


by their involvement in other organizations and by Overall, 58.6% of group members also the

offered by husbands.

belong

organizations, the most common of which are the church, KANU (the

74

Kenya African National Union, Kenya's single political party) and Maendeleo
ya Wanawake, a national-level, government-supported women's organization.

It is interesting to note here that apLert from KANU, there are no parallel
structures community promoting supported development. by the state for men to take an active role in

Women clearly have been targeted by state

policy

women's groups to bear the responsibility of their

communities'

social welfare.

4. Husband's Support Group

E'-nhers' women's groups.

husbands, on the whole, support their wives' involvement

in

Table 5.3 shows that among women with husbands, 85% of the
Of the remaining 15%, at least one-quarter
reservations about its profitability.
(most
many
have

latter fully support the group. do suppcrt Husbands' of the members the group but have

support is manifested in contributions of labor and money have from an entry fee and mandatory their husbands). contributions wimen that who

groups get

Again, among those

husbands, 76.8% report that their husbands contribute money or labor to the
group. between outside Survey directed the wife's know the ren's While these data offer very strong evidence for lack of conflict

husband and wife with respect to women's involvement in activities


the home, a word of caution about the data must be interjected.
were

questions about male attitudes and contributions to the group to female respondents and, therefore, the data actually responses to questions about her husband.

reflect
to

It is difficult

extent to which these responses are an accurate representation of


or reflect what women think they should say about their

feelings

husbands.

However, our anthropological data confirm wives' perceptions of

husbands' support.

TABLE SELECTED ASPECTS OF

5.3
GROUP MEMBERSHIP

Group

0 4 .
00

Characteristics

% with relatives in group

70.8

72.0

16.5

50.0

58.8

55.0

96.6

70.0

78.9

50.0

79.2

33.3

50.0

65.7

reason for joining economic gain social activity education non-responses % members belonging to ocher organi zations

70.8 12.5 12.5 4.2 75.0

28.0 44.C 24.. 4.0 48.0

35.3 23.5 29.4 11.8 47.1

75.0 18.8 6.2 0.0 56.3

52.9 29.4 5.9 11.8 52.9

25.0 52.5 12.5 10.0 75.0

53.5 13.8 24.1 3.4 69.0

55.0 30.0 10.0 5.0 45.0

36.8 31.6 10.5 21.1 36.8

30.i, 30.0 25.0 15.0 55.0

33.3 33.3 25.0 8.4 66.7

58.3 16.7 25.0 0.0 33.0

44.1 20.5 32.4 2.9 64.7

44.4 28.9 19.2 7.4 56.8

% requiring permission of husbands to jo..

77.3

87.0

100.0

71.4

62.5

88.5

90.9

86.7

75.0

82.4

88.2

75.0

70.8

ai.5

% husbands who fully support group

63.6

82.6

69.3

85.6

87.6

80.8

95.4

93.3

81.4

100.0

88.2

87.5

91.6

85.1

% husbands who contribute labor or morey

86.4

78.3

76.9

71.4

68.8

80.8

95.5

73.3

68.8

82.4

82.4

25.0

70.8

76.8

% members reporting children as hin drance to group activities

16.7

16.0

23.5

25.0

11.8

2.5

3.4

0.0

0.0

15.0

4.2

0.0

2.9

8.4

% members reporting group activity interfering with. other obligations

12.5

8.0

1.8

6.3

5.9

2.5

6.9

5.0

0.0

10.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

5.1

76

5.

Conflict with Household Responsibilities

Just recent

as these findings are somewhat surprising given the abundance of


on gender that have dispelled notions of complementarity

studies

between members of the same household (Whitehead 1981, Guyer 1980, Haugerud 1982, clear Oppong 1978), Table 5.3 contains other unexpected results. It is

that members themselves see little conflict between group membership Only 8.4% report that children are a However, a substantially their major located

and other household responsibilities.

hindrance, to their participation with the group. larger obstacle close as the claim proportion to of

women, 26.9%, claim that children are

outside employment, indicating that group

projects,

to home and demanding only a part-time commitment, are not perceived same that kind group of burden. Only a small percentage of own members (5.1%)

activities interfere with their

responsibilities. that in

Yet, if asked this question in reverse, women would probably respond their household responsibilities do interfere with their participation

the group. rains when

Several groups experience a drop in attendance during the long the requirements for field labor are at a peak. It has also

been observed

that group members look forward to that one afternoon a week

spent at the meeting or taking one's turn in'resting labor in the enterprise as a welcome income scale break from the arduous tasks of cultivation. 6 Most of the

generation

projects operated by the groups are on a small

enough

that inputs of members' labor can be orzanized on a rotational basis at most a weekly obligation from each woman. employment, to the dearth of opportunities for labor, it is safe are to say Given the low rate women, that and the the major with

requiring of outside stigma

attached

casual of group

opportunity

costs

membership

those

associated

77

agricultural production for the household. to provoke objections

These apparently are not enough


the

from husbands but may constitute conflicts for

members themselves as suggested by seasonal poor attendance.

D.

LEADERS

Because leadership is frequently cited as a factor critical to project


success (Njonjo 1985, Thomas 1985), it is examined here in an effort to

cull from. the survey data indications of patterns in the characteristics of


leaders, their socio-economic standing in the community, and their The questions guiding this section include: impact

on group process. group within leaders? the of

who are the


class
and
and

Do they constitute an advantaged group or different What part do they play .. the inception

community?

operation

the enterprises?

What is their impact on group process

group projects?

The survey data offers answers to some of these questions;

those remaining will be addressed in the following chapter.

In order to register with the Ministry of Social Services, a women's


group has to fill three leadership positions: cnairwoman, treasurer and

secretary.

Tototo follows these guidelines with the groups it assists but


It is this person who receives
provides
Given her

has added a fourth position of coordinator. Tototo's guidance leadership to

training, keeps logs of group meetings, and

the group in problem solving and decision-making.

responsibilities, be literate. treasurer.


This

Tototo requires that the person fulfilling this position


requirement does not extend to the chairwoman and

78

TABLE 5.4
SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS OF GROUP LEADERS AND MEMBERS

Characteristics Age

Group Members

Group
Leaders

< 20
20-29 30-39 40+

5.6
28.7 29.8 36.0 70.4 7.5 5.6 9.9 6.6 33.8 24.0 38.5 37.5 16.0 53.4 219

1.5

25.0
32.4
41.2
59.0
19.2
10.3
7.7
3.8
56.4
12.2
44.6
43.2
19.2
60.0
78

Marital Status

Husband Present Husband Elewhere Divorced Widowed Never Married % Literate # of children
<3 3-5 6+ % employed % receiving remittances N

1.

Age

The leader's age reflects that of the membership, though the secretary
and coordinator tend to be younger while the chairwoman is often drawn from
the subset coordinators of women over 40. More than 50% of the secretaries and
group

are between the ages of 20-29.

Sixty-three percent of

79

chairwomen are over 40. and write result

In the area of literacy, 56.4% of leaders can read


This is in part the

compared to 33.8% of the remaining members.

of Tototo's requirement for literate coordinators and partly due to

the fact that leaders are chosen because they are better educated.

2.

Marital Status

Two

significant differences in marital status appear between

leaders

and the general membership as seen in Table 5.4. who are divorced

The proportion of leaders


Similarly, the

is nearly double that of other members.

proportion of leaders whose husbands live elsewhere is more than tvice that
of other members. are That 41% of leaders are women without husbands suggests
women who have either more time to devote to group

that leaders

activities or are freer of constraints imposed by their hus~ands. those

However,

leaders who have husbands report both a need for their pzrmission to
group and a level of husbands' support for group activities that

join the

match the figures for the general membership.

3.

Employment

The who work percentage at the

economic profile of leaders reflects that of members. outside the home, most are casual laborers.

Of the few
higher
who
While

The slightly

of employed leaders can be explained by those coordinators of the survey received a monthly stipend from Tototo. report a similar desire to work, there is an

time

both groups variation outside

interesting

on what leaders and members perceive to be the barriers to their


employment. Equal proportions of both groups report husband's

80

refusal, children.

but

problem cited with much greater frequency by

leaders

is

Among leaders, 36% feel that children pose the major barrier as
This is probably related to the fact that more
6 or

compared to 23% of members. leaders are

without husbands and a greater percentage of them have

more children (43.2% versus 37.5% of members).

A.

Soclo-Economic Differentiation

In we 5.5,

trying to discern the economic position of leaders compared to members,


found no consistent patterns. Looking at the assets by group in Table

in 46% of the groups surveyed, leaders have more land on average than
The same is true for goats, while in only 38% of the groups
own more chickens than members. Furthermore, there is very

other members. did leaders

little rank cases, of

consistency across assets - that is, in only two groups did leaders
higher than other members on three of four assets. To the In four other

they ranked higher on two of four assets.

inconclusiveness

this evidence, it must be added that observable assets such as land and
are not a reliable way of capturing wealth without understanding
At

livestock their

value relative to local practice and to the domestic life cycle.

different assets to as

points in its development a family invests in different kinds of


One household's herd of goats may be equivalent
We suggest that other factors such

according to need.

another's investment in education.

the higher degree of leaders' husbands living elsewhere (60% of leaders


receiving levels of remittances compared to 53.4% of the other members) education may eventually traisslate into a and

report higher economic of

stronger
The work
study

position that is not indicated by their current assets.

Gomes (1984) and Dow and Werner (1983b) lend support to our case

81

data send

indicating remittances

that leaders well may have a high proportion of sons to their mothers. Perhaps this explains why,

who

in the
leaders,
own

absence they

of conclusive data pointing to the economic advantage of

are perceived as being "better off" both by members and in their

self-assessment.

5.

Group Process

Leaders

are elected by the membership.

In a few cases, however, selection

of the coordinator was made with the help of Tototo who had to search for a
qualified (i.e., literate) candidate. Howe,,er, Tototo's training centers

on a democratic process in decision-making, and members' responses to group


process perceived imposed input cited rather (1985) his questions to their be reflect the this. New ideas and problem-solving report that are

domain of all.

A minor 2.7%

leaders
whose
members

will upon the group.

However, when asked to specify

was most important for the development of the group, 31% of leaders and 47.4% of leaders pointed to themselves. different

This picture is
Njonjo's

from that painted by Odera (1980) but supports

observation of decision-making by consensus among the groups he and


While our survey alone does not allow one to draw
the importance of from the leadership, the positive
lays the

associates studied. conclusions of their

definite evidence groundwork

about

distinction

general

membership

for understanding the critical role of leaders that is outlined

in the case studies.

TABLE AVERAGE LAND AND

5.5
BY VILLAGE & GROUP STATUS

HOLDINGS L.' .'TOCK

__

Access to Land __ _ (mean acres)

Poultry

Goats

I
non members

Cows

village
Mapimo

group members
3.8

group leaders
4.2

non members
4.6

I [ group I members
7.5

group leaders
11.3

non members
4.3

group members

group leaders
6.7

I [

group j members
5.3

group leaders
3.3

non members
0.0

I10.3
6.2
9.4 14.2 ?.2

Kitere
Gede Vigurungani Kayafungo

3.1
14.0 5.3 5.1

2.8
13.3 3.5 4.0

4.5
9.2 6.6 3.6

2.6
13.5

2.0
12.7 14.3 4.8

8.8
9.9 16.1 8.8

9.7
17.2 21.5 4.3

5.6
5.9 12.0 17.5

1.5
2.6 .8 7.7

0.0
0.0 2.0 10.3

4.8
0.0 5.0 4.2

I10.3
3.2

Lukundo
Bogoa Pangani Maunguja Chumani Mkoyo Ngamani . Majengo

3.5
0.0 4.4 2.0 10.1 3.4 1.3 4.0

3.7
1.5 3.3 4.3 16.0 4.5 1.0 5.0

3.5
1.3 4.1 1.6 6.8 2.5 1.6 2.3

9.3
1.9 2.2 4.7 18.6 9.6 5.8 9.7

C.5
2.1 8.5 11.5 14.3 5.3 3.0 5.0

5.2
1.7 4.2 16.9 6.5 7.7 5.3 4.9 1

4.2
1.2 4.4 5.2 12.0 4.3 2.4 2.4

2.8
.7 6.0 7.7 9.8 .8 .7 1.0

4.0
.6 3.2 7.0 1.6 2.6 2.7 6.0

3.6
0.0 .9 9.2 2.9 3.2 0.0 0.0

3.5
8.9 0.0 8.2 3.8 0.0 0.0 0.0

1.8
0.0 0.0 8.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 .6

83

6.

Conclusion

In summary, we know that group members are poor rural farmers who face
a dearth of employment opportunities and limited access to cash. economic tasks While the
of

activities they engage in are gender-specific, the allocation

is also locationally specific, leading to substantial the groups older as sexual division of labor has not hampered the or and their entry into group non-traditional members can

variability.
emergence of

However, women's Largely

economic

domains.
be
and
other by a

illiterate,

nevertheless households and

characterized community

"progressive", seeking to benefit their membership well. in groups assisted by

through as

Tototo

organizations desire to

Their development orientation is motivated of

alleviate

poverty and in this they have the sur ort

their

husbands.

Non-members, not become development. progressive"

on the other hand, face similar economic hardship but do


in organized suggest activities to promote of community
the "less
not

involved Our data

that this is the

result

orientation

of their households.

In addition, they may

have the time or financial resources to invest in group activities.

84

E.

PROJECT FINANCING

In 1984, the Tototo staff concluded that due to the growth in number
and complexity in their of enterprises operated by the women's groups participating
required. Some

program, a more formal bookkeeping system was

groups were beginning to secure loans and grants while others were managing
two or three projects simultaneously. difficult Without records, it was becoming
the

increasingly impact models, design could

to analyze the project operations or evaluate

of the various inputs of the Tototo program.

After testing several

a Peace Corps volunteer working with Tototo came up with a final


for a simple double entry ledger in which all cash transactions

be recorded daily.

Training for group leaders on the maintenance of

this cashbook in all

began near the end of that year and continues to be included


programs. Given the magnitude of the task of teaching
added
regular
and

training

bookkeeping to the

to largely illiterate women, two Accounts Advisors were and their responsibilities entailed providing

staff,

follow-up

technical

assistance to each group both in keeping records

analyzing them.

The

cashbooks, if properly maintained, provide information on project

income, expenditures, cash flow, seasonal changes in business activity, and


non-business the system Therefore, Several having either related expenses incurred by the group. However, simple as

is, it has been difficult for low-level literates to master it.


the data are not reliable enough for statistical analysis.

other problems have emerged as well.

Because the data are recent,

been generated since early 1985, they do not provide any history of
how the older, more established projects were capitalized, or the

85

origins of bank balances listed in the cashbooks. have had maintained any effort hampered to rely regular to

For this information, we


who have
But
is
and

on the memories of the project field workers

contact with the same groups over several years. or more of the same kind of enterprise

compare otwo

by the mistakes women make, by occasional lapses in entries,

by the varying time periods covered by the cash books. early how to

Particularly in the

stages, it was often the case that only one member of the group knew
maintain cashbook entries. If she got sick or went away, the

records were left with big gaps. insights

Nevertheless, these data have offered new


our the

into the functioning of the enterprises and have guided both inquiry and training provided to the staff and to

anthropclogical women's groups.

These insights are presented below.

1. Process of Capitalization

Newly ways. amount

organized

groups accumulate operating capita. in a variety

of

Common to almost all of them is a regular members' subscription, the


and irequency of which is voted on by the general membership.

Between t.,o and five shillings a week is the most common range, which is in
general lower than the ranges recorded by Odera (1980) and Thomais (1985) in
more affluent parts of Kenya. they do, payments. Groups may try to set higher rates, but when

members with limited access to cash quickly fall. behind in their


Monthly contributions recorded in the cashbooks dufI ng 1985 vary

widely both in amounts contributed (Ksh.63-590 or $4-$36)7 and in number of


months results during the year when contributions were made. This variability
treat
peasant

both from early confusion among treasurers about whether to as income and from the economic limitation of: the

subscriptions

86

household. While

Members often go for months without the cash to pay their fees.
during
of

many of these debts eventually get paid, uneven records kept year either miss those lump sums, making the

that first

level

contributions appear very low, or inflate the level of contributions by not


also capturing those months when nothing was paid in.

The subscriptions serve a dual purpose; help secure entertaining engage members' visitors commitment to the

as a type of investment, they


group; they also pay needed for to

and provide small amounts of seed money

in petty trading or other activities undertaken to raise money


for These activities include producing and selling makuti (palm

the group.

roofing shingles), handicrafts and members' own collective labor.

a.

Casual Labor

One labor of

lucrative

way

to save seed money is by selling

the

collective
savings

group members, whose earnings are then put in the group

account. noted 1985). earnings. saving

This is common among women's groups throughout Kenya and has been
Mwagiru
consume
1985
local

by other researchers (Njonjo 1985, Thomas 1985, Odera 1980, The advantage of this is that there are no expenses to

An example is the Mteni Women's Group which spent most of The group can contract with

money for their bakery project.

landowners ($15-22)

for the labor of its members at rates ranging from per day for the group. In four months, recorded

Ksh.250-350
from
days

earnings

this activity

were Ksh.2,500 ($155) which required approximately two

labor from each member per month. have accumulated 1985.

In this way, at least three other groups


during

sums ranging from Ksh.800 to Ksh.3,000 ($49-$185)

87

b.

Makuti Sales

The
and a

producti'n of mats for chatched roofs is generally a female

task

and
pay
Some

popular option for earning group income along the coastal strip of for have the hinterland. Where palm fronds are plentiful, women

palm belt nothing groups

the raw material and can carry out production at home. instituted a makuti quota for each member as a way

of

capitalizing have decided sale price Pangani their

their: projects; to

others with enterprises already in operation


The
of
of

pay off theit loans with profits from makuti sales. The women

ranges from Ksh.0.50-1.50 depending on the area.

contributed an addi'ional Ksh.149 ($9) a month to the proceeds bakery from nwakuti sales. Ksh.3.O ($19)

In Gede, monthly income from makuti sales


Two of the case studies (Chapter 6)

averaged

in 1985.

provide f'irther information on makuti production.

c.

Handicrafts

As

explained previously, Tototo plays an active role in the promotion


Of the 45 women's groups currently participating in the

of handicrafts. program, at

least 12 have produced goods that they have marketed

thr:ough

Tototo's retail shop in Mombasa. to the directed services. sisal individual to In producers

In most cases, income thus generated goes


of the proceeds
marketing
Taita
is

with only a small portion

the group account as a fee for access to

Tototo's

Lukundo, where women are active producers of coveted five shillings ($0.31) per basket sold through

baskets,

Tototo

contributed month.

to the group.

In 1985, basket fees averaged Ksh.316 ($20Y per

88

6.

Harambee

Given

the financial limitations faced by individual members, harambee

fund raising events are the most accessible method to obtain a sum of money
large enough to launch an enterprise. sums ranging
In

1985, ten Tototo Ksh.3,000 ($185)

groups to would to rely

held
16,600 take on

harambees, ($1,025). some groups members' to launch

collecting The

from

average was Ksh.8,397 ($519), an amount which of years to accumulate if they were

a number

subscriptions alone.

The money collected through harambee serves


group's

a small project or can be used as an indication of the

viability in its efforts to attract other grants.

Tototo benefit to the

plays a key role in the success of the harambees held for

the

of women's groups. outside

First, Tototo serves as the group's connection


from
do
and

world, and often links the group to a guest of honor or expatriate community who is willing and able to Second, Tototo, its staff Third, the field an

Mombasa's substantial

business

fund raising for the harambee.

the organization assigned to

itself, are major contributors.

worker

the group holding the harambee usually acts as and organizational force.

important
to

motivational

Tototo prints both invitations

the event and contribution ticket- for those willing to make a donation but
unable to attend between the our harambee itself. Perhaps this explains on the

differences

findings and those of other

studies

Kenyan

women's groups (Njonyo 1985, Mwagiru 1985) which have claimed that harambee
has not been a substantial source of income for groups.

89

Harambee is clearly a successful fund raising method for taese women's


groups, addition, Rather though the degree of its success depends partly on be pointed out that what goes new around Tototo. comes In

it must

around.
like a

than

generating

income, harambee in fact

functions that

revolving

credit

association or savings club.

Each group

benefits

from harambee neighboring

will be expected to contribute to the fund raising events of


groups, effectively keeping the same money circulating The cashbook data confirm this suggestion: while among
ten

poor communities. groups benefited

from harambee in 1985, twelve groups made

contributions

from their meager project incomes to other harambees sponsored by the local
chief, school committee or other women's groups. During a two-month

period, one group made four harambee contributions totaling Ksh.420 ($26) two to group. groups subjects studies detail.
the chief, one for Kenyatta Day, and one to an unnamed women's women's it also the case

These data suggest that while the development function of attracts them the attentinn of local business and government, to various demands of those same people. in Chapter 6 illustrate this Two of

presented

phenomenon

in poignant

e.

Grants and Loans

It is not uncommon to find a group engaged in several, if not all, of


the activities discussed above. potential with grants aid agencies. the motor for for However, the enterprises with the greatest
capitalized
international
island,
of

generating steady income are those which were either the Ministry of Social Services or

from

In the case of Bogoa Women's Group, located on an the group's ferry service was purchased with

a grant

90

Ksh.35,000 Women's

($2,555) from an international agency.

Similarly, the

Lukundo
an
the

Group

was able to acquire a diesel-powered grinding mill with of Ksh.83,000 ($5,187) from the same agency. On

even larger

grant

other end of the spectrum, fourteen of Tototo assisted groups have received
much smaller development at least addition It attests effort grants of Ksh.1,600 ($100) to use as seed money from a

organization that sets this figure as its maximum grant. foreign donor agencies are involved in this pzogram

That
in

eight to to

the three organizations that fund Tototo staff is revealing.


Tototo's skill in attracting donors through the tireless
It also

of its director and the impressive quality of the program.

demonstrates (this one

the tendency of development agencies to jump on the bandwagon


carrying for the currently popular strategy of promoting income
many

generation

women).

And it once again points to a sad fact that

international aid agencies arB all looking fer too few "good" projects.

These particular

NGO rural

dilemmas aside, the availability of grant funds women's groups has some interesting

to

these
which

implications

were a focus of our anthropological inquiry and will be further explored in


the next chapter. Clearly, petty the slow, if not casual fruitless, labor, process of

capitalization

through

trading,

time-consuming
Doors
new
the

handicraft production, and member contributions can be circumvented. are opened; skills, Tototo in terms opportunities are provided for women to gain experience, In fact, in the context of

access to technology, and income.

program, it is not accurate to discuss the plight of womenrs groups


of their limited access to capital; data, of 36 groups for which or we
more

have cashbook

15 have received grants of Ksh.7,000 ($433)

from the Kenyan government or international NGO's.

In addition, Tototo has

91

made 12 that had to those

loans from its revolving loan fund, three of which went to also received'grants. Adding the remaining nine loan

groups

recipients

who have received grants, it is apparent that more than half (24)
groups income and operate with external capital. The total of all
from
The

of Tototo's non-project its harambee majority raised These

from the "richest" group, including the proceeds member subscriptions, equals Ksh.101,997 ($6,304).

of groups, however, start their projects with much less; usually figures falls provide of in the range useful of Ksh.15,000-20,000 for NGO's loans)

capital

($927-$1,236). in evaluating

information

appropriate

levels

investment (via grants and

in grassroots

income generation.

We

have

suggested that the maintenance of good relations with and government development workers requires groups to

local
make

politicians

regular contributions from their funds to community projects that are often
unrelated external to their own activities. Similarly, success in obtaining
16 groups
In more

capital

(grants) is not without its costs.

In 1985,

have records

of expenditures for entertaining visitors (wageni).

than 50% of these cases, this kind of expense was incurred only once during
the year, the year's laborers. End of 10-month fledgling fortunate but in one group, the total spent on visitors amounted to 20% of
earnings gained from members who sold their services as casual
UN
its
to a

In a second case, entertaining visitors at the time of the Conference shop for Women in Nairobi cost a group profits. We may react with 25% of

Decade

cumulative

indignation

enterprise spending a substantial portion of its income on

more

outsiders, but it would be a mistake to imply or assume that the


for the rural women themselves. In fact, group members are

same is true

eager to receive visitors.

They often plead with Tototo's field workers to


They know what is at stake.

bring them international guests.

92

These observations regarding no-a-business expenses incurred by women's


rural enterprises raise several questions related to contradictory

expectations of women's groups. is to increase women's

If, on the one hand, the purpose of gfoups


the community and

visibility and status within

contribute to a shared communal welfare, then the transfer of earnings from


one group the ethos accepted as agents primary money) activity to another is a logical step. This view corresponds to
and

of redistributing wealth (Parkin 1972) which is familiar to by the women themselves. of community

And if we accept that groups are to act


then income earned cannot (time, be the

development,

indicator are

of project performance, since resources

labor,

diverted from the small enterprises to But income if, on and

community of

development
is to
these

activities. generate

the other hand, the purpose capitalistic rural

groups

develop

businesses,

non-business-related expenses only make sense to the extent that they serve
as investments for securing much needed capital. use of groups Our data suggest that the
conflicts
is

to increase the general welfare of the community

with their

use as agents of local economic development.

This question

addressed in the case studies.

2.

Economic Performance of Projects

The most common project among group income generation efforts included
in this study are shops (9 groups), bakeries (8 groups), poultry raising (7
groups), and water (4 groups). Unfortunately, the incomplete and

inconsistent nature of the cashbook data does not allow for a comparison of
economic provide performance across project types, but the following a general introduction to volume of business, observations
of money

amount

transacted, and problems encountered.

93

Small soap, and

shops stocking basic goods such as maize meal, sugar, tea, oil,
batteries provide a service to their isolated small amounts of income. communities volume and
of

generate

The shop with the highest

business averaged Ksh.14,870 ($919) in monthly sales during 1985.

However,

expenses, mist of which were stock purchases, amounted to a monthly average


of Ksh.14,476 total records seems Ksh.266 should sales to ($895). For 1985, 10 months of records for this shop show a
The second shop for which we have first by good
and
a

profit of Ksh.3,947 ($244). has,

at most, one-third the volume of business of the

operate at a loss. ($16) loan payment;

However, monthly profits are consumed when this loan is paid in full, the

.hop
of
just

generate

a small profit.

Both shops have their highest volume

during April, May, and June which fall in the planting season,

when the previous year's harvest is depleted and food is scarce.

Often welfare central which and

meeting

a vital need, water projects qualify both projects.

as

social
to a

development

The provision of potable water and

spot

in a sub-location saves time and labor of women

girls
is

can then be invested in other productive activities.

Safe water

also important for improved health and sanitation. are not highly profitable.

However, water projects

Once the pipes carrying the water from the main

source are laid, group members sell it by the bucket for five to ten cents.
In 1985, Ksh.8,356 payments. water kiosk average ($516) monthly sales in Kirudi were Ksh.696 ($43), but in total annual sales, Ksh.7,141 ($441) went of to the
loan

Of the Ksh.1,215 ($75) remaining, the group had yet to pay their
A second water
However,
with

bill which was still being negotiated in early 1986.

in Majengo yields Ksh.487 ($30) in average monthly sales.

this group

received a grant for 'he installation of the water pipe;

94

the absence of water the low from the

of a loan payment, their estimated annual profit from the sale


An advantage to operating a water kiosk is

is Ksh.4,644 ($287).

maintenance and virtual lack of required inputs or expenses water bill. The problem, however, is the high cost

apart
of
the

installation source bring even on laying projects

which increases with the distance of the settlement from

of water. water the pipes,

Therefore, those most in need generally cannot afford to


not break

closer to home, and those who do so with loans do venture because the labor they invest in digging For

trenches,
both water

and selling the water is not remunerated.

examined, the high volume of sales, as expected, comes during the

dry season between December and April.

Poultry is for

raising is a popular choice for a project on the Coast, as it


groups carry out throughout Kenya. It is also one of the most

women's to

difficult start-up

successfully.

First,

it requires

significant

capital to build the chicken coop and purchase the first round of
plus for feed for the two months of maturation before the Second, this production cycle creates chicks

baby chicks are ready problems

sale.

management

as women have to budget cash accurately from the previous sale of

birds in order to cover the costs incurred during the two months the chicks
need to grow. sold for Ksh.4,000 way, and marketing; In 1985, groups paid Ksh.13.13 per chick which could then be
after two months. In one case, 300 chicks purchased But 47 birds died The third along issue for
the
is
a

Ksh.35 ($247) the

grossed Ksh.8,455 ($523).

group though

was unable to cover its costs.

the many tourist hotels alGng the coast

constitute

healthy market, rural women are inexperienced in cultivating these contacts


on their own. In addition, they have to solve the problem of transporting

95

their Tototo.

birds to market.

In these two areas, several groups have relied

on

The Salama Women's Group, however, has found a buyer from the town
who not only guarantees top purchase price for the birds, but

of Malindi

brings chicks and feed to the group and transports the mature broilers back
to town. In contrast. to the other poultry p.:oject mentioned, Salama had

8
Ksh.1,300 ($80) profit from their last batch of broilers.

State-controlled profitability Tototo-assisted seven of 25 of

prices small

on

wheat

flour

and the

bread largest

limit of

the
the
for

bakeries.

Although

bakeries has been profitable (see Chapter 6), records

months from a much smaller oparation show that at production loaves per day, the group just breaks even. to However, group

levels
members

are allowed individual regular savings

use the facilities to bake bread which they can

sell

for

profit and, in this way, earn a small income.

In addition, the
on

cash flow proviced by daily sales keeps the group from drawing

(recorded bank balance as of October, 1985 was Ksh.6,822, or $422)

to keep the bakery in operation.

3. Savings Accounts

Perhaps recording hampers project than they balances figure

the

most

common

mistake made in the

cashbooks While books

occurs

in

savings efforts profits are to

account withdrawals and deposits. understand project finances, the

this

further
that
often
bank

reveal

are deposited in the group's savings accounts more divided among members. As of October, 1985, group

ranged from Ksh.700 ($43) to Ksh.15,243 ($942). results

While the latter

from the recent receipt of a government grant, it is not

96

uncommon savings :recorded. and one groups they

for

groups
to have from Ksh.2,500-5,000 Division of

($154-$309)
in their
members is rarely

accounts.

group income
among

cash
This is a curious phenomenon given women's evident need for cases,
common to groups elsewhere in Kenya (Mbugua 1985).
In some

others,
have
chosen to save money to finance larger projects; in have not known how to calculate dividends based on individual

investments of cash and labor.

The struggle

data first

contained

in the cashbooks tell the story

of
groups

who

to finance their projects and s;econd to generate a profit


are both
once the business is in operazion. In these efforts, groups Left tn
constrained and
supported by the local socio-economic context. they do
to their own devices, groups have limited access
cash. Although women's
groups,
benefit from the support of community members and other demands.
With
this support
is accompanied by reciprocal expectations and access to
Tototo's assistance, the groups
in this study have gained external community projelts. networks
of that But support in the government and of development aid

have
facilitated the establishment hampered by

income-generating
and lack of

problems of scale, marketing,

from
technical
knowledge, few groups have successfully made the transition capacity to
small project to stable enterprise. The projects' limited one of several
generate profit means that
they must be seen as only productive activities that women depend upon for income.

97

NOTES TO CHAPTER 5
'In 1985, Tototo took on a second men's group. The first was started in
1982 but is now inactive. In addition, several of the women's groups have
a few male members.

2This

decision was made on the basis of two pieces of information. While


anthropological insights suggest that those who don't know their age are
not limited to the oldest segments of the population, the high rate of
literacy for those under age 30 (62%) and the greater likelihood that
their parents are younger and literate led us to hypothesize that these
women are more likely to know their age.
(1984), Reining (1977), and others note a slowly growing trend
among Kenyan women not to marry at all. These women do, however, have
This phenomenon occurs in our study population as well,
children. although not in significant numbers.
low rate of unemployment among our sample represents a difference
between the Coastal population and those studied by Odera and Thomas,
where women may earn significant income by selling their labor, either
The regions represented in Odera's and
communally or individually. Thomas' studies are high-potential agricultural zones, unlike most of the
Coast.

3Shepherd

4The

SThis finding echoes Odera's (1980) results in Central Province.

6As

reported by a World Education training consultant working on management with the groups.

business

7For

conversion rate of Kenya shillings to U.S. dollars, see Note 2 to


Chapter 6, p. 225.

8Same as note #6.

98

CHAPTER 6
FOUR CASE STUDIES

A.

INTRODUCTION

Women's their wider failed

groups

do not operate in a social vacuum.

Any

analysis

of

role and impact must be situated in an adequate description of their


social and economic environment. Both planners and researchers have
constraints

to take sufficient account of local conditions and the

they impose upon the operation of women's groups.

The following four cases

illustrate how women struggle against and accommodate to these conditions.

The

key to understanding the operation of women's groups and of their Income-generating projects is to be found external

success
in the
economic

or otherwise relation forces

between which

indigenous social formations and the

are working to transform them.

The essential point is that

this transformation is far from complete. been modified particularly "backward" labor on

While indigenous formations have

by forces of change, they remain strongly resistant to them,


along the Kenyan coast, where people have long been branded
wage
for
local

for their apparent reluctance either to engage in migrant any scale or to adopt modern methods of farming and produce While foreign economic interests, the state, NGO's and

the'market. entrepreneurs provide

pull in one direction, the structures of the peasant economy


alternatives for the investment of labor and cash and

viable

continue to pull in another.

99

We

also

need

to

be aware that indigenous

social

formations

vary
fact

considerably

from one location to another. is predominantly

They share in common the level of

that-production households, principal Women,

organized at the

individual

and these households retain a large degree of control over the


means of group as production, land and the labor of their members.
of

whether and

members or not, are first and foremost

members within

households Women's small

such are subject to the decisions taken

them.
like
these

be

groups, their income-generating projects ideally functioning capitalist enterprises, stand at the critical june.t,,re ot

sometimes

opposing forces - capitalist and peasant economies - and may

severely constrained by one or the other.

The group's The first major Chapter

operation of these constraints varies according to the stage of a


or project's development. Three main stages can be identified.

stage, experienced in all cases, is characterized by the lack of


and is dominated by the fund-raising a time leaders, for groups and to efforts described in

funds 5.

It is also with local

consolidate, external

develop
to the

relationships community. sees the of capital development health

seek allies

The second, pivotal stage, which many groups have yet to reach,
achievement of their initial project goals through the injection

from the outside, allowing for the establishment of a community


(water, school construction, daycare center, maternal-child
such

clinic)

or income generating activity.

The major sources of

financial

support are the state and NGO's, both Kenyan and

international.

Depending.upon the nature of the project, a group may then either revert to
the initial stage (this is particularly the case with community development

100

projects) third,

or,

in developing an income-generating project, move on to

the

with all its attendant difficulties. of a

It is often at this stage, Jn


grants, that the

the operation

project financed through loans or

competing economic influences take their toll on women's group enterprises.

Community always

not
development projects are relatively easy to define, if
The formal sector and voluntary agencies concerned

easy to manage.

with their execution have access to the means and a determinate idea of the
strategies different required kettle for of their attainment. fish. What is Income generation is a not realized
is with that very
the

income-generating assistance capitalist should

projects function,

established
by women's groups if they are to be

external
as small

profitable, with

enterprises.

The government agencies charged

assisting

women's groups are ill-equipped to deal with this situation, and the NGO's,
while more flexible and perhaps better placed to take appropriate action,

have been slow to realize all of its implications.

Once difficult embryonic localized What women they might

income-generating to identify the they

projects

are seen in this light, it is not


which operate upon them. by As
the

constraints are

enterprises structures put

first and foremost

constrained are

of the peasant economy in which they

embedded.
and what
roles,

into their enterprises, how they organize them, to get out of them are conditioned by

expect

their

obligations, and expectations as members of households. in a group surplus are frequently withdrawn from a household.

Resources invested
Particularly where
group

labor and cash are not readily available and the gains from

investment

are not immediately apparent, family obligations are invariably

101

given their

priority

and

colle-tivc enterprises suffer

accordingly.

Groups,
means

membership recruited on a voluntary basis, typically lack the

of enforcing of separation

their decisions and are unable to effect the necessary degree


of their members from the family units to which they belong.

Households, functioning as semi-autonomuus units of production, continue to


provide individual members with their principal means of livelihood and

therefore members remain subject to the decisions taken within them.

To they are

the

extant that groups are able to work tree of this to find themselves restricted by state

constraint,
cr in

likely with

controls

competition

other, more efficiently run private-sector of this problem depends upon the type of group

enterprises.
enterprise
The

The seriousress and the

frequency with which it is replicated in the private sector.

third source of constraints on the development of women's group enterprises


is found local in their relationship with the state, or more specifically, As the first of the case studies presented its
below

agents.

illustrates,

women's groups are mobilized at every possible opportunity to

contribute labor and scarce funds to other community development projects.

The detail

points

raised in this brief outline are illustrated

in greater

in che four case studies which follow.1 Each case describes a group
stage of development. The first, Mwamambi, shows a group
the

at a different with a

water project struggling to meet the demands placed upon it by

state in a situation where the peasant economy is rapidly being transformed


by outside capit~a has received establish investment. support The second, Midodoni, reveals a group which
from a donor agency and has used this to

massive

both

a community water project and an enterprise that

utilizes

102

existing

processes of indigenous capital accumulation to launch women in a


role formerly reserved for men. modelled The upon third, similar Bogoa,
male

new entrepreneurial shows a group

whose

main

enterprise was

enterprises in the local economy and has consequently run into difficulties
requiring further interventions from external donors. study, Mapime, describes clearly a the long-established group different The fourth and final
with a bakery and
upon

illustrates

pressures

acting

collectively-organized

enterprises

and the capture by the

male-dominated

peasant economy of the income such enterprises provide.

Because Industries, external basis on

all they

four are

groups

receive

assistance having

from

Tototo found

Home
an
the
of

unrepresentative,

successfully

ally. their

The four groups were selected for intensive study on different stages of development, different types

enterprises, view to previous

and (in three cases) high income generation potential, with a


and interpreting the survey data discussed of the four groups, Mapimo and also in the
were
with
and
for

supplementing chapter. in this Two

Bogoa, made

represented reference economic

survey.

Selection of the four was

to their location in very different but interrelated social zones in the hinterland of Mombasa. Each of the groups has,

example,

different
local

ethnic

composition.

The

studies

illustrate

and

considerable

variation in the structure of the peasant economy

its transformations for the

and at the same time provide a sound comparative basis

analysis of its dominant characteristics as these impinge upon the

operation of women's groups.

103

B.

A REVOLVING DEBIT ASSOCIATION: THE CASE OF MWAMAMBI WOMEN'S GROUP

Mwamambi Women's Group is located south of Mombasa on the main highway

to Tanzania. swelled extensive east. among The local population is predominantly Muslim Digo but has

in recent years by an influx of up-country immigrants attracted by


tourist development along the nearby beach, two miles to the

On paper there are 22 women's groups in the location, Mwamambi being


the most developed and the only one assisted by Tototo Home

Industries.

1.

The Role of the State

The

state

provides

women's

groups with

their

primary

source

of

legitimation. furthering successful involvement its they

To exist they must submit to its influence and acquiesce in


community must development objectives. To survive and be
this

make effective use of the

connections

which

supplies.

The experience of the Mwamambi women

demonstrates

how demanding a process this can be for a group in its formative stage.

a. Beginnings

The begun

Mwamambi

group grew out of adult education and

nursery

classes

by a local man in 1982. in the

These were attended by Digo women and their


homestead, each pupil
This

children

neighborhood of their founder's

paying a monthly ten shilling subscription ($0.78)2 for his teaching. class, group b:" in electing a committee and officers, ultimately became a 1984. The group initially consisted of six members, all

women's
close

neighbors and related by marriage.

104

b.

Progressing in a Circle

The towards of the much a

group

began

as

an indirect consequence

of

government

policy

education and women's groups; area enjoyed neither.

until the 1980's most of the


women

The subsequent history of the group was very


promote

direct consequence of local policies designed both to help

and make full use of women's groups.

At

first the group was little more than an idea:

the women were at a

loss as to how they could raise money and what they could do with it if and
when they government the location Ksh.220 community was. The ($15) fund got it. A revolving credit association organized by the
in

Social Development Assistant (SDA) for eight women's groups provided a part of the answer. Each group was a to

contribute
or
it

month,

the sum to be presented during

harambee,

raising event, for the benefit of the group whose turn

Mwamambi women joined in April, 1984, and in due course

became
In an

the eighth the process,

and last group to benefit from the round in February, 1985. difficult as it turned out to be, Mwamambi became

established women's group.

Raising Only three a debt of the fronds found

the monthly contribution with only six members was not

easy.

women could afford to contribute on the first occasion, leaving


The second time around they raised part

to be paid on the second.

cash by selling makuti, roofing pieces made from dried coco ut palm
and an important seasonal source of income for women. One woman

herself in such financial straits that she was unable to

contribute

further and subsequently dropped out of the group.

Meanwhile, the husbands

105

of two

members

offered to help with their own monetary contributions into the group, bringing its active membership up

and
to
and

were thus seven.

accepted One

of them climbed palms to knock down fronds for his

wife

defied the local norms of gender-specific labor by secretly plaiting makuti


himself women at were night inside their house. For the third harambee, two of wore the
tc

reduced to selling the cotton print cloths that they

raise the money in time.

The third round was followed by the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadhan,
when household resources are traditionally diverted towards buying new

clothes for the family and food for the nights and the feast of Idd-ul-Fitr
which in the brings Ramadhai to an end. next two The group failed to give anything at all
and the

rounds, leaving them with an even greater debt

possibility of having to drop out.

The problem was temporarily solved by increasing group membership from


s2ven to 24, not more than five of whom could be men. joined on the of spot. six. A New officers were chosen as seventh, himself husband of one The requisite number
well as a and steering
secret
a
all
it
was
in
to

committee

member

makuti-producer, title done at proved a

co-opted

as self-declared "speaker

master",

which none of the other members claims to understand. the instigation turn of the SDA and the group's in the fortunes of the

This was and

chairwonman, The

decisive

group.

group

eventually January,

registered with the Ministry of Culture and Social Services 1985; registration is necessary for groups to bE eligible

receive Ministry grants.

106

With

more

members contributing, the group's finances were now

on

sounder footing.

In all, the group was able to contribute Ksh.1,782 ($110)


At

towards the location's revolving credit association for women's groups. their ($289). own harambee, held in February, 1985, the group received

Ksh.4,677

Of this Ksh.1,085 ($67). came from its own members and an estimated
($87) from other women's groups. On paper the group had made a

Ksh.1,400

profit of Ksh.2,895 ($179), or Ksh.1,810 ($112) if its self-contribution is


discounted, had, however, difficulties debt to conceived fixture, other by from its earlier investment in the association. proved nearly fatal. The exercise

Other groups involved had even greater

than Mwamambi, falling into permanent states of inactivity or


location the SDA, a women's groups. When the association become a for was first

it was hoped that it would

permanent
women's

providing

regular income (or funding mechanism)

groups and their community development activities. has not.

Hardly surprisingly, it

Payment for the location round has had continuing repercussions within
the group. complained seven Following that the Mwamambi group's harambee, the vice-secretary
The
the

individual members had still contributed unequally. members had contributed much more: they had paid for

original

first three rounds of the association, while payment for the next three had
been shared among the larger number of new members. were falling which had Meanwhile, individuals

behind in their payment of a two-shilling weekly subscription


been instituted following the group's enlargement Members who and
had

reorganization. reached waiting this for

Finally, a Ksh.300 ($19) share was set. figure were henceforth exempted from paying

subscriptions,
to

the rest to catch up.

Subscriptions were raised from two

107

five shillings, but members were no longer obliged to pay every week. was in April, 1985.

This

By September, most members were still far from paying

up their shares.

c.

The Price of Support

The

group

is subject to other, more direct, demaands from the

state,

most of which are channeled through the local chief's office. other groups in the location a'.e mobilized at every possible

Mwamambi and
opportunity
a

and asked variety

to contribute to haraiibees, attend meetings, and entertain at of official functions. to the and whims demand of

Often they have no choice and must subject


administrators who are at painfully short apt to keep There them
are

themselves ill-informed

action

notice.

considerable demands upon time, labor, and cash. and other Idd-ul-Haj Minister day. cooking of

In August, 1985, Mwamambi


of
the
a

groups in the location had to break off from the festivities to procure and start preparing local dishes for a visit by Culture and Social Services, unexpectedly brought the visit and speeches, the assembled women were forward kept

During the

busy
and

food which they then had to serve to the hungry visitors

the local men.

This labor was unpaid, and Mwamambi had difficulty in later


And, having
hear an

securing payment for the food they purchased with group funds. missed the

Minister's speech, they had to return another day to of his message by the local chief. This was not an

elaboration case.

isolated

These kinds of services can be exacted whenever the

administration

requires.

108

The chief the

attitude of location officialdom is summed up in two acts by following month. One day he decreed that henceforth all

the
the

wom1.4a's dance groups in the location should form into proper women's groups
(they were already subject to calls to perform free at official weetings).

put them even more firmly under the control of the state and

This decree promised

to double the number of women's groups in the location overnight.

On another day the chief announced that all the groups in the location were
to give him Ksh.lO0 ($6) each to take to a harambee in Nalindi where he had
been invited voluntary no choice. as the guest of honor, a demand not quite in keeping with the
As registered agents of the state, they of view of the state and its had
local

ethos of harambee. From the point

representatives, women's groups are an important instrument in implementing


and disseminating groups themselves, government development objectives. For the women's
and the

such participation is both a source of pride

necessary price of obtaining much-needed support.

As an illustration of this, the women's own records show that 51.5% of


members' 1984 women's cash contributions to the group during an 18-month period (April,
September, 1985) were for harambees in the location, including revolving made credit association described above. Adding be the
the
seen
or
made

contributions that 82% allies

by members for entertaining visitors, it can

of group resources were invested in securing external support for the group. Table 6.1 shows these and other contributions

by members during this period.

109

TABLE 6.1
CONTRIBUTIONS OF MUAMAMBI MEMBERS BY
CATEGORY OF EXPENDITURE (in Kenya shillings)

Member &
Position

Harambee

Entertraining Visitors

Group
Subs./ Share 42 28 67 24 53
57

Group's Own Assoc.

Members'

Misc.

Total

Revolving Saving Credit Club 60 60 70 50 60


70

1 Secretary. 2 vice-sec. 3 4 vice-chair" 5 treasurer


6

130 255 100 225 124


120

40 16 36 32 30
31

70 66 46
6

20

6
14

362 359 339 331 319


298

7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

committee* vice-treas. committee (male)* committee committee committee* chairwomen* committee SDA

210 135 115 130 132 110 125 120 135 130 133 110 55 5

22 28 23 20 18 30 30 36 25 33 33 21 23 7

10 64 49 10 28 72 25 33 15 11 23 13 28

40 50 50 10 90 70 30 60 50 20 10 50 70

4 40 100 52 16 10 10 12 66 6

286 277 277 270 268 264 250 241 235 234 219 166 156 148

21 speaker-master' 115 22 (male) 85 23 105 24 75 25 50 26 (joined 1985) 27 (joined 1985) 5 28 (left 1984)' 30 29 (left 1984) 15 Others 30 3,109

8 19 8 8 15 27 3 7 629

8 13 10 25 12 8 4 732

10 10 50 60

30 10

131 ,27 123 118 112 105 50 30 22 37 56 ($3) 6,154 ($380)

1,100

528

3,738 ($231) indicates one of the original members

1,628 ($1.0!)

110

2.

Tototo Home Industries and the Water Project

Through was beginning was enlarged, of being

its close links with the SDA, the Mwamambi group's investment
to pay off, and it found an external ally. When the group

the SDA had intimated that this might increase their chances

adopted by Tototo, with whom she was in contact through her work.
was fulfilled, making Mwamambi the envy of surrounding

The prediction

groups, all competing for similar attention.

a.

Reorganization

Tototo Year they

staff first visited the group in October, 1984, and in the New
chose Mwamambi's educated secretary as the Tototo coordinator.

In February and March, she went for a three-week training course with other
new Tototo ($19) a recruits. Among her duties, for which she was paid Ksh.300
education
and to
were
who

month, were to open group meetings with the promoted a to

nonformal

techniques complete submitted

by Totoco (and adapted from World Education)

weekly log of group meetings and activities. one of Tototo's four assistant field

These logs supervisors,

thereafter paid regular visits to the group.

b.

The Water Project

Under provision

Tototo's

guidance

the

groups chose its main

project

the

and sale of piped water.

Group members buy their water at 10-15

cents (less than one U.S. which serves 11wamambi.

cenit) a bucket from taps along the main pipeline


For some women it is a walk of more than half a

mile.

There and

are

long queues before the supply shuts down in the a

early

afternoon,

the trek involves crossing the busy highway,

dangerous

undertaking for small girls given the chore. its own extension

Thus the group decided to lay


meeting place

to the mainline, bringing this to their

from where they would sell water at 10 c its a bucket.

Plans estimated

for that

this

project were drawn up with Tototo's and labor for the project

help. would

It was
cost some

materials

Ksb.30,000 ($1,854).

The women began by digging a small trench in which to


Rumors were
boreholes
group's
get by free
the

lay the pipes, but by September the work had ground to a halt. circulating throughout project from a that the the government was about to drill a series of area. If this were true, it would render

the

redundant, well. A

for no one would buy water which they could general disillusionment set in, exacerbated

inability to their

of the chief's office to give the group an unequivocal questions.

response
when

Uncertainty dragged on through the early 1986,

the water project was finally abandoned.

c.

Making Money, Raising Funds

persistent problem with the water project had been that of funds.

raising
mats
But

the necessary

Tototo encouraged group members to weave table

from coconut fiber and sell them to the Tototo retail shop in Mombasa.

the craft was not indigenous t9 the area, and the women were unable to copy
Tototo's group's ($719). samples. second More constructive was Tototo's help in organizing This raised the

harambee, held in October, 1985.

Ksh.ll,632

The major donors are shown in the table below.

Forty-two percent

112

of the itself,

total raised came from women's groups (23% from the Mwamambi 19% from other groups) and 34% from NGO's. of the In effect, more The

group
than
group,
or

three-fourths inspired by

money came from the voluntary sector.

this success, hoped that it would be followed by a

grant

loan from Tototo and then funding might also be sought from such sources as
their local member of Parliament and the beach hotels.

TABLE 6.2 MWAMAMBI WOMEN'S GROUP'S SECOND HARAMBEE (in Kenya shillings) Category Women's groups Donors Mwamambi Members Other women's groups Tototo and staff YWCA, Coast Branch Chiefs KANU officials Councillor Ministry of Finance & Planning The Agrarian Building Society Contribution 2,000 1,660 1,070 1,855 345 200 600 300 500
3.6O (S226)

NGO's

2.925

S$X1

State sector

1.445

(S89)

Private sector

00

(S31

X.530

(S527)

113

3.

Constraints of the Peasant Economy

a.

The local economy

To group's necessary

understand individual to

the constraints imposed by the local economy upon households and their ability to raise capital, the it

the
is

begin with a review of recent developments in

Mwamambi

location.

To alienated hundred clashes to force

the

north

and the

west are thousands of colonial period.

acres

of

farmland a

first
few

during yards

One of these plantations, of

from

the group's meeting place, was the scene

violent
tried
they

in the early 1970's when a group of Kikuyu land speculators the removal of local Digo squatting illegally on land which

still claim as theirs. altering

But the most disruptive alienation in recent years,


when
main
Diani
or

the entire character of the local economy, occurred in 1972 decided to convert the whole of the area between the

the government highway Complex. "beaches" have been

and the beach into a tourist paradise under the name of the The six-mile long complex was subdivided into four

strips

designated for hotel construction (more than ten tourist built), access and service roads, and related

hotels

infrastructural

developments. highway. in 1978, done.

Local families were to be resettled on the other side of the

Development on the third and fourth beaches, however, was stopped


and the Digo continue to live and farm there. Local But the damage was
and

people lost land on the first two beaches, some selling compensation. To date, considerable uncertainty been

some receiving over land

remains
issued

rights

in the area, and only some landowners have

with title deeds.

114

Before the rocky

this land

development, the Digo grew most of their grain crops just inland from the sea; they tended coconut

on

palms
up

interspersed from the eventually copra

with

other crops (including cassava) on the land

rising

main road. settling coconut The -

Young men sought wage labor in Mombasa and elsewhere,


down to farm and derive some income from the sale kernel). This pattern has now been of

(dried

thoroughly
workers
has

transformed. from up-country stimulated especially in these sold their built

beach hotels have brought an influx of migrant Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya and Kamba. This

migration

rapid growth of settlement and services along the main highway,


where group menbers live. The Digo themselves have found Many work
have

hotels and the sector which has grown up around them.

land to immigrant entrepreneurs, while others, more canny, have


to rent out to immigrant workers. The result is an

accommodation

incipient class division, partially, but not entirely, along ethnic lines.

What

the

state gives with one hand - grants for

income

generation,

connections to allies - it can take away with the other. state has to

In this case, the


in Mwamambi,
created owners living. a
and
The

supported broad community development objectives help the rural poor;

designed situation peasants

at the same time, it has traditional a

where deprived

farmland of

is alienated from its

the resources essential to making

effect of state-sponsored development upon agriculture in Mwamambi has been


devastating. they have Because many men, young and old, are now in paid employment,
Consequently much of the
reverted to
men
areas

little time to devote to their fields. palms,

land between bush. are not The

which used to be under cultivation, has

women alone cannot clear and cultivate all of it, and the This uncultivated land, including large

free to help them.

115

of alienated land, harbors wild animals - monkeys, warthogs and wild boar which are damaging to crops. The few local stock owners, who once would

have grazed their animals far inland, now leave them to roam in between the
homesteads, guard the adding to crop damage. Meanwhile, men are no longer free to

crops at night, and the killing of wild animals

is prohibited

without a license. to guard the

Women, especially those with small children, are unable


As a result, food production in the proportion of women's area

.rops themselves. and fail, a very high

has declined, enterprises

agricultural
the crops

including

those right next to their homes,

being eaten or trampled by animals before the harvest.

Mwamambi 6.3 shows,

members were seriously afflicted by this problem.

As

Table
a

most had husbands who were employed or otherwise absent, and

number did not have husbands at all.

TABLE 6.3 EMPLOYMENT OF MWAMAMBI HUSBANDS NO HUSBAND divorcedseparated 3 N=24 HUSBAND EMPLOYED in at Diani selfMombasa Beach employed 5 5 5 HUSBAND UNEMPLOYED retired cultivating

dead

116

Their

agricultural

enterprises

suffered

accordingly.

Table

6.4

demonstrates jointly) 1985,

this, showing 35 fields belonging to or worked by

(sometimes

17 group members.

Over half of the fields were not cultivated in


Most of have the

in many cases because of the threat from wild animals. crops were grown by those fortunate enough to

successful between

fields

the beach and the road, where cultivation is more intensive (there

being few palms) and wild animals rarely penetrate.

The -result agricultural dependent shops. pressure local

is a vicious circle. fail,

Because such a high are becoming

proportion

of

enterprises

households

increasingly

for their subsistence upon food staples purchased from the lor.al
Thus household members, particularly men, are under increasing

to find and remain in wage employment, one of the major causes of


decline upon in the first place. This has the a somewhat

agricultural effect

different

the sexual division of labor from

well-known

scenario in which women with labor migrant husbands find themselves bearing
a much Here, heavier agricultural burden in order to sustain the household.

most of the working men continue to live at home and do the shopping
to feed their households. investment, Household benefit less and less from
group members had

themselves women's

agricultural

and in 1985, a few

abandoned cultivation altogether.

117

TABLE 6.4

CULTIVATION OF 17 MWAMAMBI GROUP MEMBERS' FIELDS, 1985

Location* of field
"uu/home Uu/home uu/home
chni

Cultivated
in 1985?

no
no
no

yes

Main Crop

Crop
Harvested?

Comments

cassava

yes

j u/ome uu uU jj/home

yes
yes
yes
no
no
yes
yes
no
yes
no
no

cow-peas
maize
rice

no
yes
no
no
no
no

Trampled by goats.
Guarded.
Eaten by wild boar.
Last crop spoiled.
Guarded but eaten by
wild boar & warthogs.
Guarded but eaten by
wild animals.
Guarded but eaten by
birds & wild animals.
Discouraged by animals.

chini
juu/home Kibarani juu/home

maize
rice

rice

juu Mwakido

yes
no
nU
o no

maize

yes
Discouraged by animals.

chni
c:Li 'u/ome

yes
yes no
no
yes
yes
no
no
no
yes

no

maize

cassava

yes

yes
Soil exhausted.
no
yes
Discouraged by animals.
Discouraged by animals.
Discouraged by animals.
Eaten by cattle & boar.
Cow-peas trampled by
cattle in short rains.
Discouraged by animals;
Eaten by wild boar and
warthogs.

Vukani
juu chini juu uu_/home u/home
uu

rice
cassava

maize
cassava
no
no

no
-

no
yes

cini Msambweni juu/home


uu

yes

cl~ni TOTAL

yes
15 20

yes
8 7

cow-peas dried up.

N=35 Fields

chini, or "down", designates land between the main road and the sea;
juu, or "up", refers to land on the inland side of the main road.

118

b.

omen, Households and Income

1. Members and their households

In

September, 1985, there were 24 women in the Mwamambi group,

three

of whom were more or less inactive in the group. 23 and 63, with the average age of 38.

Their ages ranged between

All of these were Digo, all but one

TABLE 6.5
AGE IN YEARS OF MWAMAMBI MEMBERS
20-24 1 N=24 Xff38 from the coastal belt between Mwamambi and Mombasa where a single
some
25-29 3 30-34 3 35-39 7 40-44 6 45-49 2 50-54 1 55-59 0 60-64
1

sub-dialect

of the Digo language is spoken.

Five women had received

primary education and two had attended secondary school. had never attended

Seventeen members
mid to late
is
upon
The
by

school, and most were married in their

teens.

Over

half of them have divorced and remarried.

Digo marriage

notoriously divorcees children

unstable, while the social and economic pressures acting are such that remarriage within a year or two is the norm.

of

a broken marriage often remain with or are later

claimed

their father. surviving mother's resistant

The sample of 15 women in Table 6.6 shows an average of four


with rather fewer (a mean of 2.7) remaining Polygyny is practiced, though many so in women of their
are

children households. to it;

it is one of the causes of divorce and

serial

119

polygamy. co-resident husband)

Five

group

members were in polygynous unions: (one of whom was in the process of

two

sets

of
her
in

co-wives

leaving

and one whose husband, also a group member, had a second wife

another location.

TABLE 6.6 MWAMAMBI MEMBERS: MARITAL STATUS AND CHILDREN # of children still dependent 1 2 2 4 2 2 1 3 3 7 2 7 0 2 0 # of children in full-time employment

Age 20 23" 25 29 30* 30 31 35 37 37 39* 40 44* 47* 48


N=

Education Primary (completed) Secondary (Form IV) None Secondary (Form IV) Primary (4 years) None None Primary (2 years) Primary (completed) None None None None None None

Marital # of Status Marriages D M M M M M M D D M M M D M M 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 2

# of children ever born 1 2 3 5 3 5 3 6 4 10 3 8 5 10 2

# of children died 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 2 0 2 1 0 0 1 1

2 1

Mean Age = 34 Percentage never attended school = 60% Percentage currently not married = 27% Mean number of marriages = 1.5 Mean number of children ever born = 4.7 Mortality rate of children ever born = 14% Mean number of children in full-time employment ( i.e., able to provide
support) Officer
= Group = 0.2

120

Marriage land owned by

is virilocal, and most of the women live on their Sons husbands and husbands' kin. Land

and

cultivate

is inherited
while

patrilineally. daughters land except male heirs group's leaving return

are expected to remain on their father's land

marry out, thus forfeiting their right to inherit their father's


under special circumstances - for example, where there are and a daughter is on hand to press her claim. no

This is what the


after
to

chairwoman had done, moving onto her deceased father's land her husband.

Other women, particularly divorcees, are likely The

to live with their parents or brothers for periods. in Mwamambi among signals on one level

frequency
degree of
women
that

of divorce independence dependent

a greater

women.

Yet the decline in agriculture has kept

on malriage and on the cash income it provides, or on land

can be borrowed, claimed, or inherited from male lineage kin.

Two-thirds compounds through isolated dispersed, upon

of

group

members

live in extended

household

units

or
men

land owned and managed jointly by groups of brothers,

whom most of the women in the group are related.

Of the remaining

households, more than half are similarly linked but residentially


reflecting fission of original sibling groups. Through their

membership of these complex households, group members are .nmeshed in a web


of obligations. The consequences of this for the success of group

enterprises are summarized below.

121

c.

Labor

Women are responsible for a long list of daily household chores, child
care, and most of the agricultural work done including clearing, planting,
and to harvesting them during two annual cultivating seasons. 6.7 details the Most the long

weeding, assistance assistance

is provided by other women. Table

received

by 11 group members on their fields during

rains of 1985.

During

the short rains of 1984, group members experimented by working


Sixteen wom'n took part. The rest

collectively upon one another's fields.

were ill or otherwise occupied, it being difficult to coordinate collective


cultivation labor at with the and the agricultural timetables of households all time. This was a degree of cooperation demanding
without
only
so,
fate

same

precedent, two women continued befell the

following the generally poor results of this season, done

(R and S in Table 6.7), who might otherwise not have to help one another during the next season.

A similar

group's first collective enterprise:

the planting of a 1-1/2


Group members
were
in
to
to

acre field worked asked on

with cow-peas, also in the short rains of 1984. this field on weekends. Members who did not

participate

to pay five shillings in lieu of their labor. the The

But after weeding left

September, harvest.

crop shrivelled in the sun and there was nothing

enterprise was not repeated in 1985, members preferring

concentrate on their individual fields.

122

TABLE 6.7
1985
CULTIVATION ASSISTANCE TO MWAMAMBI MEMBERS, Me Fi
hired labor P 1

SOURCE OF ASSISTANCE

men some from husband


women no assistance
mostly alone

entirely alone

0
R S T

3
4 5 6 6 casual laborers
paid Ksh.700($43)
by husband
cultivated with S,

her sister-in-law

alone, stopped
illness

weeded with R

c ia aEoreF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . paid Ksh.50($3) hired for Ksh.160


($10) by husband help from 2 cultivated with V, her labor input

brothers'
sons V 8 husband's brother's 2 sons

brother's wife
cultivated with U,
husband's sister
cultivated with co wife and adult
daughter

restricted by

illness of mother

X Y

10 11 12 1 laborer paid Ksh.20 ($1)

helped by son's wife


mostly alone
culti vate wiTh Z,
cross-cousin
cultivated with Y,
cross-cousin
----------guarded by
husband (a
group member)
weee alone

12 1 -cutivated&

Me = Member

Fi = Field

123

Collective demands

labor

is not easy to enforce, competing as it does Work on the group's pipeline trench was

with
not

of one's own family.

well attended.

One of the reasons given for not fining absentees was that

this would be too difficult given the large number of good ..


aasons, such as
the illness
woman from

of

a child or other household member, which might


part. Attendance at group meetings was

prevent

taking rarely

similarly
which are

affected, occasions figure

exceeding half of the membership.

Funerals,

mobilizing the widest network of household-related as reasons for poor attendance. Among the

obligations,
persistent
of

prominently

absentees, leaving

two were in mourning for close kin, two were in the process

their husbands, one was afflicted by spirit possession, and

three

were usually away at work.

d.

Sources of Income

Only their

three

women

in the group had paid employment.

For

the

rest,

main sources of spending money were from makuti production, the sale
food and, given the seasonality and irregularity of these, cash

of cooked

given to them by their husbands.

The main season of makuti production is before the long rains, October
through March. Almost all Digo women in the area make makuti, usually while they chat with neighbors and friends. Ten to in
20

the afternoons

pieces can be made in a single day, selling at one shilling a piece. members season. "speaker reported Mwamambi master" making members who an average of 200 makuti each in the

Group
1984-85
to the
For

were asked to bring ten makuti a week

sold them from his home at the normal

price.

124

every

lot to

sold, the

five

shillings were taken by the

group

and

the sell from

rest
their
the

returned makuti

producer. the group,

Non-members were also invited to in which case a 10% cut was taken

through

proceeds.

Records were not kept of this enterprise, but on all accounts it

was reasonably successful, making some Ksh.700 ($43).

large

number of women had also tried baking bread and

cakes

made

from wheat main road.. in the The work over a sustain members Others the need members

and rice flour and selling them in and outside the shops by the
In the case of small bread and cakes, daily profits are usually
of three to eight shillings, or Ksh.90-248 ($6-15) a month.
slave
can
group
trade.
and

range

is extremely arduous and entails getting up before dawn to hot and smoky hearth every morning. for As a result, few Of in women the this

production interviewed,

more than a few months at a time. three were currently engaged

only

had given up for the time being because of exhaustion, illness to look after small children. had tried

Other forms of small trading group


and, in individual

included the sale of fresh fruit

cases, henna dye, kerosene, and dried shark meat. and conducted group member, by from the home without licenses. to set herself up as a

All of these were casual


In September, traditional 1985, doctor, one
was
($28)

planning

mortified

the heavy licensing fees which she had to pay Ksh.450

plus Ksh.25 ($2) per month.

Women as doing apply harvest to no

almost invariably describe income from these different more than "helping at home", a description which In no case

sources
also
the

they did

the

results of their agricultural labor.

of staple crops meet the subsistence requirements of the household

125

for more husbands Likewise,

than for

a few months. the

In the main, they are dependent of

upon the

their
year.
to

provision of cash and food through much

they are largely dependent upon them for their contributions

the women's group.

Those

members with employed husbands, almost two-thirds of the group,


Men working at the beach hotels,
wives

are in a relatively fortunate position. for example, might draw

wages which far exceed anything their unemployed

earn and range from Ksh.1,O00 to 1,8000 ($62-$111) a month depending


This income can be further supplemented by sales of
At the other end difficult of the

upon the type of work. copra scale, from those

the palms which men own and manage. without

husbands at all are in a more

position,
(see
Of

particularly Table 6.6). three

if they do not have grown children able to support them In such cases, it is not easy to sustain group membership.

inactive members, one, with three young children, had just separated
husband; and another, also with three dependent children, was

from her divorced;

the third was a widow with little means of support

beyond

her membership Of seven divorcees

in a dance group with its own revolving credit association.

women who had left the group shortly after joining it, four. were
with children to support. Thus, the most disadvantaged category

of women is effectively exeiuded from the group.

e.

Uses of Income

The group are

investments which homesteads are prepared to make in the conditioned credit by the sum of demands upon domestic

women's
A

income.

revolving

association which group members set up in April,

1985,

126

provides shillings requests

clear per week;

illustration of this.

Contributions were

set

at

ten
their

individual benefactors, chosen on the basis of

for assistance, received all of the money contributed.

Table 6.8

shows the amounts they received and the uses to which they put this money.

By

the

seventh

round, only 11 women were still

contributing.

The
what
in
that

association they owed paying

was therefore wound up and members set about calculating one another. Given the difficulty which they were ha-ing

their

ordinary group subscriptions, it is hardly

surprising

this should failed

have turned into a revolving debit association. of the problem it was designed to

In effect, it
the

because

alleviate:

considerable pressure placed upon domestic income.

Some

household

expenses

are

recurrent,

others

irregular

and
from

unpredictable.

Some (like funerals and bridewealth payments) derive

the structure of households and the obligations between them. contributions indirectly production househo'd woman to harambees, originate in demands imposed

Others, like
directly and

upon households by the state. have already been outlined.

The constraints placed upon food


A significant proportion of the
A

income has to be diverted towards securing basic subsistence.

living alone estimated that she needed Ksh.15 ($0.93) a day, Ksh.450

($28) a month, to spend on food plus a further Ksh.30-45 a month for water.
For a couple, the monthly food bill can rise to Ksh.750 ($46) a month, ($56-74) if they have small children. These figures can or
be

Ksh.900-1,200

compared with the wagc. levels cited above.

127

TABLE 6.8 USE OF INCOME BY MWAMAMBI GROUP MEMBERS, 1985 (in Kenya shillings)

Date 17 April

Amount Ksh.200 ($12)

Benefactor and Use One of the original group members. Spent on treatment for her spirit possession (the expenses for this can come to Ksh.2,000 plus). The chairwoman. Ksh.160 spent on poles for building a new house after her old house had fallen down. The rest spent on food. The vice-treasurer. Her son had been sent home from school for failing to bring a Ksh.200 "building" contribution. The money went towards this. To a woman whose husband was seriously ill and had not responded to hospital treatment. Spent on taking him round to traditional doctors (he died shortly after). The vice-secretary. Spent on bandages and medicine for her small son who was in the hospital in Mombasa after breaking a leg. One of the SDA's sisters. Spent on a new pair of crutches for her daughter, a polio victim at a special school in Mombasa. The secretary. Spent on treatment for her mother's spirit possession. This took place in Likoni (Mombasa) and cost some Ksh.2,400 ($148).

25 April

Ksh.190 ($12)

9 May

Ksh.170 ($11)

16 May

Ksh.140 ($9)

23 May

Ksh.130 ($8)

6 June

Ksh.11O ($7)

1 August

Ksh.100 ($6)

128

Non-recurrent Table 6.8.

expenses

are

manifold.

A number of these

appear

in
cost

A four-roomed house built largely of local materials can ($309) to build;

Ksh.5,000 ($618). resources patients

a coral and cement house upwards to Ksh.10,000

Illness is not only a drain upon labor but also upon the financial
of to a buy household, especially when government their own medicines and other hospitals require
and

materials.

Burial

funerals can cost around Ksh.1,000 ($62); long period wide range of of mourning Ksh.1O,000-20,O00 kin. Bridewealth and

the ceremony which concludes the


($618-1,236), collected from are cost in the relatives ($1,545) been range a
of

payments

Ksh.2,000-4,000 between elaborate thus).

($124-247), ($93)

a wedding can

anything
for an

Ksh.1,500 event

for a plain do and Ksh.25,000

(only one group member, the secretary, had

treated

Bridewealth education. asked to

payments

tend to correlate with the level of

bride's

Primary education is free in theory.

In practice, parents are


schools,
of having
school

make frequent contributions towards the maintenance of and the purchase of educational materials on threat

buildings their

children barred from the classroom.

These demands vary from

to school, each of Ksh.2,000 households. those are in with a

and parents may find themselves paying Ksh.500 ($31) a year for
children at primary school.. per annum. Secondary school fees average
most

their

($124) Group

This places a considerable burden upon Only a small

members suffer accordingly.

proportion,
remittances,
educational

working children (mainly sons) who can send them position to benefit from the end results of. the

process (see Table 6.6 above).

129

4. Gender, Differentiation, and Group Leadership

Not all group members fall into the pattern described above. employed core of

Some are

and some own their own land.


Among these is a small but powerful
related women who have succeeded in escaping the dominant pattern

of gender relations. of the

With the exception of the chairwoman, all are members


and

SDA's immediate family.


These include her two younger sisters brother's wife, the group secretary. The SDA and her from

her younger siblings father. from the for a

junior
their

jointly
own and manage five plots if land inherited

As well as living on and cultivating this land, they sell coconuts


palms which grow there and have two houses rented out by the room
of some Ksh.l,600 ($99) per month. All three sisters were

total

educated

through their father's foresight and worked successively as adult


The SDA returned home after taking vp her present job:
dead, was Tanzanian and so absent for much of the year.

education teachers. her husband, now

The second sister was teaching in a nearby settlement when her class became
one of Rural the first experimental women's groups in Kenya under Programme in 1971. the Special
met

Development

She left to become a nurse and

her current The third Ksh.1,000

partner, half-sister

a clinical officer and Giriama who lives

elsewhere.
earning
group's

is now a full-time adult education teacher

($62) a month.
The brother and husband of the Mwamambi

secretary also works in Mombasa.


His wife is paid Ksh.300 ($19) a month as
the Tototd coordinator and in September, 1985, began receiving Ksh.150 ($9)
a month as Mwamambi's part-time adult education teacher.
The role of In sum, an the
her

SDA in the
group's development has already beer, documented. family exercises considerable influence within the group,

influence

which will probably grow over time.

130

The

chairwoman,

also a relative of the SDA, acquired control of

her

father's two fields by taking advantage of the land registration that began
in the area in 1978-79. to leave There were no male heirs, and she took and the
her
from
a

opportunity elder sales year). sons,

her husband and lodge a claim for herself

sister (now dead). of fruit, This who

This land provides her with a small income Ksh.1,000 two

cashewnuts, and coconuts (less than

($62)

income is supplemented by remittances from her

working

send Ksh.300 ($19) per month without their father's

knowledge.
house

She does with four This is a decided group

not plan to remarry and in September, 1985, was building a rooms to rent, making the most of her newly independent route to capital accumulation which the group itself after the failure of its water project, the

status.
has now

to

follow:

Mwamambi
time

set about acquiring a roadside plot to build upon, at the same

opening a small shop near its meeting place.

In

a double sense, then, the group is witness to an emergent

process

of differentiation. a potential has yet

First, its internal composition and leadership favors

class of accumulators, though any conflict this might engender


Second, it virtually excludes the most

to come out into the open.

vulnerable households, those headed by women with young children.

5.

Summary Discussion

Mwamambi stage sustain of

Women's

Group provides an example of a group in its The limited ability of members'

first
to
of

development. the group

households failure

financially is evidenced by the

repeated

133

C.

THE CORPORATE ENTREPRENEUR: MIDODONI WOMEN'S GROUP

The 30 miles women are

Midodoni women's group meets in rolling palm-covered

countryside

north of Mombasa. Jibana predominate in this area, although many


Chonyi following a pattern of intermarriage between and very closely-related Mijikenda groups. these two

neighboring group, was the

A third

related Midodoni It had

Giriama, is steadily encroaching upon land to the south. first women's group to be formed in the location in 1981.

been joined by 14 others by November, 1985.

1. The Midodoni Project

The

Midodoni

women's group is distinguished by having early found

very committed enterprises Its first state, state.

ally, allowing it to pursue a dazzling array of the leadership oi its dynamic and powerful however, was not untypical for a group in its prospect of assistance except that

successful
chairwoman.
formative
by the

under year,

with

little

provided

The the chief, Ksh.50

group formed in 1981 through the collaboration of the area's SDA,


and as the group's future chairwoman. a yearly They membership fee, with Twenty-nine a weekly women paid

($5)

two-shilling
that

subscription. domestic

were quick to choose a water project, raasoning

hygiene and other projects such as rearing stock first required a


of water. The first year the members tried to raise money by

good supply baking and

selling chapati bread arid growing maize on a borrowed

field.

Neither effort succeeded.

134

a. Midodoni Project and Its Organization

The eldest

big break came in 1982, engineered by Midodoni's chairwoman whose


daughter worked for Faith and Development (FAD), a church-based

international NGO in Nairobi. to the Nairobi office

With her encouragement, the chairwoman wrote


assistance. As a result of this

requesting

initiative, projects difficult FAD-Project, operations

the Midodoni Project was born, one of a large number of Kenyan


Tf at times in the following description it is
Midodoni-the-women's-group in reality the lines and Midodoni-the
the that two the

assisted by FAD. to separate this are

is because

between

extremely blurred.

It is a blurred distinction

group, and particularly the chairwoman, seek to maintain.

The primarily committee report people: was the

Project with was

was the

designed

to

help

the

local

community, Women's

working
A
to

village school and with Midodoni

Group. job was

set

up, including eight group members, whose

to FAD/Nairobi.

Staff were hired and included the following a social worker,

local
who

a manager/bookkeeper, a young Chonyi man; women's group chairwoman; extension they

a project worker, a Jibana man;

and an
In

agricultural October,

worker, a Chonyi school leaver from the area. were being paid the following monthly

1985,

salaries:
social
All

bookkeeper/manager worker Ksh.810 due

Ksh.1,000 ($62);

project worker Ksh.900 ($56);

($50);

agricultural extension worker Ksh.650 ($40). The Project itself had ($24,775)

were shortly yearly budget

to receive 50% raises. by FAD:

a large
and

supplied

Ksh.360,720

in 1984,

Ksh.330,260 ($20,412) in 19C3.

131

attempts

to maintain revolving credit associations that depend on from individual members.

regular

contributions women that from seen

At this early stage, the funds the

raise were still largely generated from within their own community is, from members' contributions, from communal makuti production, and
harambee as events. Donations from neighboring women's groups investments coming back to them can and be
not,
has

Mwamambi's speaking, 80%

original

strictly spent

as an external source of funds.

In all, Mwamambi to obtain

some

of its group resources in an effort

external

support, an investment which has yet to pay off.

While Mwamambi may be an extreme case, it nevertheless illustrates the


effects of indirect taxation by the state on women'3 grnups. important Groups are an
serving
technical
community

element in the government's local development strategy, through to which the state cnn channel financial and

as a vehicle assistance projects. cost to (cooking,

rural areas and izi turn provide support to other services are extracted from the groups at

These them,

considerable
labor
guests,

and they face regular and frequent demands for their project construction) and resources (food for

dancing,

harambee contributions).

Mwamambi also shows an emergent pattern of social differentiation. the one hand, the group is dependent on one family who provide a

On

dynamic

core of members. through

All have escaped the dominant pattern of gender relations

education, formal employment, inheritance, and, in the case of the


These relatively privileged women bring

chairwomen, remittances from sons.

to the group the resources, connections, and self-confidence it has lacked.


On the other hand, the absence of a functioning enterprise means that the

132

from
members
must
continue to require labor and cash contributions While such
demands are
with no guaranteed
return on their investment. some women to withdraw from the
difficult for all members, they have forced group male kin to support them.
group.
These are women without husbands or

The resulted, financial have been wives

transformation
of for
local

the

coastal strip into


a

tourist

paradise

residents,

in a shift
in productive

roles,
new
men
their

alienated, constraints,
and new opportunities.
Their land forced to
seek wage labor in the tourist industry, and

have

the sole responsibility fcr taken on

subsistence
production.

This shift Mwamambi. women have

of agriculture in
in
roles has caused a general deterioration for sale,
With
little food produced and virtually no surplus become increasingly dependent on male wages;
the food they

is now purchased from shops by


formerly
grew with help from their husbands a migrant
However,
it is also true that the influx of their husbands. created new opportunities for
labor force tied
to
the tourist industry has groups are
the rental housing market
- an area women's local people in
beginning to explore.

To

this

point,
the story of Mwamambi conforms to the

classic

model

of large-scale
economic
wherein
women's position deteriorates as a result relatively
easy
However, in this area local practice permits changes. to women.
If economic
divorce and therefore
a measure of independence Regrettably few
take advantage of them. opportunities exist, women can
such opportunities do.

135

b. Project, Community, Group

Much school

of FAD's funding comes from overseas sponsorships of

individual
by the

children.

In Midodoni, the work this entails is handled titled Sponsor Relations Department, which

Project's

grandiosely

is the

responsibility are selected, attending for those small

6f its project worker. Children from the most needy homes

photographed, and reported upon every year. For children


paid;
letter,
Project
made.
In.

secondary in primary

schools, sponsorship means that their fees are school, it means receiving the occasional the

gift,

and, more important, school uniforms.

In 1984,

paid Ksh.2,880 Following this,

($198) to an Indian firm in Mombasa to have uniforms the women's group decided to get in on the same act.

December, the Project paid Ksh.6,800 ($467) for two Singer sewing machines,
duly installed in the chairwoman's house. In November, 1985, the group
teach
to be

held a harambee and raised Ksh.7,608 ($470) to pay a young woman to members to sew. By April, 1986, the Midodoni group was reported

doing a roaring trade in sewing school uniforms.

As

a result

of

the

Project's

agricultural

extension

worker's

instruction, planting 1985, casual

most group members have switched from traditional practice tc


Moreover, in 1984 and
pay
the

in lines, and most have vegetable gardens.

members laborerl;

were allocated substantial sums from Project funds -to to cultivate and weed their fields. In 1985 alone

total for this came to Ksh.21,500 ($1,329) and was divided among 43 members
at $31 a member.

136

The area, shows

agricultural extension worker visited other women's groups in the


Table 6.9
1982

but the Midodoni group received the most direct benefit. sales

of crops grown on the group's collective fields between The Project has brought a demonstrable

and late defraying

1985.

improvement,

expenses, expanding the acreage under cultivation, and improving


Harvested

yields through the use of modern techniques and chemical inputs. crops

are stored at the chairwoman's home, where storage was built for the
and a small portion of each harvest is distributed among group

purpose, members. (less

In November, 1985, each member received a small measure of beans


one kg.) from the latest harvest, in recognition of the labor

than

she had contributed.

TABLE 6.9 MIDODONI GROUP CROP SALES, 1982-85 (in Kenya shillings) Crop
Beans

1982
1,391"

1983
--

1984
--

1985
-

Maize
Vegetables

---

1,700
--

2,620
548

5,038
500

1,391 ($109)

1,700 ($124)

3,168 ($218)

5,538 ($342)

Ksh.757 spent by the group on seed and tractor hire

137

The difficulty scheme they are husbands. of to

Project

has

plans to introduce dairy grade cattle but

has

had

in acquiring a suitable plot.

The Project has also initiated a


arguing left by that
their

build small houses for recently bereaved widows, often unable to maintain the larger dwellings

The work is done by local builders and so far three people, two

.. group members, have benefited.


m

c. The Water Project

Midodoni

Project's most ambitious venture has been in organizing

and

financing the group's water project. 1984, brought

The first phase, completed in August,


around

piped water two miles from the mainline to the area

the school. and west. on the its cost

The second and third phases will extend the water supply east
Project accounts record an expense of some Koh.292,000 ($20,055)
of

water project between May, 1983, and September, 1985, over half to date. Much of the rest has been made up by

the government.

The sources of funding and other aid are shown in full in Table 6.10.

Four

water

kiosks 1985.

were built and fitted for the sale

of

water to

in
the
of

August-September, women's meters

The sales of water from these are to go

group, and in late 1985 they were waiting for the installation and a license before beginning their trade. began the year before: Work on

individual
had

extensions

by October, 1985, 17 group members

standpipes outside their homes. charge

They were, moreover, drawing water free of


Other residents without access to

in the absence of any meters.

this water continued to collect water from the local spring, a quarter of a
mile from the school. Work was also in progress to provide group members
roofs

with concrete

storage jars to collect and hold rainwater from their

as a precaution against failure of the piped supply.

138

TABLE 6.10 FUNDING FOR MIDODONI WATER PROJECT (InKenya shillings) Year 1982 Source Ministry of Culture and Social Services 1983 1984 1985 1983-85 TOTAL Ministry of Water Development U.S. Embassy Ministry of Health FAD 183,274 42,000 10,000 292,000 537,274 ($37,720) Amount 10,000

2. Satisfying the State, Manipulating NGO's

a. Public Image

The demands

Midodoni from the

group is no less subject than other women's state. In July, 1985, at the request of

groups the

to

local

sub-chief, area.

group members worked on repairing the dirt road that serves the they cooked bananas and took them to the Four divisional days later

In October, for

headquarters

a meeting celebrating World Food Day.

-they trekked again to the divisional headquarters to sing before the guests
at an all-day assembly marking Kenyatta Day. Over the past year the group

139

spent

Ksh.3,470 ($214) on matching dresses and headscarves to wear on such


Earlier in the month they were detained at a village meeting by
who instructed them how to present food for visitors on

occasions. their

sub-chief Day

Kenyatta

and how to curtsy and sing before them. for food while honored officials feasted.

On the day Failing

itself, to get

they queued

anything at all to eat, the women returned home hungry.

One

of

the speakers at this assembly was the Midodoni Women's

Group

chairwoman. area's

The local member of Parliament later asked her to tour all the
and press for the formation of more women's groups.
bolstered

sub-locations

This is some measure of the extent to which the Midodoni group,

by FAD, has succeeded in working within the framework of state obligations.


The water project is directly in line with state development objectives, a
The

fact reflected in the considerable government funding it has received.

Project itself paid for the roof of the local school's new classroom, while
its agricultural related addition, program matches perfectly the message most frequently
In

at government and party rallies and meetings in the district. the group has proposed a variety of other community

projects:

the building for women.

of a nursery school, a dispensary, and provision of a market

In August,

1985, the FAD Project's committee was changed to

reflect
Three
the
two

this role and "bring development to the village" with greater haste. group members the were dropped and five state employees taken on: and

sub-chief,

SDA, the local agricultural technical assistant,

headmasters of area primary schools. now works closely

The government agricultural assistant


worker. In

with the Project's agricultural extension

140

this and other respects, the FAD Project has been appropriated by the state

as an extension of its own development efforts, while through its community

program and school sponsorships, it helps insulate local households from

the demands which the state imposes upon them.

That harambee 1985,

this

emerging partnership is largely one-sided is reflected At the Midodoni group's harambee, provided 52% of Ksh.6,052 raised

in

contributions. groups

in November,
(33% from the

women's

Midodoni group itself, 19% from other groups). the contribution organizations. mere 4%.
from NGO's, 54% of the

As Table 6.11 shows, adding


total came from voluntary

State personnel, who did most of the talking, contributed a

TABLE 6.11
CONTRIBUTIONS TO MIDODONI GROUP'S HARAMBEE, 11/85
(In Kenya shillings)
Category Women's Groups NGO's State Donors Midodoni members 11 other women's groups Tototo and staff World Education visitors Agricultural officer Councillor SDA Chief Guest of honor Local school leaver Collection made by the
husband of a Midodoni member Contribution 2,000 1,131 600 400 31
100 40
50
1,000
500 200
Ksh.6,052 ($374)
3,131 1,000 % 52 17

221

Other

1,700

28

*headmistress of a secondary school in Midodoni

141

b. Making the Most of Friends

As besides Tototo

Table 6.11 indicates, the Midodoni group has secured another FAD: has Tototo Home Industries. However, much to its

ally

annoyance,
and

had to operate in the shadow of its international cousin,

Tototo's involvement with and influence upon the group has been eclipsed by
that of in its FAD. The group has not been interested in Tototo's training, only
resources. For their part, the Tototo staff style of leadership anathema, and on from the group find the

financial

chairwoman's they have chairwoman, of funds.

authoritarian considered

occasion
The
source
for

withdrawing

altogether.

meanwhile, continues to look upon Tototo as a possible In

October, 1985, she was busy pursuing Tototo's director In the same month, 31 women

help in securing a bank loan to buy a tractor. introduced deposited a savings club

Tototo
and

for Midodoni members;

joined

Ksh.442 ($27).

The following month Ksh.490 ($30) was deposited.

The accounts

of the club, however, were in complete shambles following the

chairwoman's receipt of payments outside of scheduled meetings.

c. Palms, Copra, and Women

The chairwoman's most spectacular manipulation has been of FAD itself.


Some instances of this have already been cited. than in the It is nowhere more evident
enterprise: the

establishment of the Midodoni group's main

production and sale of copra, a cash crop obtained from coconuts.

In the early years, the group had considerable difficulty in obtaining


land for fields either cultivation or construction of a meeting place. were borrowed or rented for short periods. Different
1984,

Then in August,

the group

and Project embarked upon a new track, acquiring assets in land,

142

palms,

and tree prnduce using the considerable financial resources at disposal. for this Over the next few months, Ksh.31,680 purpose, mostly to local landown.rs ($2,176) compelled

the
were
by

Project's paid out

financial circumstances to raise mortgages on their property. transactions are detailed in Table 6.12 below.

The separate

Three outright produce, coconuts lower

types purchase

of of

transactions are represented in this land (one case). Second, the

list. of

First,
palm of

mortgaging

the loan to be redeemed upon the collection of a fixed number

by the mortgagee (the women's group), the fruit valued at a price the going market rate (two cases). Third, the mortgaging of

than

land and/or palms to be redeemed upon repayment of the original loan within
a fixed may be (four cases) or indefinite period (two cases). Pailure to redeem

avoided by transfer of the mortgage to another mortgagee or settled

by outright sale of the land.

Thus, fields

by

acting as a mortgagee, the group has acquired its two

main

and a host of rights in trees, especially palms, and their produce.


not have been achieved without the funding unwittingly provided
The idea to start acquiring palms originated with the group's
news
Two

This could by FAD. chairwoman of this reasons

and was approved by the Project committee.

However, when stop.

reached

FAD's headquarters, they ordered payments to the enterprise clearly did not benefit the

were given:

community
This was in
number of

as a whole, and it made FAD look like a financial institution. December, payments 1984. had Needless to say, it was too late. funds A large

already

been made from Project

involving

long-term
Project

commitments

of up to 10 years.

Future dealings were shifted from

to group accounts.

143

TABLE 6.12
MIDODONI GROUP'S ACQUISITION OF ASSETS

(in Kenya shillings)


Date
August/
November
1984
September
1984
Payment 2,500 in two payments 4,040 in two payments 1,200 Nature of Transaction
30 coconut palms pledged to group
for a period of 5 years by an owner
who wanted to raise the money to
send his daughter to secondary school
17 orange and tangerine trees together
with coconut palms pledged for a period
of 8 years. To enable the owner to
send his son to secondary school.
To be returned in the form of 2,400
coconuts valued at 50 cents each. So
that the owner could pay his son's
secondary school fees.
47 palms pledged for an indefinite
period. The owner (now dead) did this
to redeem his debt on the same palms to
a previous mortgage. The present
mortgage must now be redeemed by his
sons.
100 palms pledged for a period of 10
years. The owner's daughter had left
her husband and returned to her father;
he needed the money return her
to bridewealth.
100 palms pledged (period not stated)
by the sub-chief so that he could buy
cattle for zero-grazing.
To be repaid as 1,000 coconuts valued
at 50 cents each. To enable the owner
to send his daughter to a nearby
village polytechnic.
Purchase outright of two acres
of
farmland (without palms). Sold by a
young man to pay bridewealth for his
wife-to-be.
1-3/4 acres of farmland with palms
pledged to the Project for a period of
9 years so that the owner could repay
bridewealth received for his daughter,
now separated from her husband.

September
1984

September
1984

1,440

October
1984

5,500 in two payments

October
1984
October
1984

5,000

500

October
1984

5,500

December
1984/
September
1985

6,000 in two payments

Ksh.31,680 ($2,176)

144

The group

enterprise the

has

proved very successful, providing to continue its investments without

the FAD

Midodoni
funds.
are

with

means

Reccrded

sales

of copra and fruit in the first eight months of

1985

shown in Table 6.13.

TABLE 6.13
MIDODONI GROUP SALES, 1985
(in Kenya shillings)
Type of produce sold copra oranges and tangerines copra oranges copra copra copra copra copra income 4,133 250 1,814 300 3,400 2,800 2,400 4,100 700 Ksh.19,897 ($1,240)

Month January February March April May June August TOTAL

In September, 1985, the group had a healthy bank balance of Ksh.29,850


($1,844), purchase excess income of and the chairwoman was setting her sights on another enterprise:
of a tractor to hire out to local farmers. the Given a demand far in
in an

meager supply, she estimated that this could bring A tractor and its

of Ksh.10,000 ($618) in two months.

accessories

145

were priced

at Ksh.286,000 ($17,676).

This would require a loan.

To this

end, the chairwoman talked to church officials in Nairobi, visited banks in


Mombasa officer, Meanwhile, with Tototo, and wrote letters to the area and SDA. Nothing had been councillor, by district
1986.
a

chief,

arranged

early

the group had embarked upon yet another enterprise - opening

shop in a building owned by the chairwoman's husband.

In acted

its acquisition of palms and other assets, the Midodoni group as a corporate entrepreneur. described a study by based David upon Parkin

has

This represents a novel variation upon


Parkin (1972) in his research among found that the Palms, Giriama Wine, of and

the process Witnesses, Tsakarolovu entrepreneurs to secure pursue time, and some

nearby
Giriama
and
to same the Among

in 1966-67.

individual

male

were obliged to cultivate local networks of information approval of local elders and household heads in At order the from

the

validate successful

their transactions in land and palms. entrepreneurs achieved partial

release

redistributional the Jibana plays

demands of peasant economy by converting to Islam.

of the area studied, conversion to fundamentalist

Christianity

a similar role, releasing converts from the obligation to drink palm


their neighbors and divert cash towards the meat-sharing

wine with

ceremonies which are characteristic if funerals and other ritual occasions.


Among converts, both of these practices are strongly disapproved. also disapproved by the state. renders coconuts useless as They are

In 1979, the collection of palm wine, which


a source of copra, was banned by the
and

government.

However, its consumption continues, although less openly

on a much reduced scale.

146

As group

corporate entrepreneur legitimated by the state, commensal obligations; its involvement

the in

Midodoni
community

is spared

development cultivate information these and

fulfills a parallel purpose. local contacts; more

It has relatively little need to


the wider networks of

important are

which have secured access to outside funds. its high profile of in the community are

Its possession of
to draw

sufficient

laxdowners

in need

loans towards it.

The

pattern of these needs, meanwhile, has changed partly as a result


state intervention. Where Parkin found that bridewealth
majority
a

of increasing demands

and, to a lesser extent, sickness and death prompted the transactions

of Tsakarolovu

in land and palms, this small sample shows

strikingly different pattern. as their main motive for

Four out of nine landowners gave school fe!s


mortgaging property, while only three cited

bridewealth expenses (two of these were for the return of bridewealth for a
daughter; findings were all Midodoni see Table 6.12). and males group's The second striking difference between these

Parkin's is that, whereas in Tsakarolovu, the accumulating purchases capital in a normatively represent an unparalleled male

entrepreneurs
domain, to the
women
women's
local
scale

shift

accumulating group is

capital in a male domain.

Boosted by FAD funds, the None of the

beginning to outstrip its local competitors. mostly

male entrepreneurs,

related to group members, can match the

and diversity of the group's enterprises.

Meanwhile, in Midodoni's Nguvu group's eye.

a pattern of competition and uneasy alliance is reproduced


relations with other groups in the area. One of these, the
the

Coconut Business Self-Help Group, was founded by the husband of chairwoman in late 1984. Unlike

To put it mildly, they do not see eye to


Christian, an

his wife, Nguvu's chairman is only a nominal

147

inveterate which Project on Sunday once

boozer housed

of palm wine and a failed entrepreneur. his own shop he now rents to the women's

The

building
the

group,

agricultural extension worker, and the bus conductor.

Nguvu meets
It

mornings, when all self-respecting Christians are at church.

was registered in April, 1985, with the aim of producing and selling copra.
In October copra another to build grade grade to it paid out Ksh.335 ($21) for 670 coconuts, dried and sold the local cooperative for Ksh.587 ($36). By November as

it had

3,510 coconuts pled&ed to it by local landowners. the

The group hoped


second
inferior
local
give
on
(his
own
male

only drying hut in the area and to produce first and

copra which could then be sold for a higher price than the copra produced by the Midodoni Women's Group and

other to

entrepreneurs. advice on

Government

agricultural

officers had

promised

the construction of this facility, and Nguvu's chairman was for not a loan for this purpose, complaining that give him any help or access to the women's Following the untimely death of Midodoni group's Nguvu's

the lookout wife) would of

channels secretary, extension replied someone

informatiin.

he asked his wife if he could borrow the Project's agricultural


worker until another literate member coul' be taken on. She

by advising him to do the job himself, relinquishing the chair for


else. Nguvu's treasurer is also a man, but 14 of its 24 members
Eleven
Women's

are women, of these Group, rented

and it is the only mixed group of its kind in the area. women have also become members of the nearby Urafiki

formed in August, 1985. a field at

Urafiki members started selling makuti and


Nguvu's chairman was

Ksh.300 ($19) for two years.

understandably Nguvu and in

worried November

that this would detract from their was busily exhorting the women to

commitment
to
pay up their

Ksh.300 Nguvu shares before subscribing to Urafiki.

148

3. Households, Gender, and Differentiation

Corporate status women of the upon

entrepreneurship

does

not

automatically

confer

uniform
are
Most
gender

individual members, particularly when these

individuals

and the fruits of entrepreneurship are not divided among them. women in the Midodoni group are lo-ked in a pattern of

relations

and differentiation from which they have yet to be extricated by

participation in the group.

a. Members and Their Households

In Chonyi

late 1985, the group had 45 me.nbers, all of them women. and Jibana women who had married into the area: 18 Chonyi, and 2 Girama. but very few were literate.

Most were

of 43 surveyed, 23
primary
a

were Jibana, education, sample skewed of

A number had received some

The youngest member was 19, and age

more than half of the group members shows an

distribution
of

toward older women.

This reflects the chairwoman's recruitment

her age peers together with junior womvn from their extended households.

TABLE 6.14
MIDODONI MEMBERS' AGE IN YEARS

15-19 1

20-24 1

25-29 5

30-34 3

35-39 3

40-44 1

45-49 3

50-54 4

55-59 4

60-64
3

Table sample. that found

6.15 The

provides

further

information on the 28

women

in this
to
of

structure of households and residence is broadly similar There are, however, two important points

in Mwamambi.

149

contrast

with Mvamambi - a difference in the structure of gender relations

and the degree and form of capital penetration in this area.

First,

the

rate of divorce and separation is extremely

low;

among

group members it is non-existent. were widows, older married be taken members

Thirty-five members were married and ten


of
been

the large number of widows reflecting the high proportion and a low rate of remarriage. Only one woman had

more than once after being widowed by her first husband.

This can
area.

as a measure of the strength of the peasant economy in the

Put another

way, women in this locale remain more firmly under the control

of men, and divorce is not a very viable option.

If a woman runs away from her husband, then her father must return her
bridewealth. fortunes, Table Fathers are not often happy to entertain such a reversal it well may plunge them into debt (note the two cases of
in

since

6.12).

Midodoni bridewealth payments are double those in Mwamambi.


This
mark

Ksh.6,000 ($371) can be asked for a daughter whether educated or not. lack of of the to group husband distinction between educated and uneducated brides is a sure comparative strength of the peasant economy. membership. to join the A wife requires the explicit Male control permission even

extends
of her
new

group, and the chairwoman has

recruited

members by approaching husbands and asking them to get their wives to join.
When one of the group members died, her husband remarried but decided that

his wife's membership in the group (and her position in it as calculated by


her past her son's subscriptions) should be inherited within her own household. wife was drafted into the group and assumed payment of her subscriptions. asset of In this way, the male household At So
dead
head
the

mother-in-law's retained group's the

group membership within his

homestead.

second savings club meeting, women expressed fears that their club

150

TABLE 6.15
MIDODONI MEMBERS: GENERAL INFORMATION
Age 19 23 27 28 29 29 Marital Status M M M M M M # of Children 1 2 1 5 4 3 Those Died Husband's Employment Mombasa locally (= Project Worker) Mombasa -- locally Mombasa Member's Employment Position in Group and project new treasurer, Proj. committee member

sec. school teacher

Project committee treasurer

29
29 31

M
M M

6
3 4

Mombasa
Mombasa Garissa

32
35 35 36 40 45 47

M
M W M M W M

9
8 6 3 7 6 9 1 1 1 2 1

locally
Mombasa -- Kaloleni locally -- locally

ex-Project committee member vice-chairwoman, exProj. comm. member vice-treasurer, Project committee secretary chairwoman, Project committee member group comm. member group comm. member old treasurer group comm. member Proj. comm. member Proj. comm. member

49
51 52 52 54 55 56 56 56 60 60 62

M
M M M M W M M W M M M

10
8 11

--
Mombasa

Project social worker


---

10 3 12 9. 11 5 8 10

1
2 6 2

? -------

1
6

---- ----

membership, inherited children). of same by

and therefore their accumulated share of the savings, might be


children other than their own (for example, a co-wife's

Such decisions are normally taken by men.

The meek submission

group members to their chairwoman's dominance is part and parcel of the


syndrome: most were not prepared by their experience at home for any

other role.

151

The

second

point of compari3on with Mwamambi lies in the

nature

of

male employment. employment

As in Mwamambi, a laige number of men find and remain in


Of those group members with living husbands,

until retirement.

65% of these husbands are employed, as shown in Table 16.16.

TABLE 6.16
MIDODONI HUSBANDS' EMPLOYMENT

NO HUSBAND widowe-d
10 n-44

HUSBAND EMPLOYED in Mombasa/elsewhere


16

HUSBAND UNEMPLOYED retired


4

locally
6

no work
8

Because rent

of the distances involved, men working in Mombasa usually have

to

accommodation there, returning tu their homes only on weekends.

This

provides regular Only

an additional drain upon their income, although they are at least


visitors to their homes, not migrant laborers in the full sense.

a few invest in palms other than their own, and there is considerable
variation in the amount of financial help they give to their
the
and
three

individual wives. group. 1985 most by

This Table

variation is reflected in their wives' contributions to 6.17 records the total subscriptions paid between 1981 The

the 31 women who joined the group in its first year.

regular contributors had husbands who can be classed as accumulators.


men living at home are liable to divert what income they have

Otherwise,

towards the consumption of palm wine. than by

Widows are not necessarily worse off


supported

their married neighbors if they have no dependents and are older children.

Some, however, are not so fortunate, such as the woman

at the bottom of Table 6.17, a widow with a daughter and grandchild at home
to support.

152

TABLE 6.17
MIDODONI GROUP SUBSCRIPTIONS, 1981-1985
(in Kenya shillings)

Group Member
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.




committee

Subscriptions Paid 626 608 604 600 596 596 567 558 558 556 542 534 532 530 526 526 523 517 509 496 470 464 456 447 436 413 413 403 395 364 218





























Husband's Occupation
none, accumulator of palms
none, accumulator of palms
Mombasa, owner of Project Office
none
no husband
no husband
Mombasa
none, retired
Mombasa
no husband
local
Divisional HQ
none
none
Mombasa
no husband
local
local
local
none
Mombasa
none
Mombasa
Mombasa
none, retired
no husband
no husband
none, retired
Mombasa
none
no husband

7. vice-secretary
8. chairwoman
9. secretary
10.
11. vice-chairman
12. committee
13.
14. committee
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20. old treasurer
21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

vice treasurer

committee





153

b.

Women's Income, Cultivation, and Differentiation

Apart from the cash supplied by their husbands or children, most women
have access little to comparatively little income. for cooked food. on There is no local market other and
fruit

demand

Some women sell bananas and

from their homes extent, product then ten men make

a casual basis.

Women, children, and, to of

a lesser
the same more kept women group

roofing

makuti, sold for half the price

in Mwamambi. goats,

Otherwise, many women keep small herds of not These are Married their

often bought for them by their husbands. rituals to their or sold when occasion demands. for help

for meat-sharing generally look

husbands

in paying

subscriptions.

Most

women cultivate fields owned by their husbands and husbands' kin


the bulk of agricultural labor. Group members make

and perform

considerable use of casual labor on their fields, as a rule employing other


women. members laborers members ($31) Table in the employed 6.18 details the agricultural enterprises of several long by rains of 1985. Some, but not all, Project of the group
casual
Group
Ksh.500

these women were paid from

funds.

were granted an average of Ksh.400 ($27) each in 1984 and

each in 1985 for this purpose, although some women claimed much less
received more (one is recorded as having used Ksh.1,620 funds over the two years). to ($105)

and others from Project

Large as they are, these sums are


agricultural
work on
into

not sufficient labor, their and

cover all of the women's requirements for

many

added their own labor and/or money to complete

fields.

Moreover, this assistance did not translate directly productivity, which was more closely linked to soil

agricultural

quality,

154

TABLE 6.18

MIDODONI GROUP'S CULTIVATION, 1985

Area

Cultv.

Harvest

of

Me Fi T 1

Owner husband

in acres

Labor and Costs

Crops

Staple

Comments

2-1/4
prepared by tractor
for Ksh.500 from
Proj. money & most
of cultivation done
by a permanent laborer
paid Ksh.500 a month
by her
1
weeded by 4 Jibana
women paid her.
1/2 acre cultivated
by laborers using
Project money, the
rest herself
4 women paid a
total of Ksh.120 to

cultivate; weeded
herself.

maize good
no palms on this
(3/4)
field and enough
beans
maize grown to
(1/4)
last all year.

U 2 3

husband

rice maize

husband 1
of parallel
cousin-
borrowed
3/4

1-1/2
only enough for
sacks
a few months; by
November buying
maize poor
maize flour from
(3/4)
the shops.
beans
(1/4)
maize good
fertilizer & pesti cassava
cide used (her

V 4 husband

husband is the Proj.


worker). Enough
maize to last for
more than a year.
maize very
cassava good
cow-peas

5 husband

1-1/2

3 women & one man


paid a total of
Ksh.360 to prepare
the field. Five
laborers paid Ksh.
500 from Proj. money

to weed.
V 6 husband 2
2 Duruma and 2
maize 3 sacks
insufficient
Jibana women
cassava
for the year.
employed, adding on
money to Proj. grant
(as above)
maize 1 basket
crop shaded by
closely growing
palms

7 husband

155

TABLE 6.18 (cont.)


Area
Cultv.
in acres Labor and Costs
2
3 Jibana women paid
a total of Ksh.240;
also worked herself
& guarded with her
children.
Harvest of Staple 1 sack

Me Fi X 8

Owner elder brother

Crops rice

Comments
poor, too many
weeds.

9 husband

1
cultivated herself
maize with 2 Duruma and 2
Jibana women paid
Ksh.350. Weeded for
Ksh.150 (money from
the Project).

1 sack

buying maize fl~r


from the shops.

Y 10 neighbor 1-1/2
5 Jibana women paid
maize 10 sacks
field with good
rented
a total of Ksh.200
cassava
soil; harvested
for Ksh.200
to cultivate and
enough maize on
a year
Ksh.150 to weed 1
both fields to
acre. Other 1/2 acre
last all year.
worked herself.
11 husband's 1-1/4
worked unaided
paternal
uncle
Z 12 husband's father
2
worked with
husband's mother
maize 2 sacks
cassava

maize 16 sacks
enough maize to
cassava
feed the house hold all year
round.
maize 2 sacks
cassava
bean
cow-peas

13 husband's father

3/4
cultivated by 7
Jibana & 3 Duruma
women for Ksh.500
from Proj. money.
Weeded w/husband's
mother.

Me = Member, Fi = Field
T = Chairwoman, V = the new treasurer, X = group committee member

156

use that

of

chemical inputs, and presence or absence of palms.

It is ironic

one of the most successful crops in the sample was grown by a member
alone with her mother-in-law. Maize, like other crops grown by

working women

in *this location, is cultivated almost exclusively for only one group member sold surplus maize.

subsistence

purposes;

Group neighbors. failure

members Although

have received a degree of assistance denied this is not reflected directly in the

to

their
or

success

of their efforts to secure subsistence, it does point to a pattern


which increasingly favors group members. to employ casual laborers. The sample First, in Table there
6.18
Most

of differentiation is their ability

indicates the existence of a pool of such laborers outside the group. of these Table are local women, many single women with children to

support.
names

6.19 show the prover 3nce and sex of 18 paid cultivators whose in Project accounts.

are recorded been paid widow Ksh.400 to

Only two members are recorded as having


One was a

do such work, both on one of the group's fields.

who worked for Ksh.200 ($12), the other a young woman who worked for
($25) in August, 1985 (Y in Table 6.18). Other group members
An

interviewed interesting the laborers. That Jibana employment

only

admitted to having performed such work in the past.

aspect of Table 6.19 has to do with the ethnic distribution of


Duruma are generally associated with low-status field labor.
and Chonyi dominate this sample illustrates the dearth of

opportunities in the area as well as the difficulty of breaking

into the accunulator group.

157

TABLE 6.19
CASUAL LABORERS, Jibana Female Male 6 3 Chonyi 5 2 MIDODONI
Duruma 1 Digo
-

TOTAL 12 6

TOTAL

18

Second, although group members do not receive any cash income from the
Project or the group, assistance from the Project helps to release which would otherwise be tied to the same income
tasks.

from other sources Comparison members payments,

between Mwamambi and Midodoni showi that in general much less difficulty in meeting group

Midodoni
and

have

subscriptions In two as

though they depend on their husbands for these. almost twice as much in their savings

months,
Mwamambi

they deposited

club

members did over a period of six months.

c. The Chairwoman and Control of the Group

The architect of the Project's appropriation by the group has been the
group's chairwoman, a nascent entrepreneur in her own right. It was her

decision to forego dividing the profits of the group's enterprises in favor


of reinvestment in further ventures. diminish She argued that to do otherwise would

the group's capital and only provide small short-term benefits to


Asked if she would divide profits from the proposed tractor

its members. rental,

she replied that she thought instead that it could be hired out to

158

group

members at half the normal rate.

However, the chairwoman is one

of
to

the few make use

members able, in ter.ms of rights to land and financial assets, of such a discounted rental.

As the Project's social worker, she

already has a regular income of her own, enabling her to employ a full-time
laborer. distanced A "born-again" Christian since 1956, she has progressively
in

herself from her palm wine-drinking husban'; assuming a role

the household more generally reserved for men. brought of the groups her further prestige and recognition. sub-location in the development and committee, a member of

Leadership of the group has


She is now vice-chairwoman
of women's for women's women's

vice-chairwoman the committee was

division,

development

in the

6istrict.

In late 1985, she

appointed

representative on the District Development Committee.

By and have dominance benefits. their

contrast, most group members are illiterate, do not go to no of paid employment. the group. As a rule, they submit to the

church,

chairwoman's
a number of

It has, after all, brought them

There are, however, elements of a passive resistance, rooted in


as members of less progressively-oriented households.

position

Attendance 1985, only 25 wrote an

has proved difficult to enforce:

between May, 1984 and August,


and

average of 21 of 45 members were present at group meetings, members attended more than half of these.

In 1984, the chairwoman


poor subscribers and

a set

of

rules

threatening expulsion

to

persistent was taken,

absentees and distributed them to group me ibers. and

But no action
of the

the chairwoman later confided that she was afraid

consequences should she try.

159

The

significance

of the chairwoman's dominance extends

beyond

mere

patronage.* In addition to her entrepreneurial skills, she orchestrated the


reorganization educated women. of the Project committee to include several new, more
many

This repeats a pattern common to the development of

women's groups, as they come increasingly under the control of members more
qualified to run their enterprises and less likely to submit to the

influence of household demands and the peasant economy.

4. Summary Discussion

Allied

through their common obeisance to the state and their need for
assistance which FAD provides, the different women's
can

the agricultural groups supply.

in the area are also competing for the funds which such bodies

To date, only the Midodoni group has succeeded in mobilizing these

funds, and none, with the partial exception of Nguvu, has started investing
in palms. remain more For the most part, groups - whether women's, men's, or mixed closely tied to government objectives. Midodoni's and

relative

financial

strength,

diversity of successful activities,

substantial
independence
unmatched by

contribution vis-a-vis other the

to community development afford it a measure of state and the obligations of local tradition The personal characteristics of the

groups.

group

chairwoman

combined with large amounts of external capital ($20,000 per year from FAD)
have thrust position this group into the unusual (and for women, unheard of)

of being the largest corporate entrepreneur in the area, capital and credit to economically more

serving

as a source. of

vulnerable

individuals in the community.

160

While
thriving members. community, cannot share be of

this transition in itself is remarkable, we have seen that


enterprise has yet to generate income for its success, the group has received its

the

group For but

individual
in the
This
their

recognition changed.

the situation of individual women has not

simply interpreted as a result of their failure to claim the group's profits. revealed between clear The high degree of variability

in gender
causal
become
of

relations

in these studies does not permit us to claim a income with the earned and women's status, two cases that follow. as The will

relationship increasingly Midodoni Women's

position the

women Group in

differs markedly from that of Digo women in some 35 miles to the south. the peasant economy

Mwamambi
relations
than in

In Midodoni, gender stronger

are embedded

which is much

Mwamambi, where tourism has brought about a partial transformation.

While members that the

the

subordination

of women helps to

explain

why

individual
clear

have

not demanded a division of group profits, it is also

women are placated by the substantial benefits they have received


in the FAD project - something the chairwoman is well

by participating aware

of and uses to her advantage. casual

The benefits provided by FAD - grants


and
has

to employ

labor, school uniforms, school scholarships, water, FAD

bus services invested the whole sponsorship ,households calculated unwitting

- are unusual and atypical of groups in this study. amounts cf resources into Midoooni with a view to In of some respects, particularly to

large

helping
its
all

community. program against

through cushion the

school made the

children, it has helped by the state.

demands of

Through has

group's
the
a

appropriation sponsor of

project, however, FAD differentiation in the

become

economic

community,.

differentiation most clearly displayed in the women's group accumulation of


palms and its members' employment of agricultural laborers.

161

D.

THE LONG ARM OF TRADITION: BOGOA WOMEN'S GROUP

Bogoa Mombasa.

Women's

Group is based in an island fishing village

south

of

This is a compact settlement of some 60 househoids, with a total


Most of its inhabitants are Chifundi, speakers of

poputlation of about 400.

a distinctive dialect of Swahili, and adherents of Islam.

1.

Foundations

The local

Bogoa Women's Group was founded in 1979 on the initiative of

two

men.

The elder sister of one, who was then in her late 20's, became
She remained in the post until the following
Under

the group's first chairwoman.

year, when she stepped down and was succeeded by her younger sister. their leadership, the group made its first forays into income

generation

and chose its first project, securing a government grant for the purpose.

Members were required to pay a ten shilling ($1) entrance fee and a 50
cent ($0.07) weekly subscription, later upped to one shilling. By 1984,

group membership had reached 63. started making

Under the first chairwoman, group members


and the

cowrie shell necklaces but found no good market,

enterprise was subsequently abandoned. promising women 1980, trade was found.

Under the second chairwoman, a more


the Bogoa
In
this
the

Through a mainland women's group,

learned of Tototo Home Industries' handicraft marketing program. they began to produce woven goods for Tototo (the history is examined in detail in a later section). of

enterprise

In early 1982,

group was adopted by Tototo.

162

Meanwhile, multi-purpose

the

group to

had

chosen

a project:

construction nursery

of

building

act as a kiosk (small shop),

school,

office, and meeting-place for the group. 5.000 ($661) for this

In 1980, the group was given Ksh.


of Culture and Social

project by the Ministry

Services. foundations refused came to

Building progressed slowly, and no sooner had work begun on the


than a local man claimed the plot they were building upon. He
work
until

to agree on terms which would allow them to use the plot, so a halt. The project was not abandoned, but it was not

December, 1985, that another plot was found.

2.

Succumbing to Tradition

a.

Choosing Another Project

Tototo divided purchase th#e one between terminus potential to rely over of

encouraged two

the group to choose another project, construction of a water

and

members
or
On
loads
and
the

alternatives:

reservoir

a boat.

Both of these reflected the island's isolation. their

hand, the for

a boat could be used to ferry passengers and island and the mainland, site of the nearest a bus which travels thrice daily to Mombasa.

dispensary Most of

passengers were women and their small children who otherwise had
upon the irregular service provided by local fisherman who charged
The small hand-paddled
hour to
A

five shillings ($0.48) per adult for each crossing. dugouts complete usually used

for this purpose take the best part of an

the crossing, and this is a risky venture when seas are rough.

motor-driven

boat run by the group would cut down the crossing to 15 or 20

163

minutes, carry more passengers, and reduce the long hours of waiting on the
shore for a fisherman willing to make the trip. Construction of a water
Apart
For
the

reservoir,

on the other hand, would serve an equally pressing need. the island has no natural reserves of fresh water. from

from rainwater, over half mainland. the

year, villagers are dependent upon water ferried

During the rains, rainwater is channeled down concrete slipways


pits and drawn from these. The island has a small

into concrete-lined

number of privately-owned reservoirs and one belonging to the whole village


from which water is sold for as long as it is available. by the A reservoir owned

group would considerably improve the local supply of water and help

reduce dependence upon the costly purchase and burdensome ferrying of water
from the mainland.

The

water

project was proposed by three relatives:

the group's

new

chairwoman, core of

its treasurer, and a committee member.

This family formed the


group.

what can be designated as a progressive faction within the

Unlike most islanders, they are Bajuni from Kenya's northern coast and have
continued community. to marry outside of as well as inside the local Chifundi
Together

They are mobile and well connected on the mainland.

they pressed for construction of a water reservoir, arguing that this would
be easy income chores. To operate upon men, would be to to maintain and run. It would also provide a seasonal source their of

the women, as well as water to help them with

household
experience.
dependent

A boat, they argued, lay too far outside of women's and while maintain the enterprise, they would be the heavily

recurrent costs of maintaining the boat

and

engine
however,
and

much higher than those of a water reservoir.

A boat,

promised

a year-round income as well as easier access to the mainland

164

all its

amenities.

Supporters of the water project were outnumbered,

and

the group chose to invest in a boat. proved justified in its fears. closely the upon

In the event, the progressive faction

The new enterprise, much to its detriment,


a out male-dominated of the hands domain. of the

was modeled Control of

its counterparts in meanwhile, slipped

group,

progressive faction and into the arms of tradition.

b.

An Enterprise at Sea

Tototo's director began soliciting aid for the new project in 1982 and
secured the support of an International donor. Officer had After the District were with a Social
of
for

Development managing

assured Tototo that the women the group was presented

capable check

this

enterprise,

Ksh.35,000 ($2,555).

This was in August, 1983.

Table 6.20 shows the costs

of the boat purchases and the funds raised.

TABLE 6.20
BOGOA BOAT PURCHASE, 1983
(in Kenya shillings)
Resources Source Amount
35,000 3,100 5,000
($3,146) Boat 20,000
Motor 24,548
Costs

International Donor Group Tototo loan Total

43,100

44,548 ($3,252)

165

Group

members

themselves raised Ksh.3,100 ($226) with a 50-shilling

subscription. the cost Ksh.13,000 Ksh.7,000 Tototo

This sum, combined with the international donation, covered


The Digo seller agreed to take
pay the the remaining
asked

of a new engine but not the boat. ($949) ($511). and

gave the group three weeks to taking delivery of the boat,

After

group

for a loan of Ksh.5,000 ($365) to help meet this payment. to be repaid by group members in monthly

The loan
of

was granted,

installments

Ksh.310 ($23).

The of a group engine. the boat's varying

women's boat went into operation in October of 1983. member was employed to run the boat and buy

The husband
for its

petrol

Group members themselves took turns of three days each to work as


"conductor", collecting passengers' five-shilling fares and the
amounts charged for their loads. Apart from occasional
to 4:00

interruptions, p.m.

the boat ran every day of the week from 8:00 a.m.

From progressive fisherman, For fishing composition technical outrigger for the

the outset, faction income boats,

the enterprise was caught in the

trap

which

the
local

had warned against.

Following the practice of

from the boat was divided into rnughly equal these portions vary in number according

portions.
to the
the
an
one
of a

of labor, the relation between an owner and his crew, and requirements canoe of a particular enterprise. The owner of

might, for examplc, set aside a pcrtion for himself, a third for the purchase of bait. The owner

.rew, and

motor-boat might add portions for the purchase of petrol and maintenance of

166

the boat dividing

and their

engine.

Copying

this model, the women's

group

began

by

boat income into three portions:

one for the driver,' one Later, when the

for petrol, enterprise

and

one for the group and general expenses.

ran into technical difficulties, they created a fourth

portion

for engine maintenance.

Transferred negative proportion effects. of

to the group's enterprise, this practice had a number

of

First, it meant that the boat's driver received a fixed


boat's income: one-third in the first period of its

the

operation, much more than if he had been paid a set monthly wage (see Table
6.21 below). paid at women, could Second, group members working as the boat's conductor were

the fixed rate of ten shillings ($0.73). are nut a normal feature of boat crews.

Conductors, least of all


So, where a male driver
little

average

Ksh.1,700 ($124) a month, the women themselves made

more than Ksh.300 ($22) collectively. her three-day otherwise men's "turn" as conductor.

Each woman earned Ksh.30 ($2.18) for


Profits from the boat were model not
of

divided

among group members.

Thus, by following the

fishing enterprises, the women effectively overpaid their driver and


their had own labor. Third, the practice of dividing income into

exploited portions records portion always

a disastrous effect upon the enterprise's accounts.

In the
(the

which the group kept, the difference between budgeted income

set aside for a particular purpose) and actual expenditure is not


clear. Over time, the accounts became progressively more confused,

a confusion that was to cost the group dearly.

167

The confirmed members members, and took

appropriation

of

the

enterprise to

traditional

practice

was

in an unequivocal fashion by an early action on the part of some


of the group's committee. Acting without the knowledge of other

they bought a piece of black cloth and a chicken with group funds
these to a traditional doctor on the mainland to provide the boat
medicine. or Again, this was in keeping with the practice of
traditionally-oriented of them.
into

with protective local fishermen, this

a least the more

Following

act, conflict within the group came increasingly out

the open culminating in the resignation of the progressive Bajuni committee


member.

The stolen of seven the work company followed afford

crisis that was brewing came to a head when the boat's engine was
in May, 1984, after exactly seven months of operation. It was one

engines to disappear from the area over a short period, of thieves from Tanzania. than Had it been insured by an of the

probably
insurance
which
not

rather might

a local medicine-man, much

trouble

have been avoided.

As it turned out, the group could

another new engine, and in the storm that followed, slipped further

into the debt of men and the clutches of tradition.

After the theft, the village chairman took it upon himself to organize
a search did locate Ksh.8,000 for the stolen engine. His inquiries met with no success, but he
group with

a replacement engine which was then bought by the

($549) from its bank account and a loan of Ksh.4,500 ($309) from
The new engine went into service in September, 1984.

the village chairman.

168

In

his zest to secure recompense for his services and payment for the
engine, the village chairman scrutinized the group's accounts.

second-hand

He had, in fact, been keeping his own record of these during 1984, making a
copy of from the boat receipts every afternoon. boat between According to his own tally, income
over Ksh.16,488

January and May amounted to just

($1,132), Ksh.6,360 ($437) after expenses. treasurer They did. Assuming and

Presenting these figures to the


his calculations.
it.
the

secretary, he asked if they agreed with

Much to his dismay, however, they had no money to show for the funds had been lost or stolen, he contacted officials in

divisional headquarters and Tototo in Mombasa.

Subsequent does not and used not have

enquiries

proved inconclusive.

The

chairman's

argument
bank

take account of Ksh.8,765 ($602) which the group had in the

to pay for the second engine, money that the group apparently did
when the enterprise began. Still, many group members allege that

large sums of money were taken by their t:easurer who, nonetheless, remains
in office. issue. The group's own accounts are not very helpful in resolving this
were kept mostly in exercise books by the secretary and Unfortunately, they are incomplete and do not always of dividing the

They

treasurer. which

balance
into

is, in part,

a result of the practice

income

portions. available. boat's

Moreover, for some periods different and conflicting records are


Table 6.21 is reconstructed from the accounts kept during the

first period of operation.

Both recorded and corrected figures are


the

shown, the latter based upon independent calculation of daily entries; village chairman's record is added for 1984.

169

TABLE 6.21

BOGOA GROUP INCOME AND EXPENSES, 1983-84

(in Kenya shillings)

Month OCT.83 from 8th NOV.83 DEC.83 JAN.84

Source R C R C R C R C
V

Income From Boat 3,034 3,014 4,848 5,524 3,479 6,709.90 6,165.50 7,123.30
4,902

Dviver's Portion 1,025.85 1,025.85 1,980.90 1,739.40 934 2,187.75 2,732.50 2,337.50
-

Other
Expenses
(Petrol,
Conductor, etc.) 1,450.50 1,450.00 1,695.50 2,726.30 2,203 1,419 3,503.50 3,438
-

Balance
557.65
627.65
1,171.60
1,058.30
342
3,103.15
-70.50
1,347.80

FEB.84

R C V R C V k C V R C V R C

4,571 5,665 4,814.50 (4,320.50) 4,320.50 3,330.70 (3,580) 3,580 2,560.50 (1,321) 1,321 811 4,474.14 ($307) 5,335.28 ($366)

1,814 1,850 (1,427.30) 1,427.30 (1,466.50) 1,466.50 (390) 390 1,681.57 ($115) 1,774.90 ($122)

2,383.10 2,608.10 (460) 460 1,632 1,642.50 (60) 60 1,912.51 ($131) 1,972.05 ($135)

373.90 1,206.90 (2,433.20)


2,433.20
481.50 471 (871.) 871 880.05
($60)
1,588.42
($109)
4,089.10
($435)
6,329.90
($281)
6,360 ($437)

MAR.84

APR.84

MAY 84 to 7th MONTHLY AVERAGE

SUBTOTAL

R 19,958 ($1,371) C
22,009.80 ($1,512)

16,488.70 ($1,132) R = as recorded in group accounts


C = corrected from independent addition of daily entries V = as recorded by village chairman V

170

The

arguments

over Taking the

money

claimed a second victim: to

the

group's to keep

third her her blow


the
from

chairwoman. informed

exception state of

the committee's- failure accounts, she

about

the group's

tendered

resignation to

in writing.

The election of her replacement was another the fourth chairwoman was the "Queen" of employing drums and trumpets imported

the progressive faction: chakacha, a dance

village Mombasa by all

and played at weddings and other festivities. village tabooed

Chakacha is danced
by men to and
male

women, wearing the white robes usually worn sexual practices.

mimicking authority.

As such, it is a challenge

The island's men had moved to stop its being danced

outdoors,

jealous of the possible consequences of this open display of sexual license


by their wives. by of its gender It is, however, a challenge which is contained and

neutralized inversion passage.

restriction to important ritual occasions, relations characteristically confined to

a
staged
rites de

Under into the

the new leadership, the women's resumed enterprise sank traditional domain.

deeper

Its accounts became completely disorganized,


Meanwhile, the
The in full

and the recording of real expenditures fell by the wayside. committee extent 1986, them. of accumulated

a series of debts, most of them to men.

these did not emerge until a heated group meeting

January,
of
in

when many members claimed that this was the first they had heard In fact, no one individual knew the full list, which is shown

Table 6.22.

171

TABLE 6.22
BOGOA GROUP DEBTS, 1/86

Claimant

Purpose of Loan
stolen engine

Outstanding Claim
100

1. a local man
used towards searching for the

2. the village
bus fares to Mombasa and else chairman
where, searching for the stolen
engine for purchase of the second-hand engine (Ksh.4,500 loaned in all)
purchase of a coil for the engine to pay a mechanic 3. a local man
for bus fares and other expenses
in purchasing the second-hand engine 4. a local man
towards purchase of the second-hand
engine 5. a local man
towards purchase of the second-hand engine
6. a local man
to buy petrol. 7. a local man
to buy petrol 8. the group's
to buy petrol treasurer
TOTAL

305
900
600
100

170

150
150

50
50
200

Ksh.2,775 (8167)

172

The repairs. was only

second-hand

engine

kept on breaking down

and

needed

repeated

Before the engine finally gave up the ghost in mid-1985, the.boat in operation for a total of 89 days. through In late 1984, an immigrant fix the

entrepreneur, dealing engine village final

the village chairman, offered to

in return for the use of the boat for fishing at night.

He and the
the
were

chairman ended in court, after disagreeing on the fairness of settlement. Throughout this fiasco, the boat and its engine

nothing more than pawns in an economic game, a game whose rules were set by
men. In January, 1986, the group hired its engine-less boat out to a local

man for Ksh.50 a day, as much income as they had made when running the boat
themselves. This arrangement, however, only lasted a fortnight, and the

group was back at square one.

Rescue

came

from

more distant shores.

Unhappy with

the

premature

de.line of the group's enterprise, Tototo had not been idle. theft

Following the
proposal
($1,809)
back in

of the first engine, the project was included in a funding to an international donor. to buy a new engine. In April, 1986, Ksh.30,000 By April 22, the boat was

submitted was granted operation. now the

The enterprise is being conducted much as before. of the the group's treasurer, is still being boat's income. Without further

The driver,
a fixed
from
the
a
it

husband of

paid

proportion Tototo, operation bold thrust

interventions dogged

it is likely that some of the problems which earlier will into recur. an

On the face of it, Bogoa enterprise constitutes otherwise male-dominated domain. In practice,

constantly runs the risk of being appropriated by men.

173

c.

Four Groups in One

The entirely a striking the group 1984,

influence

of traditional forms of organization has not

been

an

negative one. instance

The reo'"manization of group subscriptions provides


When the boat enterprise was in operation,
In November
was

of this.

stopped collecting subscriptions from its members. any ,t the other source of income, a weekly

lacking

subscription its

reinstituted reorganized. into four

rate of 2.50 shillings per head and

collection

The model for this reorganization was the village's division


which intersect at the mosque. On the basis of members'

wards

residence in one ward or another, the group was divided into four sections,
three with 15 members and one with 18. was assigned separate whole easifr to collect A literate member from each section
then recorded in
the

its subscriptions which were

exercise books before being pooled in the weekly meetings of The rationale behind this innovation was to make to

group. and

collection
of
a
in

raise the level of contributions by fostering a sense the By and different wards. As such it has proved behind

competition resounding their

between success.

the end of January, few members were the ones that were either were away

subscriptions,

visiting
of
in

relatives residential

or about to pay up. identity,

Beyond providing villagers with a sense

the wards serve no other organizational purpose

village life. succeeded

By adapting them to the group's own purposes, the women have


other groups have failed: enforcing (in the nicest

where

possible way) the regular collection of subscriptions.

174

3.

Women and the Island Economy

The structure of households and economic practice in Bogoa is somewhat


different The range from that found in the other locations described in this report.
of household enterprises reflects the island's geography, while

the relations of production and gender which govern these take a form which
is modified long-standing tradition by Swahili practice. One feature of this practice is a

adherence to Islam and the existence of a strong independent

markedly different from the culture of the agricultural villages


hinterland. To outsiders foreign to this tradition, The reality measure freedom the
is
of
is
by

of Mombasa's village rather freedom

is a conservative backwater, repressive to women. different, denied and

in some ways the island women enjoy a mainland the sisters. Nonetheless, itself, this

their and,

circumscribed

like

island economy

is threatened

economic interventions from outside.

a.

Members and their households

The

group has 63 members, the majority of the village's adult Most most of are these women were born in the married to local fishermen. village The of

female
Chifundi
have

population. parents, received held at adult and

majority

no formal education.

Many group members attend Islamic

classes,
Few

four o'clock in the afternoons, and learn to write in Arabic.

women can reckon by the Western calendar, and the dating of the logs

kept for Tototo shows a confused mix with the Islamic cycle.

175

A sample

of 16 group members shows an average age of 37, similar

to

that of Mwvmambi members.

TABLE 6.23
BOGOA MEMBERS' AGE IN YEARS
20-24 2 25-29 1 30-34 5 35-39 2 40-44 3 45-49 1 50-54 1 55-59 1

Information given in Table

on the marital histories and offspring of these women 6.24. Many women married for the first which is now changing as time

is

in their
of school
by

mid-teens, attendance. their 5,000 given

a practice

a result

Marriage payments are made by bridegrooms themselves, not These payments are normally in the range of Ksh.3,000

fathers.

($181-302) and, in some cases, include furniture. to

The money is not


kin

the bride's father but to other matrilineal arid patrilineal

and is used to pay for the wedding and to equip the housel.Ad of the newly
married couple. marriages Mwamambi, divorced men. are and This payment is not returned after divorce, and subsequent
generally survey free of ceremony. Divorce is as common membership as in

data reveal that 24% of the total

were
by

in 1983. Islamic

Divorce is usually initiated by women but effected law, women can claim maintenance payments

Under

if their

husbands can be proved negligent: following returned. the

one group member was planning to do this


he

prolonged absence of her husbari but was mollified when

In early 1986, only one group member was found to be

currently

divorced and without a husband, suggesting a high rate of remarriage.

176

TABLE 6.24
BOGOA MEMBERS: MARITAL STATUS AND CHILDREN
Number of Children Still Dependent 3 3

Age 22
23 26

Marital Status M
M* M

Number of Marriages 1
1 1

Number of Children Ever Born 2


3 3

Number of Childten Died 2


-

30 32 33
34

M M M
M

2 3 2
2

5 7 8
5

3 2 4
-

2 4 4
4

34 36 36 41 43 43 49 51 57 N=16

M M M V M M M M M

2 1 1 2 1 1 .1 2 2

3 8 6 3 11 10 9 7 8

1 1 2 1 2 5 1 1

1 6 4 1 7 3 3 2 1

Mean age = 37 Percentage currently not married 6%


Mean number of marriages = 1.6
Mean number of children ever born 6.1
Mortality rate of children ever born - 26%
indicates polygynous marriage

The inh2rit houses women. move out.

low and

residential own

mobility of women is linked to their Three-quarters

right of

to
the
by
must

property in the form of houses.

in the

village were owned and their building pa. ly

financed

In the case of divorce or separation, it is the husband who Some women inherit the houses owr-1 by their mothers;

others

are able to build their own. was no

Before the advent of land registration, there


Rights in a

restriction upon the ownership of land in the village.

plot wiere established simply by clearing and building upon it and lost just
as easily if the plot was abandoned. Rights in agricultural land were

177

similarly land was

established continuously

by clearance and remained in force as long cultivated. A third of the fields worked by

as

the
group

members were owned by women, either themselves or their mothers. derives from

Ownership
land

their labor in clearing.the land and more recently, by

registration.

b. Labor, Income, and Expenditure

Table 6.25 details the agricultural enterprises of 13 group members in


1985. Only one woman interviewed - the first chairvoman - did not normally
except occasionally to help her mother. Four women, C, E, F,
woman, B,

cultivate,

and I in the table, did not cultivate in 1985, while only one cultivated during the short as well as the long rains.

For from shops

much of the year, many households depend upon food staples bought
on the mainland or in the village. This dependence is said in recent the years, and women have withdrawn and labor cash to
from
income

have increased agriculture as

number of retail outlets has grown

become more readily available.

The island, lacking ground water and strewn

with outcrops of coral, does not offer a particularly favorable environment


for cultivation. their annual Most households cultivate only one field, and few Only one household in the meet
sample

subsistence requirements.

was in a position to sell surplus grain, the only one which employed casual
labor. assist off the Labor is generally drawn from within the hounehold. Men sometimes
keep

in cultivation and build the fences which surround fields to goats which roam the island.

Ordinarily, however, men are engaged

with fishing, and most agricultural labor is performed by wom3n.

178

TABLE 6.25
BOGOA CULTIVATION, 1985

Me Fi A I

Owner borrowed by mother

Area Cultv. in Acres 1

Labor

Crops

Harvest eaten straight from the field; 2 boxes poor sacks sacks none none small

Comments household heavily dependent upon food bought from the shops

2 B 3

mother (1-1/2) husband 5

cultivated w/ maize mother (members of the same millet household) bullrush not cultivated sorghum with husband

4 maize 2 sorghum eleusine cassava groundnuts tomatoes cabbage carrots aubergines onions peppers chilies beans cow-peas

grain harvest lasted 6 months eaten by goats

in short rains: none 1/2 box eaten by goats

C4

brother's children

n/a

not cultivated

lives in the same household as B, her daughter maize sorghum eleusine n/a 4 sacks poor

D5

husband

4-1/2 !qith mother (of 6)

eaten by birds ill, pregnant with a child which died at birth caring for small children, all food bought from shops

E6

husband

n/a

not cultivated

F7

husband

n/a

not cultivated

G8

husband

2 (of 4)

alone

sorghum eleusine

1/2 sack I box

harvest lasted 6 months

179

TABLE 6.25(cont.)
Me Fi H 9 Owner Area Cultv. in Acres
husband 1-1/4 (of 5) Labor Crops maize sorghum Harvest 1 sack 1 sack Comments
maize and eleusine finished, sorghum

with fatherin-law

eleusine

4 kg.

still being eaten


6 months later

I 10

elder brother

maize cultivated by younger sister sorghum (living in the same household)


with her eldest sorghum son and mother with her eldest maize sorghum daughter and mother's sister eleusine

1 sack 2 sacks

about half of
harvest remaining
after 6 months

J 11

mother

2 sacks

still eating after


6 months

K 12

her own

did not last 6


3 sacks months
small eaten straight
field
from the good

L 13

cleared herself maize husband 3-1/2 (of 21) and paid a local

still eating after


6 months & able Zo

man Ksh.100 to cultivate sorghum cassava

bananas
oranges mangoes

sell half of the


crop for Ksh.300 500.
2 sacks still eating after

6 months
planted recently &
not yet bearing
fruit

14
M 15

husband
her own

(2-1/2) not cultivated


1 alone maize sorghum poor
poor

on the mainland

16

husband

n/a

not cultivated

there are 5-6 boxes to the sack

N=13

Me= member

Fid field

180

Together with other forms of household labor, this takes its toll upon
women's participation in group activities. This was particularly members evident
in

when group preparation late for up at

were working on their fields, clearing undergrowth Those who came were

for the onset of the long rains.

usually

group meetings, and three-quarters of the membership did not turn


Table 6.26 is based upon attendance records for the period
fortunes

all.

1982-85.

The marked fall in 1985 can be linked to the declining

of the boat enterprise.

TABLE 6.26
BOGOA GROUP ATTENDANCE, 1982-85
(actual count)
Year 1982 1983 1984 1985 Highest Attendance 38 46 45 19 Lowest Attendance 15 13 15 5 Average Attendance 23 29 28 8

On

two occasions, the group's first coordinator made explicit reference to


In May, 1982, she wrote,

the demands of household labor upon her own time.

"No any task today because myself I did not go to the meeting I was washing
my it." in to clothes and after that I go to take firewood at Mkunguni and come On the second occasion, giving Tototo notice of her decision to with
quit

November, 1982, she ascrilbed her failure to attend a meeting in Mombasa


her uncle's refusal to let her go because of work which had to be done

at home.

181

In addition
maintenance, women

to

the
pursue

arduous

work

of

cultivation
Two

and
of

household

the most

various sources of income.

important
produce:

in this

locale derive from the collection and sale

of

marine

local

octopuses and cowrie shells.

Both are collected from the

shoreline, and only by women. tide, spears. The tides month. octopuses traders their Up often

Octopuses are collected from the reef at low


sticks as
low.
a

by women working in small groups, using sharpened

This can only be done in the morning while the sun is still permit to collection over a period of six or seven days morning.

twice The

20 can be gathered by one woman in a

dead

are then hung up on poles to dry in the sun and sold to visiting
from the mainland for three to six shillings each, depending upon
often

size.

A good catch might fetch Ksh.300 ($18), though

women

come away

with much less.

Cowries, on the other hand, are sold for Ksh.35

($2) a tin (about 18 kg) to the village Bajuni shopkeeper who sells them in
turn to tins and tin. ($6-21) drops members an Indian exporter in Mombasa. In February, 1986, he collected 70
per

made a net profit of some Ksh.1,280 ($77), of Ksh.18 ($1.12) who gather cowries report being able to make

Women

Ksh.100-350
and the cowries
group
work

every during

time they sell them. the

Trade in both octopuses

cultivating season, while just over half of

interviewed

engaged in neither, some because they found the

too onerous.

Women

also

make and sell a variety of different kinds of the

bread on

and
the

confectionery mainland. Ksh.100

within

village, some using ingredients bought

Just under half of the women interviewed did this, making up to


($6) per month. A few women trade produce directly from the

182

mainland. salable coconuts some women slaughter early

The surplus brought (and

most

enterprising

of these - the same woman

who by

had

of maize - made Ksh.300-400 ($18-24) a month by herself or her husband from the mainland. some men) keep small herds of three to five

selling
Otherwise

goats

for
in
the

or sale. There

An adult goat fetched Ksh.200 ($12) in the village was only one revolving credit association in

1986.

village, ($1) every

operated Friday.

by eight women and two men who each contributed Four of these were group members, three from the In January, Tototo introduced a savings

Ksh.20
same
club,

progressive

Bajuni family.

and nine women paid five shillings ($.30) each to join.

Involvement with Tototo has provided group members wivh another source
of income: How this to repay individual production and sale of woven handicrafts for Tototo's shop.

came about has already been described.

The group used this trade


to

its 1983 loan from Tototo, but most benefit has gone directly members and their households. Table 6.27, based upon

records

kept by Tototo, summarizes returns to individual producers between 1981 and


1985.

TABLE 6.27
BOGOA PRODUCER PRICES, 1981-1985
(in Kenya shillings)
# of Producers 43 54 58 62 63 Total Received 1,603 11,432 7,069 19,071 27,482 HIGHEST INDIVIDUAL per month total 57 718 353 757 1,720 4.75 59.8329.41 63.08 143.33 AVERAGE PER PRODUCER
per month
total 37.27 ($4) 211.70($17) 121.87 ($9) 307.59($21) 436.21($27) 3.10($.30)
17.64($1)
10.15($.74)
25.63($2)
36.35($2)

Year 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985

183

The

net

profit

to

producers is somewhat lower,

because

they

have

to

purchase

the dried strips of palm leaf (ukindu) and dyes with which
are made. in

their

handicrafts the island

Ukindu is bought on the mainland - there is none on


each. Dyes are

small bundles costing 2.50 shillings

brought

in small two-shilling packets from Mombasa.

Table 6.28 summarizes

information group

on the purchased inputs and prices of the main goods which the
produce for Tototo. Labor and transport costs are not

members

included.

TABLE 6.28 BOGOA HANDICRAFT PRICES, 1986 (in Kenya shillings) COST TO PRODUCER total dyes ukindu 50 12.50 12.50 2.50 40 1020 1020 4 90 22.5032.50 22.5032.50 6.50 Price Paid to Producer 250 102 72 12 Net Profit to Producer 160 69.50 79.50 39.50 49.50 5.50

Item floor mat 6 oval table mats 6 square table mats fan

hat
large handbag medium handbag small handbag

7.50
25 12.50 7.50

6
20 10 6

13.50
45 22.50 13.50

15
30 25 15

1.50
-15 2.50 1.50

184

Although the average return to producers was comparatively small, even


in 1985, trade in octopuses and cowries is said to have dropped as a result
of handicraft when the 1985. to the at shows Tototo's Following that their production. Group members were correspondingly distressed
of

market

for their handicrafts came to a standstill at the end

In January, 1986, Tototo staff returned the bulk of their last order
group, telling group members that they had failed to sell the goods
in Nairobi stores. the and Mombasa and that there was no room for them in

Producers are paid by Tototo when their goods are

sold.

return of their handicrafts, the women complained Group

bitterly
members

investment in ukindu and dyes had been in vain.

have no other market for their handicrafts. selling mainland them to tourists groups,

4hat little scope there is for


taken up by
In

on the nearby mainland has been who also produce these goods for

women's

Tototo.

consequence, group morale fell sharply.

Women obliged to

generally pool their income with their husbands. surrender this income but usually spend it on

Wives are not


the household.

One member

said that if she earned Ksh.100 ($6) from cowries, she might go
She was described as a "good wife" by
from house. octopus
Women

out and buy clothes for her husband. other sales, depend women. Another

noted that if she got Ksh.300 ($18)

it would enable her to buy a bag of cement for her upon income provided by their husbands. Three

women

interviewed

were wholly independent husbands,

dependent in early 1986, having abandoned efforts to secure an


income. Two women reported getting no help from their
and

and three had husbands who were absent for most of the year

only gave their wives money on visits home. own sources

These women rely on both their


One

of income and help from other household members and kin.

womsn, money group's

whose by

husband was absct for up to two years at a time, was Another,

given
tha

h~r mother's brother, the head of the household.

coordinator, periodically went to stay in Malindi with her husband

and co-wife, leaving group records unkept in her absence.

Table inembers. most group

6.29

shows the occupation of husbands in a sample of 16

group
But
of

Two of tne absent husbands were traders based in Tanzania. members' husbands are lozal fishermen, making up an average

Ksh.30 ($2) a day.

TABLE 6.29
BOGOA HUSBANDS' EMPLOYMENT

HUSBAND EMPLOYED

NO HUSBAND absent widowed 1 3

fisherman: boat owner 6

fisherman: no boat 5

shopowner 1

While proportion Water

households of

are usually well supplied with fish, a

significant
staples.
may

thir income has to be spent on purchases of food During the dry season,

is particularly expensive.

households

find themselves spending between Ksh.280 ($17) and Ksh.560 ($34) a month on
water, depending upon their size. These expenses are usually borne by

women with the help of their husbands, and in many cases, little is left to
cover other expenses. Female-headed households face the greatest

difficulty.

186

c.

Changes in the Island Economy

The threatened

relatively

stable economy which has been described above is now


external
which

by complete transformation, the direct consequence of The

interventions. took place common; fields

first nail in the coffin was land registration

on the island in 1979-80.

Befora this, island land was held in

nov islanders have been issued with title deeds for the plots and
which they happened to be occupying at the time. In many cases,

land registration discriminates in favor of men, who now hold two-thirds of


the titles for fields largely worked by women. The difficulty this created
for the effects were left location, group's upon with and building project has already been described, Some while its

patterns of inheritance remain to be seen.

villagers
and and

relatively small plots, now permanently fixed in size the prospect of landlessness resulting from the sale

mortgaging of land has arisen for the first time.

This

process threatens to be accelerated by tourist development.

For

many years, there was only one hotel on the mainland across from the island and a single tourist restaurant on the island. opened island. resistant on In 1985, a second hotel was

the mainland, and a new restaurant is being constructed on Other developments are in the offing. At first, villagers

the were

to selling their land to developers.

The first outsider seeking This for

to buy land near one of the local beaches, a German, was turned away. resistance has now crumbled under the influence of two factors: need

cash, and the prospect of infrastructural and other benefits.

187

The group's

local first

agent of this transformation has been the brother two chairwomen, a member of the Bajuni family.

of Like

the
his

parents, he owns a shop and is building another on the mainland. motor-powered

He owrns a

boat and used to ferry fee-paying tourists to the island and

the marine

park to the south of it. He has also provided his elder sister

with occasional European tourists willing to rent a room in her house - the
first keeping Islamic however, years, time with accommodation his has been let to tourists in the drinks of village. beer, the In

courtship of another world, he More

flouting
village,
two
as
paid

prohibition.

significant for the future

has been his role in arranging sales of land.

Over the last

he has induced a number of villager. to sell their land, acting for an English hotel owner from up-country. ($2,472-6,180) The prices

the agent

Ksh.40,O00-100,O00

for plots scattered across the

island,

contain sufficient incentive.

He

argties

that tourist lodges will bring the island a wide range

of

benefits, not least of which is a cheap and reliable supply of water. is where many villagers place their hopes, believing that

This

tourist

development water

will be accompanied by a submarine pipeline or construction of


large enough to provide a year-round different forms of supply. Earlier
benefit.
condition
village

reserviors have of

developments Construction that a fixed

brought

community

the island's first restaurant was permitted on of its profits be put into a fund for

percentage

development. pay half of

The owner of the newest hotel on the mainland is committed to


the costs of building staff housing for the health center The villagers are now keen to get their own slice of in
the
for

the village. cake. It

is also argued that nearby hotels will provide

employment

188

local

residents

and

create a lucrative market for This may or may not be true.

local But

fishermen wihat

and

handicraft certain of which will be other,

producers.

is more

is that the island will become a Mwamambi in miniature, the impact


is bound to be felt more keenly by women who, on the largely will excluded one on hand,
the

from new employment opportunities and, an increased need for cash as

experience

subsistence

agriculture declines.

4.

Summary Discussion

Women's influence enterprise profitable to operate includes deciding of

group

enterprises stand at a critical juncture and external economic forces. The

between ferry

the
boat

tradition

of

Bogoa women's group clearly illustrates how

a potentially
women

business thqt apreared to provide a rare opportunity for in r male domain wa. thwarted by local practice.

Evidence

the manner of insuring the boat, the strong role played by men in
its fate, and the way profits were divided.

Economically, one quarter the business the group

the latter is perhaps the most significant.

By

taking
in

of the gross, the male driver is essentially a shareholder rather than a salaried employee. be

Were his wages to be fixed,


cash flow

would

in a better position to project expenses,

needs, and dividend payments.

That they continue, however, with the system

of dividing the daily gross into four portions is testimony to the strength
of tradition. Indeed, they would have trouble finding a local driver who

would agree to work on any other terms.

189

For way of notion Tototo's separate largely

international donors, some of whom promote income generation as a


introducing of women to non-traditional productive activities, the

Muslim women operating a motorized ferry service is appealing.


success occasions in securing grants for the purchase of a motor demonstrates this appeal. Yet the on two
was

enterprise

dominated by men, a contradiction which suggests a need for deeper

local, knowledge when assessing the viability of women's businesses.

This

case provides evidence to suggest that the relationship

between

the strength of tradition and the subordination of women is not necessarily


causal or positive. although industry greater here has property Bogoa is an example of a still strong peasant economy,
That the fishing

small inroads from the outside have been made.

provides men with a regular source of income may leave women with
freedom to exploit other opportunities. also mediated gender relations. marriage is However, Swahili practice
without

In Midodoni, women are with costly

rights,

formalized

bridewealth
In

transactions, and wives depend completely on their husbands for income. Bogoa, marriage women own land and houses, divorce and jointly remarry make easily,

receive

payments

with their husbands, and

a significant

income on -their own, if given an opportunity. vague threat,

Landlessness is still only a


but

unlike Mwamambi, an area with similar gender relations

without the basis for subsistence that fishing provides.

190

E. A BAKERY'S DECLINE:

MAPIMO WOMEN'S GROUP

Mapimo seven
shops, primary wns the

Women's Group is based north of Mombasa in a small center with


two grinding machines, a Pentecostal church, a mosque and
a
The population, mostly Giriama, is about 3,000.
Mapimo

school.

first of a number of women's groups to be formed in the area.


The

village also has a men's group, although this is now inactive.

1. Formative Years

The
Mapimo Women's Group is the oldest of the groups studied in
this
report. initiated however, in the Like in Mwamambi, 1973 by it has its origins in an adult a man and attended by
women. education Unlike class

Mwamambi,
effect
affect

formed before the women's group movement took full it was


area.
As such, Mapimo was spared many of the demands which

to groups in their formative stage and was left very much


its own devices.

When was chosen

the

class was first organized, a young, recently married


woman

to be the teacher, and she subsequently became the secretary of


paid initially by monthly four-shilling
The teacher was
later she received Ksh.150 ($21) a month from
the
More than 20 women its fact joined the
Some
the

the women's group. student Ministry adult measure

subscriptions; of

Culture and Social Services. class, success including can be

education of its

the two wives of gauged from the

founder. that when

teacher/secretary by a woman, then

left the village in 1983,


the group's accounts were kept
vice-secretary, who could neither read nor write at
the

class's inception in 1973.

191

The women's ways both

greiter group. to

measure

of

success is that the class

evolved

into

The group spent four years experimenting with a variety of


raise capital for group 'projects and to.providd a bit of

income

for

individual

members.

These included member

subscriptions, of

a
the

revolving credit
group.

association

and hiring out the collective labor

Finally, in 1977, the group registered with the Ministry of Culture


Services who, in 1978, introduced them to their major ally,

and Social Tototo.

2.

Conditions and Accidents of Enterprise Development

a.

Tototo and the Bakery Project: Establishment and Expansion

Mapimo was one of the first six groups taken on by Tototo at the start
of its rural and that women's for program many in 1978. It also proved to of the be the most

successful methodology

years was the showpiece

participatory
The group's

Tototo was

had adopted from World Education. coordinator and trained

teacher/secretary

appointed

in nonformal

education methods, and she put these to impressive use mobilizing the group
and helping it solve the problems it encountered in establishing the bakery
project 1978; (Clark 1981). by October, Serious discussion of this project began in April,
the women were already baking loaves in their first

makeshift bakery.

192

The accounts spent on

enterprise show

expanded

steadily over the next five

years. ($4,423) A

Group
was

that between 1978 and 1981 alone, Ksh.33,483 rebuilding and fitting the bakery.

building,

significant

proportion profits of

of the early funding came from the group itself, drawn from the
baking most and of and the the group's necklace enterprise outside (see below).
both
inputs

Otherwise, government

capital was provided by

sources, external

NGO's.

Table 6.30 summarizes the major

between 1978 and 1983.

From the very beginning, the enterprise depended heavily upon external
inputs (TfD) and advice. grant, which The negotiations over the Technology for
Development(
began in 1981: underline the extent to which the

enterprise was subject to decisions taken outside the group. who contacted TfD, an NGO specializing in village

It was Tototo
and,

technology

therefore, promoting its own goals and objectives. pressed In June,

In line with these, TfD


bakery.

for the installation of an energy-efficient system in the

1982, they sent a technical consultant to the group to review the


He recommended that expanded oven capacity (which is what
increased a cheap water
and

possibilities. Tototo storage and and

the women were asking for) be accompanied by that a tree nursery be planted to

provide

ecologically which another about naught, bakery's was

harmless supply of fuel.

In pursuit of this ecological goal,


with
set
to

neither Tototo's nor the group's, Tototo was put in touch

appropriate technology organization in Nairobi, and the group finding a suitable plot. However, none was found, the idea came

and TfD settled for a larger oven which also heated water from the
existing storage tank. This was not, however, the last of TfD's

interventions in the village.

193

TABLE 6.30
MAPIMO BAKERY INPUTS, 1978-1983 (in Kenya shillings)

Date Aug/Sept 1978 mid1978

Donor parliamentary candidate N.C.C.K. Kanamai Conference Center Tototo Home Industries

Form of Assistance corrugated iron sheets for the bakery roof a used oven, the service of a builder to install it and bakery training for the group members a loan to buy equipment, including baking trays and tins, for the bakery: subsequently repaid by the group a cash grant to purchase ingredients for baking a grant for purchase of ingredients and expansion of the enterprise. The check was made out to the women's group and deposited in a second bank account. a new oven, to be used in conjunction with the first (together capable of baking
300 loaves a day)
a grant for rebuilding of the bakery
a water tank for the bakery

(where known) 2,000 ($270)

1978

700 ($95)

1979 February 1979

Tototo Home Industries Ministry of Culture and Social Services

1,000 ($136) 4,000 ($545)

1980

The American Women's Association, Nairobi Ministry of Culture and Social Services Lioness Club, Nairobi Technology for Development (TfD)

(approximately)
4,000 ($528)

July 1981 December 1981 1983

10,000 ($971)

a grant: over Ksh 17,000 of this 25,000


was spent on the purchase, ($1,241)
transportation and installation
of a new aad larger oven capable
of baking 500 loaves a day. This
was in operation by April, 1983
and was officially opened in Sept.
by an Assistant Minister for

Environment & Natural Resources.

February 1983

a member of
Tototo's

board

fire-proof bricks to surround


the new oven

194

b.

Other Enterprises

When underway: enterprise tractor

Tototo

began

working

with

the

group,

another

project

was
this

cultivation of a collective field. survives.

No detailed record of

In 1979, a two-acre borrowed field was cultivated by


The maize

for

Ksh.200 ($27) and planted in maize, then cotton.

crop was Clivided among group members, as was Ksh.400 ($55) from the sale of
cotton. This field was subsequently reclaimed by its owner and, as the

bakery developed, no attempt was made to continue the enterprise.

More Tototo.

lucrative while it lasted was the handicraft trade initiated This was based upon the production of traditional Giriama

by

ndale

necklaces for the tourist market. wire from pendants, viwele being group specialist producers

The women bought lengths of ndale copper


and fashioned these into viwele, Tototo Women one heavy
bought
report
point,

and virangi, with brass and colored beads added.

for Ksh.10 ($1.50) each and virangi for Ksh.20 ($3). able to make up to 100 or 150 viwele in a week, and at

members engaging in this trade are recorded as making between Ksh.35


Ksh.500 ($68) each in a fortnight. Tototo shop records show that

($5) and

in 1978, Ksh.14,969 ($2,023) was paid out to individual members and Ksh.920
($124) to the group, which took the proceeds from one necklace in every

batch an individual produced. along with money

This money was ploughed back into the bakery


The women, however,
after two

raised from group subscriptions.

produced

more

necklaces

than the Tototo shop could sell, and

years, the trade came to a halt.

When members to

the the

necklace group.

enterprise began, it attracted a A contingent of about 20 women

number

of from

new
two
This

joined

settlements

west of the village and an hour's walk from the bakery.

195

distance the group. separate

proved a constraint upon the new members' active participation in


In early 1979, it was suggested that they might start a

project in their own village to make more effective use of

their

time and labor. women

This problem came to a head later in the year when the new
tea

failed to contribute their labor to the construction of a group

kiosk and were asked to pay a fine to make up for their absence. this, which 1982. group in 1980, they left the group to form their own at home. built

Following

This group, right in the

its own tea shop, was adopted by Tototo in its own

The Mapimo tea kiosk project, meanwhile, did not take off, but

accepted a number of new members to make up for the lost contingent.

This was done after consultation between the chairwoman and the local chief
and brought Mapimo membership up to 53.

c. Development of the Bakery

Detailed period before

records of bakery sales and costs are not available for 1983. In 1981, sales of bread are recorded as

the

totalling
but the
In

Ksh.21,000 full list 1982, every funds rather

($2,041) of

[an average of Ksh.1,750 ($750) per month],

expenditures

on ingredients and marketing is missing. Ksh.1,500 by

it was estimated that the bakery was making some month. erupted, less

($118)
missing
in a
This
direct
1985.

However, in the folloving year a crisis caused

and the records kept after that show the enterprise situation, struggling to break even. and

comfortable is summarized and

information production Total by the

in Table 6.31 showing bread sales

marketing costs between January, 1984, and

August,

bakery output is not shown, only the portion organized grcup. the their

collectively
had

Since the start of the enterprise, individual members facilities to bake and sell bread for individual No

also used This was

profit.
records

main source of remuneration from the bakery.

196

were kept fixed

of

this individual trade, though the levels of

production

are

by the group.

From 1980 through 1985, individual production was set

at half the volume of production for the group.

The

price of the main ingredient (wheat flour) and the wholesale

and

retail prices of the product (loaves of bread) are fixed by the government.
This pricing theory, total structure does, however, leave some room for profit: in

baking profits should represent between one-fifth and one-third of


sales. Table 6.32 is based upon December, 1985, prices for the

production and sale of 42 loaves.

TABLE 6.31
MAPIMO BAKERY INCOME/EXPENDITURES, 1984-1985
(In Kenya shillings)
Monthly Balance 2,453 -3,355 -2,251
385

Month/Year January 1984 February " March "


April
"

Income 4,620 13,650 12,195


14,070

Expenditures 2,167 17,005 14,446


13,685

No. of Bakers IF 30 25
22

May
June July August

"
" " "

9,235
6,460 9,865 4,827

8,433
7,312 9,086 5,040

802
-852 779 -213

20
15 17 16

September"
October " November "

December " January 1985 February "


March April
" " " "

5,984 4,283 2,376 8,694 3,090 3,300


3,120

6,660
5,018 2,226

-676
-735 150

12 10
9

9,048 3,513 2,268


4,829

-354 -423 1,032


-1,709

13 7 8 10

May June July August

it
"

4,811 3,120 4,712

5,388 3,141' 2,984

-577 -21 728 -3,867 (-$266) -970 (-$60) -4,837 (-$326)

10
9 12

Subtotal 1984 Subtotal 1985 TOTAL "incomplete

96,259 ($6,611) 100,126 ($6,877) 22,153 ($1,369) 23,123 ($1,429) 118,412 ($7,980) 123,249 ($8,306)

197

TABLE

6.32

MAPIMO PRODUCTION AND SALES, 12/85


(In Kenya shillings)
Sales 42 loaves at wholesale price of 3.50 per loaf ...... Ksh.147 42 loaves at retail. price of 3.70 per loaf...Ksh.155.40 Costs (local retail prices)
12 kg (6 bags) of wheat flour ...... 78.90
1/2 box of yeast ................... 4.00
1/4 kg of lard ..................... 5.35
1/4 kg of sugar .................... 1.85
12 1/2 g of salt ................... .65
20 litres of water ............... 3.00
bundle of firewood ................. 2.00
42 plastic wrappers ............... 8.40
transport to market .......... between 0.
15

between 104.15
-

between 147 - 155.40 ($9-10)

119,15 ($6-7)

profit on 42 loaves = 27.35 - 51.25 ($1.72

3.17)

Group members confirmed that they regularly made profits of this order
from their individual baking.

Given that baking most of the

the group's failure to achieve comparable results, it is clear


is not as efficient as it might be and that the group wastage which occurs in the course of production. absorbs
The fact

that no records are kept of individual baking makes this difficult to check
and control. group effort Mapimo shares this problem with another Tototo-sponsored

and bakery where individuals have similarly favored their individual


over group the baking. inefficiency This is part and parcel of of pitting individual a more for general
direct

phenomenon:

effort

benefit to the household against a collective effort for the group.

198

From

late

1984 on, the group experienced considerable difficulty

in

obtaining adequate supplies of wheat flour, and this in turn had an adverse
effect upon the bakery's markets. The flour has frequently been poor in

quality, and loaves have spoiled. flour level one in afield. drop in has been one box dried up altogether.

In March and July of 1985, the supply of


maintain the

It was therefore difficult to

and standards of produczion, and the bakery, although still the only
the area, had lost most of its markets to competitors from farther

Most of these losses occurred in mid-1985, reflecting the drastic


the flour supply. halved. As a result of the market's decline, production

Between 1980 and mid-1985, individual bakers daily baked

(160 loaves) of flour for the group and half a box (80 loaves) for
to In October, 1985, this was cut
half a box for the group and
of a box for individual profit. At the same time, following

themselves. a quarter

advice from Tototo, individual sales were restricted to the markets outside
the village shillings itseli at vhere per loaf. bread can only be sold at the wholesale price of 3.50

Henceforth only group bread was to be sold in Mapimo


In early

the more profitable retail price of 3.70 shillings.

1986, individual baking was stopped altogether due to loss of markets.

d.

The Crisis and Its Aftermath

The

dramatic

decline

of

the bakery in 1984 was

not

only

due

to
We

difficulties in obtaining flour, shrinking markets, and inefficiencies. must go

back to 1982 when an internal crisis emerged that contributed more

to the enterprise's problems than any of the factors mentioned above.

199

Following

the demise of both the necklace enterprise and the

earlier

attempts at collective cultivatinn, the group directed all attention on the


bakery. All seemed well until 1982, although group members were

disappointed with the small profits which the bakery appeared to be making.
In January, 1982, the group's secretary left the village for a year's
and

training course

near Mombasa.

In her absence, the group prospered;

this, paradoxically, brought their problems out into the open.

In January, provided the local by

1982,

they

raised Ksh.l,000

($78)

(Ksh.800

of

this
with
their

their treasurer) to pay off debts which had accumulated for the purchase of wheat flour, repositioning of

shops

ovens, renewal, of their license, and purchase of a framed photograph of the


President. In February, they raised another Ksh.1,000 ($78) to make a bulk
With the baking profits thus generated. the group
With the

purchase of wheat flour. brought balance, among year, the

a bicycle for Ksh.2,000 ($157) to assist in marketing. they repaired the bakery building,'put money aside to be members, and had Ksh.l,000 ($78) left over.

divided
the

At the end of

this was taken by the group's secretary to be deposited in the bank,


The

along with the profit from a disco which had been held on bakery plot. women

were buth pleased and surprised at the year's achievements and began
why similar profits had not shown in earlier years. upon to the the chairwoman and the treasurer, At but first,
finally
kept the

wondering suspicion attention

turned switched

group's secretary, who had

always

accounts and taken -heir money to the bark.

200

Serious

enquiry began in 1983.

The chief was called in and asked

to

look over the group's books. to reach with her July, a any

He began in April and gave up in June, unable


In June, the group's secretary farm. moved In

definite conclusion. to

family

a nearby village where they had a 12-acre

TfD representative visited the group to check up on their

grant.

Finding that not all was in order, she returned later in the month with the
director servi:e village; of based he Accountants in in Action (AIA)7 , a financial and accounting
to of the
the

Nairobi.

In August, an AIA auditor was

sent many

consulted

the ex-secretary, who had retained

group's accounts and receipts. bank account, given the

Asked how much money the group had in their


earlier

she gave a different figure from that which she had These sums were in the range of

chief. On

Ksh.7,000-8,000
balance of

($511-583). only Ksh.l,800 the secretary

checking, however, the bank account showed a ($121).

The balance clearly f'll short of the amount which


with

had been given to deposit at the end of 1982, together

Ksh.3,300 ($259) from the TfD grant which she had been given for the group.
Furthermore, the group accounts for January-June, 1983 showed a petty cash

balance of little more than Ksh.489 ($36).

Faced with these facts and evidence of other irregularities, the group
members pressed for action to recover the missing funds. Nothing was

achieved until January, 1984, when the former secretary was induced to sign
a formal statement both admitting the loss of Ksh.23,729.30 ($1,630) plus
This
AIA
and

various bank zeceipts and accepting her accountability for this loss. statement auditor, was grodp also signed by 11 witnesses including her husband, the officers, the chairman of the men's group, the chief,

the sub-chief.

201

Table 6.33 shows the list of missing funds as reconstructed by the AIA

auditor.
TABLE 6.33 MAPIMO GROUP MISSING FUNDS, 1983 (InKenya shillings) Claimant
Nature of Claim Amount 1,935.70

the balance of a gift made to the group the founder


in 1980. Disappointed by the poor showing of the adult
of the bakery, he had purchased Ksh.1,280 education class
worth of wheat flour from a wholesale supplier and sold it to group members bit by bit before presenting them with the profit: Ksh.3,775. After putting some of this aside as the deposit on a bicycle and using it for other purposes, they gave the balance to the secretary to take to the bank. a Mapimo
shopowner
a Mapimo
shopowner
the group's
treasurer
debt for the purchase of wheat flour by the group. debt for the purchase of wheat flour and lard by the group. debt for the purchase of wheat flour by the group.

281.95

482.40

500.00

a local tailor

remaining debt for the sewing of bakery


uniforms for the group (total cost

1,196.50

Ksh.2,196 plus: only Ksh.l,000 paid by


the secretary).
profits from a disco given to the 1,102.00

the women's

group
the women's
group
the women's
group
TfD

secretary to bank. profits from baking in 1982 given to the secretary to bank. funds showing in group records but missing and unaccounted for. money from grant given to the secretary via Tototo to account to the group 1,100.00

14,042.00 3,300.00

TOTAL

($1,747)

23,940.55

202

The different little

total from

sum missing according to this reconstruction that that given in the signed statement. While

is slightly
there funds, seems
it is

doubt

the secretary did misappropriate group

impossible to verify the exact amount.

The and the members

inquiry into this affair took place in a very charged atmosphere,


bizterness it generated has yet to subside. Looking back, group
Before
When
to

say that they now recognize what they did not at the time. they had complete trust in their secretary a.,.d teacher.

the crisis,

she summarized

their accounts in Thursday meetings, they had no reason

disbelieve her, and no one else was sufficiently literate or felt competent
enough to cross-check the accounts she kept. was no When she told group members
they
Now
was

that there never

reason for others to accompany her to the

bank,

suspected that she might have different plans for their funds. otherwise and believe that over the years, bit by bit she

they think

pocketing money entrusted to her.

This enterprise, was first village

affair

has

had

dramatic effect

upon

the

group When vae from

and

its

and witchcraft has played an important role. built,

bakery
another
This was
and
other

the secretary arranged for a medicine-man

to come and install protective medicine in the building. the enterprise from the machinations of jealous

to protect others. group

husbands

The medicine was installed in the presence of two or three members.

When the secretary left the village for good in mid-1983,


that it had been removed. Then, in October, alarming

they discovered things morning

started happening. outside the

Human feces, strangely odorless, were found one


been baking

bakery door after one of the women had

203

through another

the

night

and had neither seen nor heard bread

anyone

approach. and

On
small

occasion,

dough rose excessively, burst

open,

biting ants swarmed out from it. A consignment of fresh loaves taken to be
sold in away. Malindi was found to be stale upon arrival and had to be thrown

In December, six boxes (144 kg) of wheat flour failed and had to be
Finally, in March, 1984, the glass frames holding the group's
number, and picture of the President of Kenya while the were

written off. license, found number all but was that one had

registration morning

smashed on the bakery floor,

registration
events,

been deliberately scratched out.

Frightened by these The

a handful of women stopped coming to the bakery.

implication

the former secretary had removed the bakery's protective medicine

and was in some way responsible for what was happening.

This Christian a large dropped

had

more

potent

effect upon the

women

who

were

neither
While
members
husbands.
The women
in

nor Muslim but followers of traditional Giriama practice. number returned to baking in 1984, over half of the group out later in the year, some at the insistence of their

This, as Table 6.34 shows, included most of the traditionalists. who left the group at and

this time have still not returned to active participation are euphemistically said to be "resting". Active

members

hope that most of them will retuzn to the group and think that it is only a
matter members education significant of time before they do. Roughly equal numbers of 1973 and the the 1980
adult
only
This

left

in 1983-84; founder.

among the former were the wives of Religious affiliation provides

class's

correlation, a fact recognized by tne women thelr;elves.

affair has left the group dominated by Christians in a way uhich it was not
before the crisis. The effective weeding-out of the women who might be

204

considered inimical

more

firmly

rooted in an ethos

which

is characteristically

to the development of capitalist enterprise can be interpreted as

a convenient result in terms of the logic of this enterprise's development,


an accident promoting its further rationalization.

TABLE 6.34
MAPIMO GROUP ATTRITION, 1983-84
Remained active Religion Christian Muslim Left in 1983-84 14* 3 /semi-active 16 4 Totals 30 5

Traditionalist TOTALS

13 30

4 24

17 52

"excludes the ex-secretary, a Roman Catholic

Again, these of the


result, of the

more interesting than the elusive truth, are the effects which
Today the problem remains in the hands
As a

different stances have had. local

administration and to date no action has been taken.

the group has become progressively estranged from the local agents
state. of Despite repeated requests to do something the missing funds, the chief and sub-chief about have securing
not done
over

repayment anything.

Meanwhile

the group has tried, unsuccessfully, appealing

205

their

heads

to are who

higher acting

authorities. (or

Some

members

suggest

that with

the
the
a

authorities ex-secretary, number their

rather not acting)

in collusion

now holds posts in KANU up to district level and has In any case, the women generally

of influential connections.

hold

chief and sub-chief in low regard and have as little to do with them
One fully whose way this is manifested is in their reluctance 1985, her to
the
the

as possible. participate treasurer,

in local fund raising drives. earlier

In December,

enthusiasm for such events had earned

nickname "Mama Barambee", refuse, to honor the sub-chief's request that she
attend and in a fund raiser. the bakery, This She told him that she had enough work to do at home
and later commented th.t he could not force and her to

participate.

is a position which underdeveloped groups

their

members cannot generally not afford to take.

e. Recent Historg

We can trace the life of the Mapimo bakery from the group's early fund
raising vith a activities to the establishment of a potentially profitable bakery
substantial degree of external funds and technical assistance. The

siphoning off of funds by che group's secretary not only makes it difficult
to assess accurately the project's profitability in early years but led to

a myriad of problems in later years.

206

In seeking store

late

1985, the group was responding to its marketing problems The women planned to open

by
a

to establish its own retail outlets. at the divisional headquarters.

It would be run by a paid assistant


4 suitable building was
the

who would

sell bread as well as fresh vegetables.

located, but permission to go ahead with the enterprise was blocked by local chief, a former customer and cafe owner himself. plans

More promising were


bread

to build a small kiosk in a nearby village from which to sell

and hot and cold drinks, again using a paid assistant. of the treasurer,

Through the efforts

a plot was granted to the group free of charge, and the

chief gave permission to build in December.

Meanwhile, building, the help scones

the

group

has

opened its own tea kiosk

in the

bakery
with

realizing an ambition dating from 1979. of Tototo.

This was achieved

A core of active members began selling tea, sometimes


kinds of sweet bread and loaves from
the bakery.
shops,
The

and

other for

Ingredients while

the tea were brought as need arose from the local

other products were provided by both group members and others.

extra 20 cents gained by selling loaves at retail prices was to be retained


in the kiosk accounts kept separately from those for the bakery, but this

has not happened. rather

Scones baked in the bakery are being sold for individual


product

than group profit, thus negating the promised benefit from i:,co areas free from government price

diversification Following kiosk small: invested in the

regulation.

the intervention of Tototo, the women began purchasing many


tea
wholesale in Malindi. Kiosk profits, however, remain

ingredients in April,

1986, it made just under Ksh.407

($25),

subsequently

in the purchase of more utensils.

There are two other tea kiosks


group

village, and the clientele is small, a third to a half being

members themselves. for their labor,

Members working in the kiosk have not been remunerated


while many purchases are made on credit, and debts of

Ksh.75 ($5) or more accumulate every week.

207

The

group has also returned to another early enterprise:


field. In 1984, group members started

cultivation

of a collective

cultivating

two-acre field, rented for Ksh.160 ($11) a year. was sold third which was for Ksh.600

The resulting sesame crop


Of this, all a
of

($41) and cotton for Ksh.1,200 ($82).

spent

on polythene wrappers and flour for the bakery,

spoiled. who

Plans were afoot to divide the remaining Ksh.1,200 between


had worked the field according to their different labor

the women

inputs, but by the end of 1985, this still had not been done. group

In 1985, the
most
The

failed to obtain sesame seed and instead grev a crop of maize, was stolen from the stalks before it could be harvested.

of which

cotton crop was still being picked and sorted at the end of the year.

3.

The Peasant Economy

a.

Members and Their Households

Tables and their Malindi. married

6.35 and 6.36 summarize information on a sample of 12 households. Few have had early Most members are Giriama from the

members
of

hinterland were

any school education, and a teens, some years before

number they for bore an

first

in their

children.
uneducated

Brldewealth

payments

range

between Ksh.4,000 ($247)

daughter and Ksh.8,O00 ($494) for a school leaver and may be partly paid in
cattle. of the (15%) 36. 53 Pol.ygyny is practiced regardless of religious affiliation, and 11
members (20%) were co-wives. In 1985, 26% were either widowed
of
and
only

or divorced (11%), and the interviewed sample had an average age Residential arrangements are similar to those in Mwamambi

Midodoni,

although members' households are rather more dispersed and

half of the women live in the village itself.

208

TABLE 6.35
MAPIMO MEMBERS' AGE IN YEARS
15-19 1 N=12 20-24 2 25-29 0 30-34 3 35-39 1 40-44 2 45-49 2 50-54 0 55-59 0 60-64 1

TABLE 6.36 MAPIMO MEMBERS: MARITAL STATUS AND CHILDREN # of Children Ever Born
0

Age
19 21

Education
0 Primary

Marital Status
M" D

# of Marriages 1
1

# of # of Children Children Still Dependent Died


-

1 1 7
5

1 1 6
5

school (7 yrs)
22 0 M* 2

30
31

0
Primary

M
M

2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 2

school (2 yrs)
32 0 M 3 -3

35 41 41 46 47 64 N=12

Primary school (3 yrs) 0 0 0 0 0

D M M M M W

6 8 10 15 5 5

1 1 1 1 2 0

5 7 8 11 3 1

Mean age = 36
Mean number of marriages
-

1.3

Mean number of children ever born = 5.5 Child mortality = 9% Mean number of dependent children = 4.2 =polygynous marriage

209

b.

Cultivation

The group lives within the ten-mile strip formerly held by the Sultans
of Zanzibar under British administration. Most of this land is still owned
by people patches group the local Giriama refer to as Swahili or Arabs, while some

are designated as Crown (government) land. members

As a consequence, most
to

and the surrounding villages live on and cultivate land

which they do not have title. Landowners often without and cultivate for its

Some have reached agreement with the Swahili


others pay a yearly cultivate as rent,

the land for free; use;

nominal,

and still others

squatters
over

reference

Zo the owners.

There is considerable

insecurity

land holding.

Cultivation through the year.

and related activities are conducted almost

continuously

Maize, the main subsistence crop, is often interplanted

with sesame, and its harvest in August can be followed by the planting of a
second season year's assiste6 summarizes considerable cash-crop, cotton. Following the cotton harvest, the cashewnut

beg 4 ns, lasting through to the long rains and the start of the next agricultural cycle. by their children Most agricultural labor is performed by women, during the school holidays. Table 6.37
The
to

the agricultural enterprises of 12 group members in 1985. variation it shows relates in part to differential access

purchased inputs.

MlAPIMOCULTIVATION,-1985

oeMe&ember I''r: '

MeF"Ownehi , n AesT
::'. bou'husba
;.cres),

'Labor"
&children &B
w

Crops
.. (8:a

.,.Har"' 20sacks

oiieis~Y

rod .......

ves. (......

n.o ferlizeu sl d random planti.ng

C.
S(6, el,

weeded once' ;5-1/2 Scow-peas acres), sack 7:


'4

for home consumption,

" - dried Comen s

2husbad-,' borrowed 45,


3 husband;

asabv
: ,: .s above,s

maize en ms I ws, asi e:,


maize,

24 sacks oecop' vassew :


poor

up.

'...... 1.......... n hu bgIt>


from. , .. 'Swahili

ib e ) bo

wh l
:9 4 B c se f, ti. plants dises,ed2,.
crops eaten straight.
Onldyr,5 enough maizegrpwn
from field.

(of
,62)

weeded''
:twice e t..

npl owner with' m 2 other en

.last
.*..

on all fields.Ito" 6 mcnths


'

cassava

cashews :74
_

'bogtfm

husband.

'10
'

a Giriama; ~~-'
government

cashews as' above, 'with: help from husband


'crop-sold

whole 1984-85, ~ew 'for Kh


4,1500 for, husband

land'
1-1/2 ,D5 husband, pays Swahili owner Ksh.25 a'-year poorI maize with son's' wife~and cotton children;i helped by a (1/2 acre' female' casual laborer paid
7 6 maize 2 "cultivated
husband, by tractor,, (of) i brouht 'bwFro i Swahih 2.'oher 62) plant~ed. them-
~ with' 2,o hes selves: and cashews weeded1 once by
(same, plot- as laborers;. all
3,'bve)
'

pesticide bought by husband; not. sold. by December

'

for Ksh.200; mbiiey


to husband
33 sacks enough maize to las' most of the year

<'4"

aid by- husband:~

T 7 husbad, 12-1/2

cashews

'

aGiiama;:-'.'
a:
on-government
landa
' '-'-

211

TABLE 6.37 (CONT.)


Me-Member Fi=Pield

Area Cultv.
Me Fi 8 OwnershiD in Acres Labor Crops cashews Harvest Comments 1984-85 cashew cro sold for Ksh.2,000 for husband poor none no fertilizer not weeded or harvested because all 3 women pregna husband, 15 bought from a Giriama; Swahili land cleared by 1-1/2 husband and his 2 brothers; Swahili land cleared by i her; Swahili owner cleared by 1 husband's brother; Swahili land with husband's brother's wives as above

maize sesame

10

maize

poor

11

as above

maize cotton

poor poor

entire maize crop eaten by December nc pesticide; crop sold for Ksh.100 f husband's brother no fertilizer; poo harvest & depcndenr upon shops no pesticide; .c-,Jd for Ksh.100 by husband 1984-85 crops sold for Ksh.400 by husband

F 12

cultivated 2 with permis- (of sion of 3) Swahili owner

with children and husband

maize

1 sack

cotton cashews 13 she bought 1 from a Giriama; Swahili land borrowed from Swahili owner 1/2 worked alone cashews

poor

G 14

cultivated maize by tractor for Ksh.120, paid by her. Also paid Ksh.180 to 3 Giriama women & 1 man to sesame plant & weed; further helped by mother (H) and sisters

10 sacks

cow-dung spread on field:harvest pool with her mother (H living in the same householi crop sold to local shops for Ksh.255; her money

212

TABLE 6.37 (CONT.)


Me=Member
Fi=Field
He Fi Ownership Area Cultv.
Labor in Acres Crops Harvest Comments
all fields spread
with cow-dung
eaten by cattle
low rainfall
planted in 1983

4 cleared with H 15 (of husband; Swahili land 12)

58 sacks cultivated w/ maize help of a permanent male


worker, paid
none cow-peas Ksh.100/week by her husband,
none sometimes her. mangoes Weeded twice,
coconut palms harvested with children.
Trees planted cashews
by husband.
cultivated by maize tractor for
sesame
Ksh.480; 12 Giriama, 3 men
and 6 women
paid Ksh.300
to weed.
Husband also
helped.
61 sacks

borrowed 16 from Swahili owner

she bought 17 from a Giriama; Swahili owned

3 (oi 7-1/2)

cultivated by maize tractor for


Ksh.720; same sesame casual laborers paid Ksh.300 to weed. Other
cassava work, esp. on the sesame
crop, done by cashews
household
members.
cultivated by household members maize

79-1/2 sacks
entire sesame crop
sold for Ksh.1,600;
money to husband

for home consumption

18 borrowed from her mother who had earlier obtained permission to cultivate from the Swahili owner

35 sacks

a lot of the crop eaten straight from the field. The total household maize crop of 243+ sacks is sufficient for home consumption.In 1984, 407 sacks were harvested & the sur plus given to her husband's brother.

3-1/2 19 she bought from a Giriama; Swahili owned

cashews

213

TABLE 6.37 (CONT.)

Me=Member Fi=Field Me Fi Ownership Area Cultv. in Acres Labor 4 planted the trees herself planted by husband planted by husband planted by husband with her Crops cashews Harvest Comments

H 20 cleared her; Swahili land 21 husband cleared; Swanili land 22 husband cleared; Swahili land 23 husband cleared; Swahili land 1 24 she borrowed

ca:-hews

16

cashews

1984-85 cashew crop sold for Ksh.3,500 for her husband (r' good year brings i, Ksh.7,000 - 8,000)

cashews

1-1/2

maize

5 sacks.

from the Swahili owner 25 she bought 1-1/2

children cassava with maize


cashews

3 sacks
poor old trees; 1984-85 crop sold by her fc. Ksh.287 harvest pooled with her father's; suffi cient to last all year

from a (of 5) children Giriama; Swahili land

26 borrowed 1-1/2 Giriama man maize from her paid Ksh.350 father's by her to clear brother; on the field the settlement scheme J,27 husband K borrowed from Swahili owner 2 (of 8) cultivated by maize tractor for sesame Ksh.480 and 6 permanent workers. Paid Ksh.400 each per month by their husband. Co-wives also worked.

4 sacks

good

28 husband; on settlement scheme

1 (of 30)

co-wives alone

maize
sesame

3 sacks

harvest kept with another co-wife

214

.TABLE 6.

CONT)

~ A" Area, Cultv Me Fi JOwnership ,inii'Ac'es


J,91
K

~ ',abor~ Crops~.Harvest,
'comie

~,

Commuents

go

brought_

"(orf-,j~and _4

permanenty

~cien

total~crop suf fi_ t, to l'ast, a)ll

the

18

crop

sesame L~3r het pyssh pad Giiama Swahii andlwomanowner,,


a yer.i, Clt vt
t

husband''for.; ~~ co-dung ~spread.'on' field ~ Ksh.20O0 ~y f crop,,s s~5~+


~
poor
C;

maie~ (4 acre)

~10 sacks" ~

/2 ''cre , . cotton, .(1 acre)


1

~~y'~- ~
?~

weed;. a sor ored h.- 1 !self with : -on-s, w fe.

nigovernment"", n?,

' good' ~ ~
6 sc

hd~
~ ier o,

3 'se3'erd

i3)Giriama~men, maz,, t paild ,a totaLA':


cassava

x'oh'the'of Ksi.~1, 100 nd


cl'ea
weed."

"scheme%

"_6,'
'Gir

'-

cashews

4 8

r p s l

'aa

S~,ahli-land,

1Vt

~~''Girima;~............Al;'
AI

~-"A

215

c.

Income, Gender, and Differentiation

As Table 6.37 indicates, income from cash crop sales is often taken by
the head of the household, regardless of land ownership or heads labor are input.
their
men

Most household major source

are men, and for many of them cash crops

of income.

Cattle ownership is generally restricted to

who have some form of regular employment. of.group members' husbands.

Table 6.38 shows the occupations


women without

It should be noted that many

husbands, especially divorcees, live in extended households headed by other


male kin.

TABLE 6.38
HUSBANDS' EMPLOYMENT, MAPIMO

NO HUSBAND HUSBAND EMPLOYED HUSBAND UNEMPLOYED

widowed 8 14

divorced 6

own business 6

self ert.ployed 5 16

other 5 19

Husband's sales Giriama choose alone

control of income is not confined to the proceeds from crop


but extends to all products of their wives' labor. their control of income is absolute, though In local
how they
may

practice,

to exercise this control and what portion of her income a wife to retain are subject to variation.

be allowed factor

This is the most important


most of them
The
the

in determining what effect group members' income has:

are first group

and foremost members of households which they do not head. does not have the power to determine what happens to

itself

216

income group

it provides for its members. is typically and

Indeed, their very membership of of of

the
their
the

conditional upon the agreement and support heads. This is illustrated in the case

husbands founder When the

household

of the adult education class, who had his two wives join in 1973.
bakery was in operation, he paid for another household member to

join the group, and when she dropped out through illness, his young, third
wife took her place. Then in the wake of the 1983 crisis, he pulled all

three wives out of active participation in the group.

Ironically, contributed was founded The project few members undertake Tana River. group

it was

the

same pattern

of

household

control

which
This

to the demise of the village's Progressive Men's Group. in 1979 and later adopted by Tototo with a fishing

project. very to

proved somewhat inappropriate to local conditions, since were experienced fishermen, and the rest were unwilling

the difficult wkrk of fishing at night far away from home on the
Dissatisfied with this state cf affairs, members began taking
Among them Along was
with

funds to invest in individual money-making schemes. class's he ended and

the adult others, decisions enterprise effect,

founder, who took money to trade in maize. up in debt to the group. with the the small Unable to reach their

collective
collective
In

unhappy

income

which

produced, men were

group dissolved into inactivity to adapt their roles

in 1983. and

the

unable

(monetary)

expectations as individual household heads to the very different conditions


of a group, and as result it failed.

217

Unlike the other groups studied in this report, the Hapimo group has a
long history When the producers some cases, enough invest to of providing Its members with income through its enterprises.
business was underway, the group chairwoman pressed
and in

necklace to

save some of their income by investing it in goats, she kept money due to individuals until they had so. This policy met with success. Some members no

accumulated
began to

do

in stock (see Table 6.39 below), although there was

guarantee
not
might

that they be obliged otherwise

would be allowed to control the income from their herds and to spend it on the household needs that their husbands

provide.

One woman recalls that, for household consumption, her

husband freely slaughtered her goats, which had been kept together with his
own herd., She saw nothing wrong with this. necklace to their obeisance objections. Significantly, when money from

sales was brought by Tototo, the women were encouraged to show it


husbands to the before real bringing it back to the chairwoman, an structure of control designed to act of any

forestall

Since bakery,

1980, from

most

income

provided by the group has and

come

from

the
of
for
the
Paid
is

both

baking

for individual profit

from

division

collective earning pale by

group profits.

In general, however, women's opportunities

cash the

in the area are limited, and some are considered beyond active labor core carries of Christian (and Muslim) members. beer brewing

agricultural proscribed own cows at the Baking

a heavy stigma, and maize

for thefa.

Other sources include the sale of milk for those who


labor
a day.
respect,
One

which can bring in up to Ksh.180 ($11) a month, and casual nearby can salt works where wages range from Ksh.40-80 ($2-5) In this

provide much-needed cash for the household. heads stand to benefit as much as the women

household

themselves.

218

woman refused

was

pulled out of the group by her unemployed husband

because

sha
her
the

to give him the proceeds from her baking. return, with he

As a condition for to discuss of

possible matter income

demanded that group officials come

him, an offer which they rejected.

Male control

women's
member

can act as.a disincentive to individual baking.

One active

only bakes and two co-wife,

for the group because her husband, an entrepreneur with a shop


Her younger
of

grinding machines, takes most of the money she earns.

rather more adept at persuading him to let her retain a share

her income, continues to bake both for herself and the group.

Baker received according ($667) ($4) for was

profits

have

been each.

divided three times. In 1982-83, they

In 1980,

members
sums

Ksh.100

($13)

received

varying

to the number of times :hey had baked. divided on the same principle.

In May, 1984, Ksh.1O,000


given Ksh.51.60
one.

Members were

their first baking and Ksh.1l.60 ($.80) for each subsequent record which survives shows that they received

The incomplete

differing

amounts up to Ksh.276.40 ($19) - this for the equivalent of 29 days' labor.


Table 6.39 outlines the uses to which interviewed members put the money

from this and earlier divisions.

Women's voluntarily

income

tends

to

be

invested

in the

household,

either
When

or in accordance with the wishes of the household head.

it is not transferred directly to the household but invested in individual


enterprises, the general necessarily then it is likely that the profits from these will be used to
benefit of the household. Women's access to income does not

change their status or increase their bargaining-power

within

the household, for these tend to be subject to other considerations.

219

TABLE 6.39

USES OF MAPIMO GROUP DIVIDENDS, 1980-84

(in Kenya shillings)

Me A

Year 1980

Amount Received 100

Use
spent on buying a young cow from her husband; by

1985 she had 4 cows and was selling 2 bottles of


milk a day for a total of Ksh.6. The cows were
kept in her husband's herd.

1980

100

added to Ksh.400 from her individual baking and


bought a cow. By 1985 had bred 5 others and was
selling 3-4 bottles of milk a day for Ksh.3 each.
Cows kept in her husband's herd; a herdsboy paid
Ksh.220 a month by herself, her husband, and her
daughter, C.

B H

1982-83 1982-83

250 250

spent on food at home.


bought 2 goats. slaughter.
By 1985 had 6, kept for

J
A D

1982-83
1984 1984

80
350 70

bought a young goat, which died.

spent on her son's secondary school fees.


spent on daily household needs.

1984

300

bought 1 acre of cashews from a Giriama for

Ksh.200; the proceeds from the crop are taken by


her husband. Remaining Ksh. 100 spent on food.

1986

300+

helped husband pay secondary school fees for

their son.

1 J

1984 1984

n/a n/a

bought 3 goats which she later sold.


bought clothes for herself and her children.

220

This

can be seen in the case of the group treasurer, H in Table 6.39,


Apart from those
in
by

one of the most active and enterprising of group members. given

above, her sources of income include the sale of water (bringing ($4) a day) brought from another village to her household

some Ksh.70 her sons In 1978, cashewnut take the which decided doing easier: back to do the she

(still at primary school) using two donkeys owned by her husband.


with the consent of her husband, she bought two fields of

trees 5or a total of Ksh.1,200 (S162).

Her husband continued to

proceeds from the sale of cashews from these fields and one other
had cleared herself some years before. In 1985, however, he
for

that she could henceforth keep the money herself.

His reason

this was to make his management of this and another wife's household
instead of taking the money and then having to give most of it
her
a

his wife for various household expenses, it made sense to let budgeting herself. He was employed on and off as a mason, owned

herd of cattle, and managed an agricultural enterprise, which is maintained


by household requirements. relinquish members' labor and met all of their basic subsistence

He therefore had sufficient income co be able comfortably to


This was not a consequence of his wife's

some of his control.

income or group membership, but the outcome of a more general understanding


between them in a h situation in -.ich there was comparatively little

financial pressure upon the household.

One

of

the

factors

underlying was shared

this

understanding of

and the

their
local
the
the

entrepreneurial Pentecostal treasurer community.

enthusiasm Both

membership in one members of the

churches. and The

leading

congregation, in

her husband were standard bearers of righteousness attitude this fosters is illustrated in the

following

221

incident. her that offered he to

One had take

day in 1985, the treasurer's younger brother announced made Ksh.3,000 ($185) from his work as a builder. Ksh.2,000 of this and buy cattle for him as to her disgust, however, he spent all of the

to
She

a sensible
money in

investment. three action but one

Much

days buying beer and distributing gifts to his friends. consistent sharply

This was an
economy
local

with the redistributional ethos of the peasant at odds with her Protestant ethic. The

fundamentalist the church, Thus, most

churches encourage members to pay their social dues through

and to this end ask them to surrender 10% of all their income.
of the active members of the women's group give portions of

their individual income to the churches they belong to, though how strictly
they adhere to the rule is difficult to say. to foster and the restructuring Christians Church me.ibership alone of gender relations tied is and to

not sufficient household traditional 6.39 (F) who

obligations, practice. had

most

remain

closely

The situation of the other member shown

in Table
her

no control of her cashew income is illustrative;

husband, otherwise unemployed, was a Pentacostal church pastor.

The domestic majority.

group

itself has come increasingly under control of women

whose
the
group

circumstances permit them a degree of freedom not enjoyed by Again, this is not so much a direct consequence of

membership,

although membership does provide such women with opportunities


and entrepreneurial activity more extensive than those
active
and

for leadership available of group

to them at home. members, is the

The new treasurer, now one of the most wife of a Muslim convert, a shop

grinding-machine with a regular

owner in the village. The secretary is a young source of income from her nursery and adult

divorcee
education

222

teaching household upon'her school

in the after

village.

The chairwoman is now the

head

of

her

own
her
son's

a long conflict with a brother-in-law who death.

inherited her her

husband's fees, she

With his persistent refusal to pay

left him and moved to Mapimo to farm with

married

daughter. earnings.

Nevertheless, every year after harvest, he appeared to claim her


However, she now enjoys the support of her working son who at a nearby primary school. Hers is the has

become 'headmaster outcome economy.


of

successful
the peasant

a long battle against the repressive controls of

4.

SUMMARY DISCUSSION

The here, the

most striking feature of this case is that, of the four presented


bakery has succeeded in providing income to individual women.

This is significant for several reasons: all 3tudies outcome of women's groups

first, as reported by are

virtually
a rare
to

in Kenya, tangible earnings

of women's income generating projects, and few groups are able

boast this accomplishment.

Tototo Hcne Industries has been instrumental in


Second, though often
households, and

helping these women achieve this, their primary goal. controlled enables but to by men, this income does benefit

members'

women to purchase not only daily essentials - food and clothing make longer-range irvestments - cattle, goats, trees, and

school

fees for children.

In

addition the

to case

illustrating demonstrates

the

potential

of

women's of

group

enterprises,

how the profitability

a rural,

collectively-run state policies,

business is limited by influences of the peasant economy,


and private sector competition. The group's decision to

establish a system of collective and individual baking is a direct response

223

to households, immediate need for cash. for wage payments to members.

This system serves as a substicute

As a result, however, individual households


And when
providing

directly compete with the interests of the collective enterprise. the system breaks down, the latter is the first to suffer. By

free access to its facilities, the enterprise not only subsidizes the labor
invested for the benefit of households, but it absorbs the wastage

generated by an unorganized, haphazard system of individual production.

State

pricing Though

policies

for

wheat,

flour,

and

bread

limit
for

profitability. profit,

the controlled prices are calculated to allow4

the Mapimo bakery has not been able to benefit because of its size
Its distance from urban centers prevents it from purchasing
regularly of and leaves the group more vulnerable and variance in its quality. both A to
more

arid location. wholesale local flour

availability

flour

rationalized delivery failure, currently of

capitalist enterprise, facing competition, would have ensured


its product to the client. And ii. the event of product
does not

there

would be some mechanism for reimbursement which

exist under state control.

The combined effect of these factors

have eroded the group's ability to hold onto its share of the market.

Mapimo shows the same emerging pattern of differentiation that we have


seen in Mwamambi, Midodoni, and Bogoa. those who Women with the most advantages are
group

can avail themselves of the opportunities offered by the in this case, women whose husbands are in a

enterprise
-

comfortable
The

financial position are more likely to control the income they produce.

women who are more firmly rooted in traditional practice are weeded out.

224

The status, income. men. their men who

bakery for

has

had

little impact on gender

relations

or over

women's
women's

men continue to maintain the strictest control

Women raise cash crops, but the products of their labor belong to
Members have been forced to lepve the group for failing to reveal
by
who

earnings to their husbands. clearly

Even group membership is controlled

view it as an asset to be kept within the family and

allocate the related income. income process women's technical for the to of women,

But because this bakery has provided tangible


Midodoni. re!:Jve of The
from

it offers interesting comparisons with

introducing

and building the bakery was at some

previous

experience and required significant amounts

outside

assistance, which meant that outsiders would make some decisions


group. In contrast, the Midodoni group has succeeded in getting a

donor to fund unknowingly an enterprise (investment in palms and trading in


copra) capital have been theirs that marries a new corporate entity with indigenous practices of

accumulation.

In the process, patterns of control over

resources
though
cases,

reversed, and men in Midodoni are now indebted to women, In both

is a debt to the group rather than to its members. benefit: through by a

households Midodoni, provided

in Mapimo, through income generation by women, and in


the host of other non-enterprise that neither related benefits
has

foreign

donor.

However,

enterprise

significantly altcred the status of individual women lends support to those


who question peasant peasant the direct relationship between income and women's status Rather, local of which a complex interrelationship emerges practice, and their effects of on of in
the

economies. economy, all

marital

gender
external

relations,

respond to the growing

influence

economic and politica. forces.

225

NOTES TO CHAPTER 6
1. In order to protect the privacy of the women's groups included in this
study, the names of the groups have been changed. To our knowledge,
there are no Mwamambi, Midodoni, Bogoa, or Mapimo Women's Groups in
Coast Province.
2. Throughout this chapter, the following rates are used Kenyan shillings to U.S. dollars:

1978: Ksh. 7.40 = $1.00

in

converting

1979: Ksh. 7.33 = $1.00


1980: Ksh. 7.57 = S1.00

1981: Ksh.lO.29 = $1.00


1982: Ksh.12.75 . $1.00

1983i Ksh.13.70 $1.00


1984: Ksh.14.56 = $1.00

1965: Ksh.16.18 = $1.00

1986: Ksh.16.58 = S1.00


Figures converted from shillings to dollars are rounded off to the
nearest dollar.
3. "Faith and Development" (FAD) is an invented name used to protect identity of the agency that assisted this women's group. To knowledge, no organization called FAD exists in Kenya.
the
our

4. Sexual politics in Bogoa do not take the form described by BujrL (1982)
in her study of a Bajuni village. The Shirazi have not employed slaves
in the recent past; women, not men, play the major role in
cultivation; and they do not engage in labor migration/prostitution on
any large scale. Bogoa's own Bajuni are, however, rather more mobile.
It might be added that women's role in production precludes any
confinement or restriction upon their visibility in the community
studied.
5. No written accounts survive from this period and, while agreeing upon
the general outline, group members interviewed in 1985 gave widely
differing accounts of p'rticular activities, their chronology and the
sums of money involved. Where such disagreements arise, the account
given by the group's first secretary and adult education teacher is
followed.
6. "Technology for Development" (TfD) is an invented name used to protect
the identity of the agency that assisted this women's group. To our
knowledge, no organization called TfD exists in Kenya.
7. "Accountants in Action" (AIA) is an invented name used to protect the
identity of the agency that assisted this group. To cur knowledge, no
organization called AIA exists in Kenya.

226

CHAPTER 7
WOMEN'S GROUPS AND REPRODUCTION'

A.

KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE OF FAMILY PLANNING

The somewhat neighbors however,

women's group members who participate in Tototo's program may wore likely to know about family planning than their

be

female

and kin who are not part of a Tototo-sponsored group. no more likely to practice contraception.

They are,

In this, they resemble

the general population of Coastal vomen, as shown in Table 7.1.

TABLE 7.1
FAILY PLANNING KNOWLEDGE AND ACCEPTANCE
Members (N=297) Know at least one method of contra ception Have ever used contraception Non-Members (N=109) Coast

88.9% 11.1%

84.4% 7.3' 5.5%

87% 25% 6%

5.4% Current users Kenya Fertility Survey (CBS 1980). *p>.O05

When nearly 90%

asked of

if they knew of at least one

method

of

contraccption,
84.4% of

group members replied that they did, while only positively. The difference is not

non-members significant. real and

answered

statistically
is

If this small difference between members and non-members

not due just to chance, it has little to do with membership in a

227

women's Tototo's

group

per

se.

Rather it comes from exposure to a

program

like

which stresses the importance of family planning and ensures that

family planning education is provided to women's groups.

In practice and even

any case, knowledge of contraception bears little relation to for women on the Coast. fewer are current

its

Very few have ever used a contraceptive,


More group members (11.1%) than

users.

non-members difference. populations non-members.

(7.3%) have tried family planning at least once, a significant


However, in late 1983, the same proportions of both

were using contraception: While

5.4% fcr group members and 5.5% for


higher

Kenya Fertility Survey (KFS) data give a much

proportion of Coastal women who have ever used family planning, they show a
proportion of current users similar to our figures. The difference in the

former is because the KFS sample included urban and peri-urban women, which
ours did not.

Once must go

having

decided to use contraception, the women

we

interviewed
currently

to considerable lengths to obtain it. Of group members

using family planning, the majority (68.8%) had to travel between 10 and 30
kilometers (6-18 miles) to a hospital or clinic supplying contraceptives.

We must emphasize, however, that the numbers we are discussing are so small
(group drawn members from = 16; non-members = 6) that no valid conclusions But the possibility exists thst can were be
a

these

data.

community-based women, slightly much

distribution system available to this population of more women might try contraception. more Nevertheless, know

rural
there
about

are other,

compelling reasons why these women who

family planning are-not inclined to use it.

228

TABLE 7.2
CHARACTERISTICS RELATED TO FERTILITY
FOR MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS

Characteristics
Mean age in years
Marital status
Currently married
Divorced
Widowed
Never married
Percent in polygynous marriages

Members(N=297)
Non-Members(N=109)
36.7
78.4 6.7 9.1 5.7



32.0
78.0
8.3
6.4
7.3
23.9
82.6
17.7
3.9
34.0
42.6

29.0
91.6
18.5
5.7
20.2
40.8

Percent of women who have given birth


Mean age at birth of 1st child (years)
Mean number of own children
Percentage of women with
less than 3 children
3-5 children

6 or more children

Mean number of children at home


Percent of women with more than
4 children at home
Percent reporting children who
have died
Mean number of children who have

39.0

3.6
48.1
54.9

23.4

3.1
39.5
48.6

died per woman

Percent of women desiring no more


children

2.3

15.8

1.9

13.8

229

Table non-members. are older, women cash, are and

7.2

presents data related to fertility for group

members

and

The major difference between the two groups is that a difference which has been discussed in Chapter 5.

members
Younger
time,

less likely to join women's groups because they lack the the negotiating power to gain the approval of their

husbands.

Once this

difference in age is taken into account, there are very few real

differences between members and non-members on fertility-related variables.


Apparent mortality, rather the more is to differences in marital status, marriage type, childbearing, child
and number of dependent children all relate to a woman's age

than to her membership in a group.

The older she is, for

example,
she

likely her husband is to have a second wife, the more likely

be widowed, the more children she has, the more children she has had
died, and the more likely she is to want no more children. These

who have

differences in any case are small, just as the five-year mean difference in
age is relatively small.

The

women we interviewed conform to the demographic profile of

rural

women on the Coast drawn by the KFS. birth to their rate first of

KFS data show that Coastal women give


have a total
live.
soon

child at about 18 years of- age and

fertility Members after Given

between 7.36 and 8.23, depending on where

they

of the 13 groups we surveyed also marry early and give birth marriage.

Completed family size tends to be six or seven children."2

such a low age at first birth and a very low level of contraception,
expect that women would have more than seven children. The
sexual

one would traditional abstinence shorter or

practice has

of observing a lengthy period of post-partum throughout Kenya. It is either

weakened

considerably
Coast,

else has broken down completely.

Nevertheless, on the

230

several

other practices account for the fact that women do not give

birth

to as many children as they are capable of doing. the women longer Second, averages are

First, nearly a third of

married polygynously, a factor instrumental in maintaining


intervals and therefore lower fertility (Bhatia 1985).
births,
1980).

birth

breastfeeiing, initiated by 97% of Kenyan women with live 21.9 months per child among rural women on the Coast (CBS highest rate among all provinces in Kenya. The

This is the period

resulting

of post-partum amenorrhea is 16 months, again the longest in Kenya.


polygyny combined with a long period of lactational rural more Coastal women an average live birth interval than three years, again the longest in all the relatively low level of f,;rtility on the amenorrhea
of 39.1 of may

Widespread produce months, Kenya. for or

regions Coast

Finally,

also be partially attributable to physiological factors, for the proportion


of women having one or less children after ten or more years of marriage is
twice as high on the Coast as it is elsewhere in Kenya (CBS 1980).

In addition interviewed reported reported had

to

these

checks on fertility,

the

group

members

we

lost an average of 2.3 children. had died.

More than half cause of

(54.9%)
death
is

children who

Malaria was the major

by members and non-members alike.

Such a high mortality rate

not likely to inspire among parents an interest in contraception.

Indeed, only 15.8% of group members and 13.8% of non-members desire no


more children. Coastal women This corresponds with KFS data showing that only 15% of

between the ages of 25 and 35 want no more children,

again

the lowest rate in Kenya (CBS 1980).

231

There

are

very sound empirical reasons why the concept

of

"desired

family size" should not be used when studying fertility and family planning
in Kenya. desired based that on Of the on Our data and those of the KFS demonstrate that questions family size do not yield reliable responses. Therefore, KFS about

findings
data show

such questions must be viewed very skeptically.

the average women on the Coast would like 8.2 children (CBS 1980).
women we interviewed, members and non-members alike, those who

responded size of

said they want two more children.

This implies a desired family


However, 66.3% and 70.6%
and

8.0 for members and 6.1 for non-members.

respectively

of these samples were unable to give a numerical answer,

we do not regard answers to the question as reliable.

Taken as many constrain to have

together these figures paint a picture of women who are

having
and

children as they can given local practices which circumscribe natural fertility. Many couples fail to conceive or are Many of the children who are

unable
born

more than one or two children.

succumb to childhood illness.

Therefore, the families these women have are


Nevertheless, a tiny group
who
these

in general rather smaller than they would like. of these

mothers stands apart, representing the one woman in every 20 contraception. It is worthwhile to look closely at

now practices

women and to see how they differ from their friends and relatives.

Because

the

numbers of current users were so small (group members = 6), we looked at the 33 group members who had ever The eight non-members who had ever used

16, non-members family planning.

used

contraception using We

were excluded, different

since

the sample they represented had been selected

methods than those used to draw the sample of group members.

232

then compared who had differed.

members who had ever used family planning (N=33) to

members
they
women

never used it (N=264) in an effort to see in what other ways Table 7.3 presents these data and suggests a profile of

more likely than other group members to try out contraception at least once
in their very small lives. It is essential to keep in mind that these numbers are
not

and, with the exception of four variables, the differences

statistically significant;

no firm conclusions can be drawn based on these

data and no generalizations confidently made to a larger population.

Women the peasant they are not use home and lack of

who have used contraception belong to households less rooted in


economy. They are much more likely to be literate, although
do
the
a

not family less

necessarily younger than their friends and relatives who planning. They are more likely to want work outside than

likely to perceive any obstacles to working, other

opportunity. who

Non-acceptors, on the other hand, are more likely to


shamba
have
to
your
stays
more
other

have husbands work,

object to their working and more likely to cite Women who

housework, and other responsibilities as obstacles.

used family their home"

planning are more inclined to view children as a hindrance (Respondents universally perceived "working outside

working.

as requiring travel away from their communities and overnight home.) hold Women office who have used family planning are in their women's groups and to slightly to

away from likely to

belong

organizations. do the as an

Their husbands support the women's group slightly more than


Not only do these women see child likely care
to

husbands of non-acceptors. obstacle to

being able to work, but they are also more

think that children interfere with their participation in group activities.

233

TABLE 7.3

CHARACTERISTICS OF ACCEPTORS AND NON-ACCEPTORS


AMONG MEMBERS OF 13 WOMEN'S GROUPS

CHARACTERISTICS

ACCEPTORS
N=33

NON-ACCEPTORS
64

Percent literate
Percent wanting employment outside
the home
Percent citing major barrier to employment
No barrier
Children
Husband's refusal
Other
Percent holding office in women's group
Percent belonging to other organizations
in addition to the women's group
Percent having husbands who regard
women's group positively
Percent having husbands who assist
the women's group
Percent who think children interfere with
participation in women's group
Percent discussing with husband desired
number of children
Percent stating that husband would approve
of her use of contraception
Percent deciding to use contraception

Herself

66.7* 78.8

37.1" 53.6

30.3 39.4 3.0 27.3 33.3 69.7 81.9 81.8

18.9 25.3 12.8 38.8 25.3 55.8 69.6 68.8

21.2 63.6" 81.8*


18.2

7.1 24.6* 31.7" n/a

Her husband
Joint decision
Percent whose last child was born in
a hospital
Percent having:
<3 children
3-5 children
6+ children
p>. 0 1

30.3 33.3 36.4' 17.0"

12.1 48.5 39.4

22.1 39.4 38.5

234

They often that have

have

discussed family size limitation with their husbands

and

have
report
women
have

made a joint decision to use contraception. their given

They frequently These than

husbands were the ones to suggest contraception.

birth to their last child in a hospital more often

their fellow membcrs, although both groups are most likely to give birth at
home.

Contraception

does

not

appear

to

be

related

to

key

variables

pertaining to social and economic differentiation. active and are

Although users are more

outside their homesteads than non-users, they do not have more land
net more likely to be employed. Ethnic group and religion do not

seem to be related to the use of family planning. women's seven group, however,

Membership in a specific
Four of the

is associated with contraception.

groups that had members currently practicing contraception were part

of the original cohort in Totote's first experimental program.

While progressive

women

who

have

once used family planning

seem

to

be

more
use

in their orientation, there is strong evidence that they

contraception not to limit family size but co replace traditional practices


that lower fertility. Several variables associated with respondents' use

of contraception point to this. between the

First, there is no significant association


contraception,
a certain

number of children a woman has and her use of that

indicating

women do not seek to prevent more births once

number of children have been born. her use family higher of size

Nor is her age significantly related to


limitation fact, a of
much
were

contraception, providing further evider'e that may not be the purpose of contraception. In

proportion (12.1%) of women who had ever used family planning

235

pregnant at the time of the survey than women who had never used it (5.6%).
Roughly half (48.5%) of those interviewed who had used contraception
its use. This finding echoes most other research

had

on

discontinued

discontinuation of family planning in Kenya. groups

Respondents from 11 of the 13

had used contraception, but members of only seven groups were using
Table 7.4 summarizes these figures.

it at the time of the survey.

The replace women's

most persuasive evidence that the purpose of contraception is to


traditional methods of prolonging the birth interval lies in

responses to our questions concerning breastfeeding.

Among

women

who had used family planning, 12 respondents (35%) had children under three
years months of age and had breastfed these children on the average for 9.75

but no longer than 21 months.

Sixty-nine respondents (26%) who had

never used family planning had children under three and had breastfed these
children on the average for 13.4 months but no longer than 36 months.

These data suggest that women who use contraception breastfeed children kor
about two years for and then stop. Those who do not use contraception
the rural
as a
the

breastfeed population, means message of

three years.

Among a certain small segment of

it thus appears that contraception supplants lactation prolonging the birth interval. This is consistent with

spread by Kenyan health workers until 1.985, when birth

prevention

replaced birth spacing as the focus of health education.

The have a

above very

data are consistent with KFS findings that

Coastal

women
little

low rate of contraception, a long birth interval, and

incentive to limit family size because they are not having as many children
as they would like to have. Our results also agree with other research

236

(Dow and methods few women

Werner

1981) Indicating that contraception replaces

traditional

of prolonging the birth interval. do

We have suggested that although


differ One in

practice family planning, those who do appear to from women who have never used a contraceptive.

some respects Majengo, acceptors has

group,
all
it

a history of family planning use and, in fact, 24.2% of

in our sample, past and present, are members of this group.

is, therefore, useful to take a closer look at this group.

TABLE 7.4
CONTRACEPTION BY GROUP

GROUP N Mapimo* Kitere Gede Vigurungani Kayafungo Lukundo Bogoa Pangani Maunguja Chumani* Mkoyo* Ngamani Majengo 6 1 0 3 0 1 1 2 1 4 3 3 8 33

HAVE EVER USED % of sample 25 4 0 19 0 3 3 10 5 20 12 25 24 N 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 i 2 3 3 4 16

NOW USE % of sample 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 5 10 12 17 12

WPart of the original cohort of 6 groups who began participating in


Tototo's program in 1977.

237

B.

MAJENGO WOMEN'S GROUP3

1.

History

The members of Majengo Women's Group live about 10 miles from Mombasa.
Although they now
have a spacious building where they meet and conduct

their activities, for a number of years they met in the storeroom of a shop
just a few yards from the busy main road. 1974 by could a woman in her mid-twenties. The Majengo group was founded in
women
ten
They

She had the idea that several

Join forces to make patchwork jackets to sell, so she organized

women
who then rented the storeroom for a meeting room and workshop. first used Tototo Tototo lampshades taught to market their goods, and in 1977, Tototo

adopted
to

Majengo. weave

staff visited the group and instructed the women how and tablemats. They named the founder as

group

coordinator,

her how to keep books, and sent her to

a leadership

training seminar.

The

women

then decided that each should give Ksh.10 a month

towards
a
to

construction grant build

of a building.
They opened a bank account and applied for

from the Ministry of Social Services, receiving Ksh.5,000 ($675) the foundation. and In 1978, they received another grant of it with a membership drive. They

Ksh.1O,000
also sold
who

($1,350) charcoal lived on

accompanied

to earn money for the building. a farm near Majengo, wrote

Finally, Tototo's director, to the Bamburi Cement

Company
was

requesting

a donation of cement.

This was forthcoming, and the group

able to complete the main walls. her sister

The coordinator-founder left in 1980, and


When, as new coordinator, she returned

took her place in 1982.

238

from her
first Tototo training workshop in 1982, group members decided hold a harambee fund raising event, and from this they raised necessary to build the roof. The the

to
last

Ksh.14,000

($2,000)

building
was

completed in 1983.

With kiosk

the remaining money and a grant from CEDPA, they opened a


water
the village.
It also
Family
sewing
four

and
a maternal health and family planning clinic for a

This marked marked Planning machines a

big jump in the role the group played in Majengo. From the two

time when they began to receive many visitors. Association of

Kenya (FPAK), in 1984 they received

and funds to hire a sewing teacher and, in 1985, were given

additional machines and money for another instructor.

Currently,

Majengo

members

weave, sew, sell water,

run

a
nursery

school, hold an adult education class, operate the monthly clinic, and each
contribute Ksh.20 a year towards the building of another hall.

2.

Membership

Majengo has 38 active members.

Table 7.5 gives their ages.

TABLE 7.5
MAJENGO GROUP MEMBERS, AGE IN YEARS

<20 6 N=38

20-29 9

30-39 ii

40-49 5

50-59 4

>60
3

239

Only six of the current members belonged to the group before 1980. those original to the members, four came from a prominent Christian Salvation Army. Six other members of family this

Of
who

belonged

family
Muslim,
members
the

subsequently is represented do nbt

joined the group.

A second Majengo family, this one Sixteen of the 38

in the membership by six women.

have relatives in the group.

Group leaders all are members of

Christian family, and collectively, this family accounts for nearly half of
all individual earnings of the Majengo group, or about Ksh.1,500-2,000
and the
of

($90-120) a mnonth. remaining age.


25%

The Muslim family accounts for another 25%,

accrues to the two oldest women who are 60 and 78 years

The years. 1982,

original

six

members constituted the group for

the

first

six
in

One new member joined in 1980, four more in 1981, another four seven in 1983 and two in 1984. sewing workshop opened.

Nine new members were added in 1985,


23

when the

All of them are unmarried and under

years of age, and several are secondary school students.

3.

Members and Their Households

Table average

7.6

shows

members' marital status.

Married members

have

an
This

of 6.4 children, and in 1985, six were using c-ontraception.

represents an increase in acceptors of two from 1983 but a decline from the
high of 8 who have ever used family planning. Current users are all

between the ages of 27 and 35.

240

TABLE 7.6
MAJENGO MEMBERS' MARITAL STATUS

Never Married 11

Married 23

Divorced 1

Widowed
3

A striking difference between Majengo and the other groups included in


this study 7.7.
is the diverse ethnic composition of the group, shown in Table

TABLE 7.7
ETHNIC COMPOSITION. MAJENGO GROUP
ETHNICITY Mijikenda = 25
Digo Duruma Rabai Giriama Chonyi Other CoastalGroups = 2
Tait2
Other Kenya Groups = 7
Bugoma Luo Kikuyu Kamba
Other Countries = 2

NUMBER
2
1
7
12
3

1
1
2
3
2
36

Tanzania TOTAL

241

Eighteen (selling clinic.

of

the

women

are farmers,

three

have

other

businesses

charcoal, fish, vegetables), and two work for the family planning
Thirteen said that Majengo activities were all they did. Of the

23 married women, 19 have husbands who are employed. range wife's from taxi driver to para-nedical worker.

Husbands' occupations
a

In general, the higher

position is in the women's group, the more likely her husband is to

have a well-paying formal sector job that carries some prestige.

Table group women, and

7.8 summarizes the Majengo data. others

The differences between noticeable. Of

this

described in this report are

married

83% have! husbands who are employed, yet less than half of the women
A majority from of Majengo women make what can enterprises, and these be viewed more as
than

are farmers. monthly

salaries

group

average

Ksh.150 ($9) per member per month. source of young marriage of income. single

A third depend on Majengo as their only


number

Fifty-eight percent have attended school, and a women belong to the group who appear to be

delaying
were
one

in order to attend school. of Coast Province.

Eighteen percent of the members

born outside child, of women somewhat toward

Several of the older women have only A

suggesting the infertility that is endemic to the Coast.

number
is

in their thirties, however, have four or five children which lower lower than expected. Whether these women are setting a

trend
that
be
FPAK

fertility

is not possible to discern.

Nevertheless, should

fertility controlled

is something

that can and under some circumstances

is widely accepted by the women.

It is reinforced by the

family planning clinic, with which most group members are closely involved.

TABLE SELECTED CHARACTLRISTICS,

7.8
HAJENGO GROUP MEMBERS

Age

Education

Marital Status

I of Children

Ethnic Group

BirthPlace

Work in Addition to Majengo

Husband's Occupation

Majengo Income (Ksh/mo)

78 65 60 55 55 50 50 49, 45, 45 40 40 38 37 ? 37. 35 36 36 36 35 30, 30. 28, 27 ?

Primary-4 yrs. 0 0 ? ? Primary 0 ? Primary-4 yrs. 0 ? 0 ? Primary-7 Primary-5 Primary-6 Primary-6 Primary-7

S M W M W D M W H M M M M M M H M M M H M H M M M M M S S S S S S S S S S

0 7 8 15 I 1 6 1 1 9 9 3 5 5 5 7 5 4 7 7 4 8 4 2 3 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Kamba Rabai Giriama Digo GiriamRabai Giriama Giriama Giriama Kamba Giriama Choryi Taita Kamba ? Rabai Chagga Rabai Kikuyu Kikuyu Rabai Luhva Giriama Taita Rabai Luo Duruma Giriama Giriama Chonyi Giriama Digo Girima Chonyi Giriama ? ? Rabai

Kitui Majengo Magengo Majengo Majengo Hajengo Kalolani Majongo Malindi Kitui Majengo Bomani Majengo Shauri-Moyo Tanzania Majengo Majengo Majengo Naizobi Murang'a District Majengo Kakamega Kaloleni Taita Majengo Kisumu Majengo Majengo Majengo Majengo Malindi Majengo Majengo Majengo Majengo ? ? Majengo

Sells charcoal Farms -----

Unemployed ? -----

Farms Farms Farms Farms Farms


---

Taxi

yrs. yrs. yrs. yrs. yrs.

Kiosk Farms, does not work with group Farms Farms Fish kiosk Farms
---

Driver ..Headmaster Dept. of Agric. Unemployed Hotel Receptionist Hotel Cook Kiosk Notel Cook Hotel Cook Min. of Agriculture Medical Clinician ? Tractor Dept.

500 50 40 150 30 50 7 40 300 ? 60

Farms Farms --Kilifi Medical Center


---

560 ? 100 100 60 Absent from Makiwo

Primary Primary-7 yrs. Secondary School

Driver Absent Ctom Makiwo 400 300 ? 300 ? ? 100 130 10 ? ? 50 ? ? 95

of Agriculture

? ? ? ? 19 IP

18
17 17 ?

0 Primary-7 yrs. Sec. School-i yr. Sec. School-1 yr. Primary-7 yrs. 0 ? Student Primary-7 yrs. Primary-7 yrs. ? 0 Primary-7 yrs. Sec. School-4 yrs. Student ? Sec. School-4 yrs.

Farms -----

Farms Farms
---

Dept. of Agriculture Watchman for Group Laborer Hotel Cook Builder Hotel Worker Fisherman
---

Farms
---. ---

Farms ...... ...... Farms


-----

---

=officer

or

emloyee

of

Majengo Women's

Group

243

The words of Majengo members themselves illustrate these differences:

The group coordinator:

"I joined the group because I had left school to get married,
and my husband turned out to be bad. I had a child and no work,
and I heard that Majengo was a way one could get money. They were
weaving and selling charcoal. I wanted to get money for my child.
Majengo offered
And I also wanted to get ideas to get clever. I was living at home,
different experiences. That was in 1976. and I think I was 17.
"Majengo has been such a success because the group is active.
The
It serves the community. People know it-is a good thing. benefit. It helps their life at home - they can buy food
members and clothes. I built my house with the money I made from Majengo.
Also the
A woman does a project and getz money to take home. She doesn't have to sit at home alone.
women exchange ideas. At
Here she gets an education, she talks and shares ideas. Majengo a woman learns important things like family planning,
nutrition - so many women before were selling their vegetables to
your
buy bread, useless bread, but now we tell them keep Here a
income generating projects here. We have vegetables. member is different from the general community. A Majengo woman
is hard working and the community knows that. She is respected.
People know that if they come to Majengo they can get help.
"Yes, the people of Majengo used to be suspicious of what we
A few still think we are witches, but most of that
were doing. had stopped because of our follow-up activities. We've explained
to them why this place is so important - to us and to them. When
we started providing the health clinic and the water kiosk, they
were alerted that Majengo was a good thing.
"I don't know if I am e progressive thinker. I'm not sure
what that means. I now know I can teach about family planning and
convince people that it is a good thing. I want to see my
daughter educated and save money for my children. Right now I
still have to feed and clothe them but later when our projects get
bigger, I want to start a savings club for them. Someday I want
I
my children to be the managers of banks or an airplane pilot. want them to have a good life.
"Majengo helps the relationship at home. Money always helps.
I can help my
Plus it gives us ideas to start a business. husband.. .Like, for example, my husband wants to take out a loan
for a bicycle. Already he has a loan of 8000 shillings out on our

244

home.

I told him to finish the first loan and then when that debt

is finished he can get his bicycle. That made him mad and we
argued. I kept telling him to pay first. It will take six
months. If he does anything he knows he has to come and ask me
first because he knows that I can help him. He thinks that
Majengo has put things in my head that make re clever and he
doesn't understand what I do. It makes him think I know things.
So he knows I can help him. Plus, I make more money than he does.
He gets a bigger salary but he has to take out some of it for
taxes, for paying his union, and other things. He spends it. I
get to keep everything I make."
The group's chairwoman:
"I joined Majengo because if I had stayed home I would have
had nothing to do. At home, my brain is empty. At Majengo I am
busy and receive benefits for being busy. My life is not a
difficult one, bit being in Majengo has made a difference in my
home. It has helped us bring food for the children and it has
helped us pay for clothes. We have gotten so we now depend on the
income. I was married young and ha ._ had many children. I want
my daughters to wait until they are 23 or 30 before they marry so
they can finish school. Then I only want them to have four or
five children. I want them to progress."
The nursery school teacher:
"I joined Majengo so I could get money and also so I could
talk with other women. I started the nursery in 1985. It helps
our village because many of the smaller children here can't cross
the main street to go to the other nursery at the primary school.
The community really appreciates the nursery.
My husband is unemployed. He has a job off and on but
recently he hasn't had any work. The money I get from Majengo
from weaving and teaching really helps a lot. So my husband is
more than glad that I'm a member of Majengo.
I have two children. I had three but one died of pneumonia
last year. I don't want any more, at least for now. I need to
work harder but if I got more children I think my life would be
very difficult."
Majengo Mwamambi on the Women's Group operates in an environment similar to that

of

Women's Group, described in Chapter 6. It lies close to town and


main road in a tourist area, and most of Majengo mejbers' their husbands ethnic Majengo are
and
has

wage-earners. religious

However,

members are mixed in

affiliations, and they are virtually all literate.

245

developed various enterprises, and many members receive a monthly wage from
them. For some, Majengo is their sole support. Majengo Women's Group

resembles

groups in more affluent or urban areas of Kenya and provides, on


justification strategy Looking for for women the and notion of for the income link generation income as a
and

the surface, development fertility.

between

deeper, we see that elements of the

peasant

economy

continue to manifest themselves in the Majengo group. 75Z of the earnings have

Two families receive


two extended

of the women's group, indicating that the group operation and are

households

appropriated

strengthened

economically and politically by it. Most of the members use their earnings
to pay still young for school fees for their children, indicating that children are

a major investment for old age security.

However, the new cohort of

members who seek cash to pay school fees for themselves represents a
new pattern. a desire from Of married women, 27% practice contraception, and
for smaller families - four or the eight or nine-child norm five children, on a
the

distinctly many express distinct Coast. income

departure

prevalent

The Majengo case suggests not a simple cacsa2 relationship between


and fertility, but rather that fertilit7 and subsistence are

inherently linked, and when relations of production and gender, once firmly
rooted in the peasant economy, change, the need for children also changes.

246

C.

CHILDREN AND THE PEASANT ECONOMY

1.

Use of Child Labor

The rely on provide

members

of the women's groups associated with for their livelihood. They

Tototo

primarily
aspire to
are

agriculture

themselves

food for their families, regardless of whether their husbands

wage-laborers. Mwamambi. are often

This can be very difficult, as we have seen in the case of


women
rewards

When their households are engaged in cash cropping, then at the center of production, whether they reap monetary

for their labor or not. own production survey through

This workload is reduced if women can extend their


the use of their children's labor. We have both
the

and case study data indicating that this is a major reason for

persistence of high fertility on the Coast.

In data for

Chapter

6, Tables 6.4, 6.18, 6.25, and 6.37

present

cultivation

rour cases. each of the


cultivation, women

In Mwamambi, an area ot unproductive and


were assisted by the following a as they

unrewarding worked brother, primarily group

in their fields: an adult

two sons of a brother, two sons of in Midodoni,

husband's
women
are
enabled
are birds used
and

daughter, and a son's wife.

engaged to

in food crop production, and FAD grants hire labor. small Nevertheless, their

have

members to

children from

year-round

perform

tasks like guarding crops

animals.
FAD has also ensured that children are schooled by providing them
with scholarships, a double benefit allowing women to substitute adult paid
labor Bogoa, for that of children and to invest in children's education. In
and

members

helped their mothers and fathers-in-law to cultivate, were helped by older sons and daughters. For Mapimo

they in turn

women,

247

where
may be

land

tenure practices are uncertain and where large tracts of


land

Adult sons, their wives,

farmed, children are even more important.

children, and grandchildren assist in weeding, harvesting, and planting.

Group household parents questions husband children people

members are acutely aware of the critical role children play in


production. They have performed such services for them. their To own

and on would

expect

their children to do the same for group members answered the family planning] because we

survey
"My
three
because
21]

contraception, object [to

following: have only

and
we need about ten." "I object [to family

planning]

thought I would never get a child [she first gave birth at age of this I Lied more children. In fact, it made my

and because marry six]." a

husband
has

second wife, and now I am here to bear children [she already "We need children, as many as possible. Why use the

(family
advise
family
many

planningj my son planning to

method?" "We need at least 12 children. use family planning" [this from a man].

I wouldn't even "I would use

after getting as many children as possible." "We need as

children as we can get." Striking in these responses is the word "need".

Our District

findings on

complement

those

of

Mkangi

(1983)

in Taita/Taveta
labor
and
it

the Coast where he found households dependent on cilild a The consequent economic interdependence between parents

and observed children. relied on

poorer a family was and


the less land it had, the more in economic production. There is a clear

children then,

economic

rationale, Until

behind the desire of Coastal people for large


families.

the conditions change that engender this demand, it is unlikely


that

most couples will find family planning relevant to their needs.

248

2.

Investment in Children's Education

number

of

studies have demonstrated the dogged

determination

of

Kenyan parents to invest in their children's schooling (Gomes 1984, Dow and
Werner 1983b). They do so often at considerable sacrifice and with a There are fewer dim
jobs
not

awareness than before pay off,

that this form of investment is a gamble. for

primary school leavers, and while the investment may one child makes it to the formal sector and a

if only

monthly

wage, the risk is justified (Mkangi 1983).

Our belonging the time age;

findings to when

support this view and amplify it. A major

qason In

for
fact,

women's groups is to raise money for school fees.

most women join groups is when their children reach

school

at that point, the pressure of ;chool fees propels women to mobilize


resources. to Other factors, like male migration, do not motivate
join (Mbugua 1985). In the Midodoni area, where an
form
fees

additional women earlier

initially

study points to bridewealth as the most important and costly 20 years ago (Parkin 1972), our data show that school In fees

of investment for both

sons and daughters are now the focus of investment. women repeatedly cited school payments and

Mwamambi
as the
these

and elsewhere, largest

single drain upon their resources.

How hard it is to raise

fees and how serious the consequences are if they are not raised is seen in
the case of one Mwamambi woman (Table 6.8). Her son was sent home from

school for failing to bring a "voluntary donation" of'Ksh.200 ($12) for the
school building fund. may make coconut in a palms year This sum is equivalent to what one woman in Mwamambi
plaiting makuti. In Midodoni, the male owners of
sons

who mortgage their trees do so to raise money to send to secondary school or technical training

and daughters

courses.

249

Similarly,
money with

women
their then,

working

at the Mapimo bakery are likely to


to

pool

their

school.

husbands' so they can send sons

secondary

Regardless, economy, the

of the particular practices that characterize of children is seen as a major and

local

education

essential

household investment.

Our data suggest that this view is indeed rational.

3.

The Pay-Off

More

than half the group members (57.6%) receive regular

remittances
sons,

from relatives, as shown providing husbands

and of these, 38% receive regular income from adult

in Table 7.9.

Sons form the single largest category of relatives

remittances to group members, although not to non-members, whose


and brothers play more prominent roles. This is in part because

the children

of members are on the average older and therefore more likely

to be out of school, employed, and capable of supporting their mothers.

The

chairwoman of Mwamambi Women's Group illustrates this.

When

her

two grown sons found work, they began to send her regular remittances which
amounted father, economic rent out to the equivalent of $40 a month. from whom she was divorced. They hid this fact from their
the
to

Their assistance freed her from house

necessity to

to remarry and enabled her to build a small

up-country migrants working in the tourist industry.

it has

also contributed group.

to her ability to hold a position of influence within the

The chairwoman's investment in her son's education has paid off and

will probably continue to do so for the rest of her life.

250

TABLE 7.9
REMITTANCES, GROUP MEMBERS (N=297)

Source None Son Husband Brother Other relatives % Receiving


42.4
21.9
13.8
11.8
10.1

REMITTANCES, NON-MEMBERS (N=109)


Source None Husband Brother Son Othet relatives Z Receiving
35.8
21.1
18.3
15.6
9.1

Dow data for most of

and

Werner (1983b), using 1979 census data, have

found

similar
or

Kenya. as a whole. the

A quarter of adults surveyed provided all

support required by their elderly parents, and half Half of all living parents currently resided

provided
their

some support. sons. children indicating children. Adult of a

with

children who provided for their parents tended to have


more
their own than respondents who did not assist their continuing 6% of expectation of future old respondents did not expect age to parents,
from

assistance receive

Only

regular

financial help from their children, and only 4.7% did not expect to receive
bridewealth documented older upon a the marriage of their daughters. Dow and Werner
to the

substantial

lineal flow of wealth from the younger

generation and felt that prospects for an early decline of fertility


areas were not promising. Our data lead us to the same

in rural

conclusions.

251

D.

GROUPS, CHILDREN AND REPRODUCTION

Women's women

groups are one of several kinds of investments made by Their children are another, both insofar as

rural

on the Coast.

children

extend the productive capacity of parents and in the potential for educated
children to support parents in their later years. These economic
where
in

relationships they remain fertility. available, children.

are embedded in the peasant economy of the Coast, and strong, there is little reason to expect

a decline

While some women might: try contraception if it were more easily they would do so only to replace traditional methods of spacing

In other prevailing enterprise development

areas, where the peasant economy is sufficiently

weakened,
group
the

conditions demands and

reduce the competition between household and allow women to make decisions that favor

of enterprises.

In this way, group income generation projects

are transformed if small, dependence accompanied planning. income on by

into true enterprises that furnish a reliable and regular,


to group members. These same conditions reduce and women's
be

children

for labor and old age assistance

should

a decline in fertility and an increased demand for Women's Group provides an example of this

family
kind of

Majengo

transformation.

These conditions are not common on the Coast and are found
areas associated with the tourist industry. into the It is
rural

only in peri-urban unlikely that

a more general transformation, extending

areas, will occur for many years.

252

NOTES TO CHAPTER 7
Many of the data on which this chapter relies were collected and
1. analyzed by Dr. Edward Mburugu of the Sociology Department, University
of Nairobi.
2. Our data cannot be disaggregated in such a way that we can calculate
fertility rates for age groups. Nevertheless, the distribution of
children by age group of women shown in Table 7.2 generally follows the
age distribution of the women given in Table 5.1.

MEMBERS
CHILDREN BY AGE Percentage of women with less than 3 children 3-.5 children 6 or more childen 20.2% 40.8% 39.0% 3.7% 22.9% 34.4% 39.0% AGE
<20 years
20-29 years
30-39 years
40+ years

NON-MEMBERS
CHILDREN BY AGE Percentage of women with less than 3 children 3-5 children 6 or more children 34.0% 42.6% 23.4% 8.3% 39.5% 26.6% 26.6% AGE
<20 years
20-29 years
30-39 years
40+ years

3. Lucy Langstaff collected the data on which this analysis is based.

253

CHAPTER 8
CONCLUSIONS

A.

HOW TO GENERATE INCOME

In order to establish income-generating enterprises, women's groups on


the Coast dispensed securing of Kenya rely heavily upon funding and other forms of assistance
by external agencies, and they invest considerable resources such support. constraints Without it they cannot hope to free themselves which operate upon them. These constraints in
of
stem

the various

from both the character of local economy, which is subject to various forms
and degrees of external economic influence, and the constitution of women's
groups as registered agents of the state. The state plays an ambivalent

role in this process: groups offers groups

on the one hand, it places a number of demands upon


on the other, it
funds to

and the households to which their members belong; them a chance to escape these demands by

distributing

and by providing contacts with NGO's and thus access to the

larger

resources at these agencies' disposal.

women's and to the

groups

themselves have access to the labor of their The

members
of

cash provided by members or their households.

amount

income which these households (and women as household members) are prepared
to invest ability to other in groups is conditioned by the sum of demands upon them, their

to meet these, and the return the- can expect from this as opposed
investments. Investment in a group typically promises no more
fund
group

than a long-.term raising events

return, especially when subscriptions are spent on and on entertaining visitors. As a result,

254

subscriptions different difficult similar devote members

are of

usually

small

- smaller than

the

sums

invested and

in

kinds for set

individual

saving organized by groups Labor investments are

often
to a
to

members

to sustain.

subject

of constraints, as is the time that members are group meetings. Groups do not possess the power or enforce participation.

prepared to

to

separate these

from

their

households

Under

circumstances, enterprises.

it is not easy for groups working alone to establish viable

Nonetheless, soliciting

encouraged

by the government to help themselves

before

help from outside, young groups do experiment with a wide range


The commonest of these is collective cultivation.
receives explicit state support in the form of

of enterprises.
form of

This

advice

enterprise

and, in

the case of some favored cash crops, free seed, both dispensed agricultural extension officers. Collective

by

government

cultivation

projects provide an example of how the state appropriates women's groups as


its agents, in this case creating the conditions whereby groups disseminate
agricultural agents, given techniques and policies in parts of the community where other
the primary schools, rarely reach. However, the support

except

is generally insufficient for these enterprises to become lucrative.


cannot afford the purchased inputs which they are advised to

Many groups

use, and cultivation remains a risky business. because members are faced with the

Labor inputs are restricted


demands of their own

competing

households; with members' same time. cultivation

cultivation of collective fields thus suffers from competition


household Perhaps are agricultural enterprises being undertaken at important, small, the acreages under areas the

more

collective
worked by

typically

often less than the

individual households.

The government does not as a rule intervene to make

255

plots

available, easy

and groups have to borrow or rent fields. to obtain or hold on to. The net

Such land of

is

not always

effect

these

constraints is that groups reap little rewad from their collective fields.
From this point of view, it is interesting to compare Midodoni's
Even Pfter
cultivation
palms,
of

agricultural enterprise before and after receiving FAD support. this intervention, remained which the group's annual income from collective

small compared with the fruits of extensive investment in on a scale more appropriate to the

occurred

requirements

capitalist enterprise.

The groups described in this report also experimented with other forms
of enterprise. Mapimo members sold their collective agricultural labor to

local households, a temporary expedient which reproduced existing relations


of production Bogoa did not bread and gender but provided no real economic opportunities.
which
chapati

members produced cowrie necklaces and failed to find a market over-exploit their labor. Midodoni members tried selling

in an area where there was scant demand. and marketing of makuti.

Mwamambi members turned to


most
of a

the production promising middleman demand. of

In many ways, this was the

these enterprises, because the group adopted the role

in selling a product for which there was (and is) considerable


However, further development of the enterprise would have required
of transport and storage facilities, enabling the group to buy

possession

makuti when and where the price was low and sell them when and where ft was
high. This in turn would require an outlay of capital which the group did
and here, could not raise on its own. makuti production Like the other enterprises
of other

not possess mentioned projects.

was discontinued in favor

256

None attract

of

these

small entirprises, except Mwamambi's, was support. Each group had, however, attracted

likely

to

government

official

attention through their self-help and fund raising efforts. the three to be older groups, this was not difficult. in its official grants;

In the case of
group
formed
received
for an

Each was the first Midodoni, ) ve was

formed at

respective area, while one, instigation. Midodoni for The same three a welfare

directly government

since Mapimo

project,

income-generating and Mapimo NGO's,

project, and Bogoa for a combination of both. these grants after they had obtained the

Midodoni
suprort of

received

while Mapimo, like Mwamambi, was first introduced to its NGO

ally,

Tototo, through official contracts.

Most grants made by the government and

the Ministry of Culture and Social Services in particular are comparatively


small. notable sums, events, The current of norm is Ksh.1O,000 ($615) although which Midodoni is one. Groups can there raise are some

exceptions

similar

sometimes more, by hosting harambees with official support.


At such
the larger contributions tend to be made by other women's These sums are often insufficient to establish the groups
projects

and NCO's.

which groups have in mind, and this is where the NGO's


come into their own.

The

NGO's

have

much

more

to offer than

the

capital

which Kenya,

true
they

enterprises

require.

In the case of NGO's operating within

play an active role in planning and advising or assisting women's groups in


the operation because radical although the of their enterprises. of Such interventions frequently are necessary
a

development

these enterprises

represents

departure the

from the prevailing conditions of the peasant

economy,

interventions that NGO's make are not always appropriate


to
Collective women's enterprises have no foundation in the

these conditions.

257

historical

economy of the Kenya coast, and women's groups themselves

have

been formed in response to explicit state policy and organized on the model
provided experience by or by the government's Women's Group Programme. Women's primary

is in runring or providing the labor for enterprises undertaken


Even where these enterprises are their own, they
their
they

for the household. have

generally labor. will be with its

little control over what happens to the products of

If the product is not taken from them, then almost certainly obliged to invest it in the household. This experience

together
leaves
are in

corollary, of

the generally low level of women's education, group members ill-prepared to run what

the majority effect

women's

small-scale of

capitalist enterprises.

The managerial and

technical
As a

requirements consequence,

these

enterprises present repeated difficulties.

groups often come under the control of members who are better
This is a positive outcome in terms of the logic of

equipped for the task.

enterprise development, but one which sits uneasily with the collective and
participatory circumscribed economic ideology by the that often characterizes NGO's. by other of Even so,

peasant economy and threatened enterprises run

external
a

interests,

the continual risk

failure,

situation from which they can only hope to be rescued by NGO's.

The cases,

NGO's this

corcerned differ widely in their approaches, and in friction between them, though this

in some
is rarely
distance

results

expressed

openly.

Those based in Nairobi tend to remain at some

from the groups which they help. group managed

In the case of Midodoni, this allowed the

to appropriate the services of FAD's staff and divert the funds they
towards group enterprises. This has been much to the benefit of

these enterprises, though not exactly what FAD had in mind. introduced

In Mapimo, AIA
the

a complex set of accounts and pressed for other reforms in

258

management offered by

of

the

bakery

enterprise.

A rather

different

approach

is

Tototo,

a Mombasa-based NGO with its own

integrated

women's

group
these

program

in Coast Province.

From Tototo's point of view,

both

of

interventions have been inappropriate.

Midodoni was ruined by FAD's

abundant

funding, leaving decision-making concentrated in the hands of the


And while Tototo agreed on the need for reform in Mapimo, with the technocratic nature of AIA's input and later sent to work more closely with the group. These it
out

chairwoman. disagreed its own

volunteer in

judgements
of

are rooted working

Tototo's participatory methodology and long

experience

with women's groups on the Coast, the fruits of Tototo'with World Education. Study of Tototo-affiliated

extended
groups
so

cooperation indicates, much to between primarily

however, that the success of its method is attributable not education itself as to the close and and the groups. The groups repeated tend

nonformal its staff

contact
to be
from

themselves

interested in the capital which Tototo can secure for them

international The four case

NGO's, though they also welcome Tototo's advice and support.


studies show that this support does not translate

automatically into entrepreneurial success. and small themselves require. position staff had Tototo than

Until 1986, Tototo's resources


staff

were stretched over more than 40 groups, while the not been trained in the kind of skills aid similar which

enterprises
much better
has

agencies are, however, in a

other organizations to take effective action.

Tototo

already responded to this and other recent evaluations by restructuring its


program advisor of work with groups and by accepting the services of a business

employed by World Education to train and explore new approaches to.

grassroots business promotion with its field staff.

259

principle

finding

of

the

research reported

here

is

that

the

indigenous, we studied projects economic women's chosen which promise

non-capitalist economy plays an active role in the and forms programs an enduring sub-stratum are set. upon which

households

"development"
indigenous
and they that
are

and

A relatei -l.-iding

is that

processes group with

demonstrate great variation within an area, are more likely to be successful if In short, capital

enterprises

respect to local economic conditions. existing results. processes of indigenous

enterprises
accumulation
as an
this

reproduce better

Handicraft production, widely for women's groups, does not Mapimo,

promoted fall have this into

appropriate category. handcrafts women with

undertaking Two for of

the groups studied, Bogoa and shop in Mombasa.

produced
provided
than
living

Tototo's

In both cases,

an important short-term source of income, sometimes more from other enterprises but much less over time than a Producers in Bogoa pocket2d and spent on their income which this brought them. transferred of

they derived monthly most of inccme towards Mapimo, wage. the was

households
the
input
and
of

In Mapimo, a portion of important both Bogoa forms

to the group and constituted an the first bakery building. produced were based upon In

construction the

handicrafts

existing

handicraft production undertaken by individuals. industry. problems.

Neither was a major local

Thus, when their orders were curtailed by Tototo, both ran into
One reason Tototo stopped these orders was because much more than Tototo could sell: the women
Mapimo
In
of

were producing necklaces the absence production, a halt.

six yearn ]ater

are still stockpiled in Tototo's store, waiting for a buyer. of alternative markets that could absorb the volume

then, it was inevitable that these enterprises should grind to


was organized as a collective enterprise, in which, for

Neither

example, the group would purchase basic materials.

They functioned instead

260

as extensions

of

home

production, putting producers at the mercy

of

an

unreliable market.

Handicraft

production did not get off the ground at all for


Mwamambi

because the form of production which Tototo tried to introduce had no basis
in local those economy. are Enterprises which are new to a community, capital intensive, are difficult for groups particularly
to operate
of

which

successfully. group members,

First,

such enterprises lie far outside the experience

who thus require continued inputs of advice from

external
employing

agencies. complex

This problem is magnified in the case of enterprises

technical processes or machinery which can be difficult for groups


or Third, expand such without further injections of are capital from bounded the
by
and

to maintain outside. official products, difficult result,

enterprises

characteristically

controls, including state-regulated pricing of raw materials

and, especially where groups employ collective labor, it may


be
for them to compete with rivals in the private sector. As a

it is not easy for them to remain economically viable.

Mapimo's

bakery has been afflicted by all of these problems. first

Even though it was the


to

to operate in the area, it subsequently lost many of its markets

competitors from nearby trading centers and now has little hope of matching
the performance Mapimo's service rural of a bakery recently established in the does not help in this respect. nearest
town.
Bogoa's ferry

location

is rather better placed and in many ways very appropriate to local


It has, however, been difficult for the group to run
without
of
men (as well as NGO's) and has yet to be extricated
gender.

conditions.

the interventions from the

close embrace of traditional relations of production and

It is interesting to note that the group made as much if not more from the
enterprise when they rented it out to
someone else. This provided,

261

moreover,
easily

a fixed and regular income, straightforward to record and not so

Given the various constraints which operate such minimal involvement in their upon

misappropriated. enterprises,

collective running unpaid greater

day-to-day

presents a solution to many of their problems. collective efficiency labor might

The replacement of
by when which
they

by formal wage labor is another means be achieved, as Mapimo discovered

temporarily employed a schoolboy in their tea shop.

The

simplest way to avoid some of these constraints is to choose

the

right enterprise in the first place.

The easiest enterprises for groups to


of
is
they

run and
maintain are arguably those which reproduce existing processes capital proven, require accumulation the less in the local community. As such their viability and

knowledge needed to run them is readily available, support from external agencies. Midodoni's

spectacular

accumulation of assets in palms and its expansion into other enterprises at


the expense provides of individual entrepreneurs, outsmarting FAD in the process,
The

a striking illustration of the advantages of this stratagem.

conditions of capital accumulation vary from place to place. palms form of recent would not, for example, be as appropriate in Mwamambi,

Investment in
where this

capital accumulation has now been displaced.

The Mwamambi group's


tune

decision
to build a house with rooms to rent is much more in developments which have brought large numbers of

with local migrant

up-country
build,

workers into the area.

Rental houses are not difficult to

require relatively little maintenance, do not utilize collective labor, and


provide a regular income. are much By establishing such enterprises, women's groups
corporate

more likely than otherwise to fulfill their promise as

entrepreneurs.

262

B.

ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF INCOME GENERATION

In so economy, capitalist

far as they are able to escape the constraints of the and their and enterprises become subject to act, in effect, as agents the of

peasant
logic of

groups

development

economic

differentiation. exclude

They do this in a number of ways.

First, groups shed or

women whose domestic circumstances are so difficult that they


are

unable to sustain group membership and the demands upon cash and labor that
it entails. In the This is particularly true of divorcees with young communities where virilocal marriage is the children.
rule, a the

mainland

residential constraint

mobility

of women upon divorce or remarriage adds Initial

further

upon their ability to sustain membership.

recruitment

tends to cover a broad spectrum, to the exclusion of young unmarried women,


the very husbands result, groups.
old and infirm, those who are skeptical of group success or whose
forbid many them to join, and foreigners to the community. As a
of

women

in the least fortunate categories remain

outside

Secondly, groups which are working free of the peasant economy tend
to
come increasingly domestic In other relatively under the control of members whose background and

their enterprises.
circumstances make them better equipped to run
words, their development favors women who already occupy
a
community.

fortunate

position in their households and/or


the

This includes

women who are educated and thus able to keep group


records.

It also includes women who in one way or another have succeeded in escaping
some of Examples the are restrictive conditions normally affecting their gender.
all with

the chairwomen of Mwamambi, Midodoni, and Mapimo,

263

grown cases,

children to support them and free from the control of their (in two
former) to husbands. exercise Group membership provides such women and further develop their with an
and

opportunity political more than

entrepreneurial

talents, and they are likely to benefit from their position much
their colleagues. funds; In some cases, they may do so illicitly, by

misappropriating short-term, this

and while damaging to group enterprises may eventually have a positive

in the
upon

experience

effect

their organization, as the history of Mapimo shows.

The instruments

discovery of

that

group

enterprises,

if successful, one for

become
some

differentiation NGO's like

is a particularly painful the one

international inherent

World Education and exposes On the

contradiction
hand, NGO's,

in the

notion of income generation.

especially those grounded in the ideology of participation and equity, seek


to assist collective practice. a very the very poor to raise their standard of living and participatory methods derived by from promoting
Western

approaches

On the other hand, the logic of capitalist development, even on


scale and even in non-Western settings, appears to demand of opportunity that excludes those most in need and a

small

structuring

that

benefits those with more resources. by stressing "income including work. As participation rather and than

NGO's have avoided facing this reality


using terms and by like
not

collective action, by

generation"

"capitalist .evelopment,"

such constructs as class and differentiation in evaluating their


a result, many have plann2d and carrried out inappropriate

interventions for small-scale economic projects they because have failed to


identify the kinds of intervetions required. it is not in their And they have to failed to
the

identify. them

because

interest

recognize

contradiction between participatory and capitalist development.

264

Where however threaten

enterprises

are successful, they will inevitably play a

part,

small, in transforming the structures of the peasant economy which


to appropriate them in turn. The development of Midodoni's

enterprises, women and

promoting a process of differentiation which favors only some their households, points clearly to this possibility.
The

appropriation a future process

of Majengo's enterprises by two extended households suggests


of that possibility. Although the benefits of certain types this
of

elaboration are not

equally felt, it might be noted that

caitalist status. economy

development do not necessarily result in a worsen!ng of women's


In many ways, they may be considered better off when the peasant
as a

is destroyed than when it is preserved in emasculated form

reserve of cheap labor. economic development

Meanwhile, the role of women's groups as agents of


gives some women a chance to participate in this

process on favorable terms, a chance which they might otherwise not have.

In

general,

though,

groups and their

enterprises

remain

severely

constrained profits, When they fraction and

by the peasant economy. few the

Few succeed in generating substantial


regular basis.
only a

provide their members with income on a amounts are usually so small as to

do,

comprise

of a living wage, although this should not be taken as a

measure

of their value to the women concerned. range of medium income and long-term

Group enterprises are only one of a


women make, and the
can

investments that

short-term

supplements often realized from group

enterprises

make a considerable difference to members and their households as evidenced


by women's continued participation. most are able to Only those who are more fortunate than
group into more
down
the

translate their participation in the

substantial through

benefits. groups

In other respects, the income which trickles helps to insulate the peasant economy from

women's

pressures acting upon it from the outside.

265

C.

INCOME GENERATION AND GENDER

The state creates women's groups through its women's group policy; certifies them, when them through its registration procedures;

it

and it appropriates
in Mwamambi and

it can, to carry out its work.

Especially

Midodoni, government Bogoa

women are required to contribute labor, cash, food, and time for
events and in support of local officials. Geography affords

more protection from the demands of the state, and Mapimo women have
severed their relations with local representatives of government
The
the
of

in effect after

the latter failed to respond adequately to the group's crisis. is not monolithic, by any means, and groups receive from for their own activities. Nevertheless, the and to problem some

relationship state grants

state-group groups,

relations effort

is prevalent throughout Kenya, to avoid unwelcome demands,

women's

in an

seek

de-register

themselves some for the poor, would not

(Mbugua 1985).

While self-help in Kenya has been criticized by

its less-than-voluntary nature and hy others for the way it taxes


self-help otherwise of cash these has have also created many services and existed. The role of women's facilities groups that

in the
of who the
are

realization labor and

benefits is pivotal, for they provide much But it is women, not men,

for local projects.

target of state policy with respect to social welfare and who are organized
into groups comply, for the purpose of carrying out this work. Insofar as they
which

they reproduce and reinforce existing gender relations from few of their members, by virtue of personal

only a very

circumstances,

manage to escape.

266

In

fact, the term "women's group" is often a misnomer. included in this study were initiated by men.

Three of The

the

four groups

fourth,

Midodoni, was started by a male representative of the state in consultation


with another marketing Mwamambi women's of or male official and a woman. Men play key roles in the
of

women's products, as in the case of the "speaker-master" the Bajuni shopkeeper in Bogoa. Men benefit directly

from

labor and enterprise, as do the Bogoa boat driver and the Midodoni
staff. and Men the step in when things go awry, as did Mapimo chief. Men may control the the Bogoa
of
who

male project village

chairman

asset

membership would founder out, put

in women's groups, as in Midodoni when a widower

decided

inherit his dead wife's membership, and in Mapimo where the paid for one female relative's subscriptions and when she his young wife in her place.

group's
dropped

Whether the role men play in groups


efforts
on

is dominant while

and controlling, or whether they support their wives'

benefiting

from them as members of the same households, depends

local relations of production and gender.

Who earned Women's

controls from

the products of women's labor and therefore the group enterprises depends on the local

income
economy.
or

women's

income is usually treated as income for the household, whether

not it is appropriated by the household head or whether, indeed, the woman


heads her own household. forms women. an important As such its value is not negligible but rather it
income available to

supplement to other sources of

In some cases, it may displace the income provided by a husband by


the need for him to contribute to the household from his own

alleviating pocket, handed

thus leaving him with more income at his disposal. over or otherwise finds its way back to husbands,

When income is
there is no

267

guarantee

that women will play a role in determining how it is invested or

whether it will be invested in the household at all.

The be called

naive assumptions underlying income-generation theory, if it can


that, thus prove meaningless. improve their Women's possession of income does
power all, within the

not automatically household. household Mapimo, providing members This

status or bargaining to occur, if at

is more
likely

where

overall
In

income is already high and sufficient to cover basic needs. for example, where the group enterprise has thrived at wage,

times,
group
over

women

with the equivalent of a regular, if small,

have no rights over this income, just as they have no rights

the products of their labor in the fields. most money, little power. divorce husbands

Here, where women have made the


acquired
earning
,ho
their viable in

they have the least control over that money and have or decision-making power as a result of their

prestige

Bogoa members, who have rights over property and inheritance, and yet remarry easily, who pool their income with that of a

can retain it if they wish, have failed to manage Our data and those of others substantiate that

enterprise. patriarchal where stable men and

women

their income into power, particularly


societies cannot convert
have poorly-paid, marginal occupations. If husbands have a

sufficient economic base, as they do in Majengo, for economic contribution becomes a valuable and

example,
powerful
in

then "women's resource

that wins them more decision-making power [and] more equality of labor" (Safilios-Rothschild 1983, 123). The

the division variability of factors

great

documented in the four cases reported here points to a complex


that affect the internal distribution of household income and

underscores the absence of a linear relationship between women's income and


women's status.

268

D.

INCOME GENEATION AND FAMILY PLANNING

Just as there is no predictable relationship between income generation


and women's planning. welfare. status, Children For the there are women is none between income generation an inextricable part of described in this economic report, and family and and

activity

production

reproduction are two sides of the same coin. economy,

In the context of the peasant


Not only do they also provide
hold the

children are treated as an investment. labor resource

an important

for the household, but they

promise of a future retirn, providing parents with cash and social security
when they complaining at all chance", are older. One Mwamambi member made this abundantly clear,
return
a
are

that her secondary school-educated son had provided no

to
her since he had left school and become a beach-boy. she

"Given

said, "I would open a bank account, but now my children

the bank." Rather than changing attitudes in the rural areas, education has
reinforced labor from them. the While that children's it is true
this is compensated education for withdraws
ways.

household,

in other

Bridewealth education. they will

payments The

demanded

for daughters reflect the costs

of
their
that
in

more educated children are, the greater the

chance

secure good employment and provide their parents with income

the years to come. Chapter

The importance of this has already been touched upon in

7. The 22* of group members who receive remittances from sons are
by the chairwomen of Mwamambi and Mapimo. children Parents are unhappy
and in some
before
not

exemplified should cases,

grown-up

fail to meet these expectations,

the tendency for educated daughters to marry and leave home their parent-

"repaying"

or their education is given as a reason for

sending daughters on to secondary school.

269

Under programs women's

these circumstances, it is not surprising that family have not only a limited impact in the rural areas

planning
and among
these

group

members but meet with resistance.

The more children

women have, the greater the returns. range of beliefs and attitudes. just as infertility

This economic logic is supported by a


great
stigma
women
cause

Parents with large families carry among women carries a heavy In Mwamambi,

prestige

(infertility maintain the body

among men is difficult to substantiate).

that prolonged sexual abstinence can result in illness and to seize up. Similar fears surround the use of

contraception.

Women believe, with some justification, that contraceptive pills can result
in high blood pressure or multiple births when their use is stopped, of the Depro-Provera can produce infertility. fact that they and not men are the main Some and

that injections quite rightly,

resent, of

objects

contraception. from North cause Kenya's

Other beliefs have less foundation.

Imported yellow maize and


in
the
In

America

is widely believed to contain contraceptive drugs A similar and well-publicized scare broke out that

infertility. Central

Province

in early 1986 when it was

rumored

government was lacing the milk supplied to schools with contraceptives.

1985, when the Coca Cola Bottling Company distributed new Coca Cola bottles
with red labels, it was rumored in Nyanza Province that the bottles labeled
in red contained contraceptives, and people avoided buying them. The
to
such

widespread family

currency

of such fears are some measure of the areas. until All the indications economy

resistance are that

planning will

in rural persist

resistance

the peasant

undergoes

a major

transformation. towards enmeshed say that such

In theory, women's groups are in a position to contribute


a transformation; in practice, the majority remain deeply
to
the

in the resistant structures of their households. family

This is not given

planning programs have no effect, for they do

right conditions.

On the Coast, these conditions exist only in Mombasa and

270

in selected
as in the

peri-urban areas where husbands have formal sector employment,

case do of Majengo. Elsewhere, the few women who accept


and

contraception

so primarily to replace traditional spacing methods

not to prevent conception. distant prospect.

Significant limitation of family size remains a

Women's social and

groups

and

their enterprises cannot be expected

to

effect
be the
they
Not
and
the

economic change overnight. upon

This should not, however,

only criterion provide least of a

which they are evaluated.

For women themselves

range of opportunities which they are customarily denied. these is an opportunity to participate in community affairs Women which the serve take considerable pride in their groups and

development. recognition support continue from to

this brings them. government

As long as they continue to agencies, women's women's

receive
will
for

and other

groups struggle

as an important tool in Kenyan

self-determination.

271

CHAPTER 9
POLICY AND PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS

A. WOMEN'S GROUP ENTERPRISES

1. The concept of "women's ipcome generation" should be abandoned. too and the often a program component added to an array of other

It is

activities

"integrated" into those activities. requirements of

As such, it does not address


seriousness they

economic production with the

deserve. The very failure of the term itself to convey adequately its

meaning that of creating a profitable small busine3s reinforces

the view that women do not play a major and pivotal role in production
and small therefore business need not be provided with the capital and skills development requires. Income generation as that
a

development the

stritegy for women is devoid of meaning, inappropriate to


with which it tries to contend, and fraught with

realities

philosophical

contradictions that make it ineffective.

The notion of

"small-scale enterprise development" or "micro-enterprise development"


should be used in its place.

2. Women's support

group that

enterprises currently

should be funded and supported. and

If the
their

exists is withdrawn, rural women at the mercy of

households

will

be

completely

large-scale,

externally-financed are invariably much

capitalist development, the consequences of which


harsher than those of indigenous capitalist
While

development our study

and generally affect women more severely than men. has documented initial signs of differentiation

resulting

272

from

the

development of women's group enterprises, rural people

and

especially women need to have control over the sources of their income
in the face of external economic forces that erode of subsistence. and vomen The choice is between the two traditional
degrees of

bases

inequality,

stand to participate on much

more

favorable

terims where indigenous capitalism is promoted.

3.

Women's group enterprises should be viewed and evaluated realistically


within the context of local opportunities. When enterprises succeed,

as they periodically have in the cases reported here, they provide the
local have, In the are where changed community with a service or product it would not ordinarily
supplement.

and they furnish households with a valuable income

areas where the peasant economy is still vibrant, which is most of


rural but the are Coast Province and much of rural Kenya, grc:ip enterprises
Only

one of several long-term investments that women make. peasant economy has weakened and relations women These of

production
from a group
large

likely to depend primarily on income

enterprises.

conditions will probably not obtain on

scale in the near future, not in rural Kenya and not in other parts of
rural black Africa. Group enterprises, then, are important to

households, along with other kinds of economic and social investments,


but they are not able to provide women with a living wage. they to be expected to; the part-time Nor should

The small amounts of income produced correspond


labor, the
of

nature of each member's investment of

level

of which is dictated by household obligations.

The success

these enterprises should be evaluated accordingly.

273

B.

PROGRAMS TO ASSIST WOMEN'S GROUP ENTERPRISES

4. Intensive project comprises variability

field research should be given priority over other forms of


feasibility studies and program evaluation. Coast The Province
striking
in this

many smaller, ecologically distinct regions. of the

coastal local economy that is revealed

report pertains equally to the rest of Kenya. only be

Successful programs can


This kind of local

mounted if local conditions are known.

knowledge methods adjunct been and,

is gained through the use of the anthropological described here. Survey research is best carried out

research
as an

to this kind of field research, when enough data have already


questions
the wrong

collected to allow researchers to frame proper survey most important, to interpret results. Choosing

research methods on which to base planning and program decisions means


that important variations are missed and generalizations made. Throughout Africa, economic incorrectly
and social

or superficially processes programs

differ from community to community. should be based on a thorough

Support for grassroots


understanding of these

processes.

5. Community

development

or welfare projects should be

separated

from

economic enterpriseerojects. to undertake both.

Women's groups are currently encouraged

Women's welfare projects make real and measurable


requirements
as

contributions and 'skills separate

to their communities, but the specialized

demanded by economic enterprises should be recognized

and different from self-help efforts on behalf of The dual and contradictory expectations of

community
women's

development.

274

groups mean that neither is satisfactorily fulfilled, since women must


divert money and labor from enterprises in order to fulfill the

requirements of community development activities. two model develop welfare types for of efforts is necessary. this, where an

A separation of the
a
to
and

Neighboring Tanzania suggests rural social communities services

the state has helped impressive range of

successfully

projects but has failed to stimulate the development of local


Currently in Kenya, NGO's and the state both assist

enterprises. welfare to as

and economic projects, the state's role confined more or less


well
the

that of financial assistance, while NGO's offer technical as financial would aid. In a more rational distribution of effort,

state

concentrate

on welfare, social services, and

community

development

projects, with NGO's providing the specialized skills and

financial assistance required by small enterprises.

6. Women's economic

group

enterprises and be

should be chosen with based on the

respect

to of

local
local

conditions

identification

processes of indigenous capital accumu'lation. This is the central and


most important finding of the research reported here. Readers

unfamiliar with the body of the report are referred to Chapters 6 and
8.

7. The to

organization and operation of group enterarises should be subject


experimentation. The options avalable for experimentation will

depend in part on local practice relating to production and gender and


in part on the creativity of groups and their allies. should Experimentation

be carried out with an eye to increasing enterprise efficiency

275

wherever

possible

at

the same time as reducing

the

propensity

of

enterprises categories economic

to discriminate internally and externally against certain


of women. Needed experiments, which might development assistance, include include both
the

and

organizational

following:

research on the level of investment necessary


capitalization of group
for adequate Enterprises. Our findings suggest that many
enterprises suffer from undercapitalization;

an elaboration of ways to utilize the special members without entrepreneurial talents of exacerbating differentiation; appointing very skilled or enterprising members as managers is one possibility; means of substituting wage labor for unpaid and inefficient collective labor; an examination of mechanisms for assisting women individually through women's groups; development of formulas for making a regular division of a percentage of the profits at fixed intervals, a difficult task for most groups involving a calculation of dividends the based on individual investments in enterprise; and the creation of group constitutions-or codes of rules. landlord
of
their
their

One or owner

promising iiiodel is for a group to act as corporate rather and than attempt an impossible

reconciliation on in

collectivism time,

capitalism. that can

Given the multiple demands members' engagement

anything

simplify

enterprises than trying

is desirable, and if they can act as shareholders, rather


to operate every aspect of the enterprise themselves,

enterprise efficiency is likely to be, increased.

276

8. Indigenous

be NGO's
operating locally should supported as

the

most
Such

effective agents to
foster women's small enterprise development.
agencies have
grassroots experience, knowledge of local and dedication. and existing They can and

conditions,
links

flexibility, between extension,

should
provide

groups

technical

resources

(agricultural

health education), rather than reproducing those resources


are
those

themselves.
Where technical resources in enterprise development largely within between missing from
the rural scene, NGO's should develop

their own organizations.

Indigenous NGO's are a critical link

groups and resources, and just as groups identify local NGO's


and,
World

require outside allies for funding as


their allies, so do NGO's in some instances, training or technical help. The

Education-Tototo-women's kind of

group relationship is a good example of this


or

collaboration, one begun by AID and supported in one way

another by AID for the last nine years.

9. NGO

field A

staff

should $be trained in a

range

of

entrepreneurial
technocratic

skills. style

compromise Is necessary between the

overly

characteristic of some NGO's and the over-emphasis of others on


The former can be too sophisticated both for NGO
population targeted assist. for
The

nonformal education. staff who often and

themselves come from the for

assistance latter sense support groups

the needs of the enterprises they

stresses group dynamics and problem-solving, often without any


of what the most important problems are. for and A cornerstone of NGO
with

women's group enterprises must be frequent contact projects. This is more important than the

specific

communication used with groups.


approaches or methods of

277

C. WOMEN'S GROUPS AND FAMILY PLANNING

10. Efforts planned different

to with

promote the

family planning among women's groups recognition that different conditions

should prevail

be
in
and

places.

Such efforts may well succeed in some places

among some strata of Kenyan society, but in Coast Province and similar
rural areas, investment in rural family planning services is not

likely to have a high rate of return in the foreseeable future.

11. Small

cost-benefit

studies

should be conducted

on

community-based
women
These

contraception would studies

distribution systems to determine whether enough

try contraceptives to warrant the cost of these systems. should be carried out with a view to improved

maternal-child

health and child spacing rather than to births prevented.

12. Men

as well as women should be the target of small-group about family planninj. While rural resistance

educational
to family
a
and
been

programs planning result of

is both real arid rational and is not likely to change as education, rumor as resistance manifested in misinformation have

exaggerated neglected

should be addressed.

Men particularly

a target for information on family planning, yet it is


This

they who control many of the decisions related to contraception.

kind of educational effort is as important as women's education and is


well-suited to NGO's.

278

D. SPECIAL CONCERNS

13. The
be may

needs of the poorest and most vulnerable women, who are likely to

excluded from group membership, must be addressed. not be the mechanism through which to reach them. at all in groups, their membership must Vomen's groups
If they are to
be
subsidized.

participate State are,

agencies are not in a position to examine this issue, but NGO's


particularly those like the NCCK with a research capacity and an

historical commitment to the very poor.

14. Assistance priority.

to The

individual potential

cultivation of

through groups

should is very

be

collective cultivation

low,

competing as it does with household demands. be explored

Rather mechanisms should


in

through which women's groups can assist


individuals

their of

own cultivation.

Promising approaches for groups are provision


providing free or

grants to individuals to hire casual laborers;

heavily
subsidized seed, fertilizer, and other inputs; education for members; produce.

agricultural

and group marketing, transport, and storage of

15. Communication, supported level, reported yet and

discussion,

and

dialogue
should

be

initiated

and

between development workers, particularly at the grassroots


academics. The results of action research like that

here,

which employs an academically acceptable

methodology

focuses on a practical problem, should be widely disseminated and


It is important to ensure
buried in obscure

similar kinds of research efforts promoted. that studies of

great local importance are'not

279

scholarly journals or forgotten in project files but are discussed and


understood be by researchers and practitioners alike. Academics should

challenged

to work with development practitioners in translating

research results into program design.

GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS

AIA

"Accountants in Action," an invented name used to protect


the identity of a development agency which assisted one of

the women's groups. To our called AIA exists in Kenya.


knowledge, no organization

AID ATAC CEDPA FAO FAD

Agency for International Development


The Appropriate Technology Advisory Council, a Kenyan NGO
The Center f.or Development and Population Activities, a U.S.
NGO
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
"Faith and Development," an invented name used to protect
the identity of a development agency which assisted one of
the women's groups. To our knowledge, no organization
called FAD exists in Kenya.
Family Planning Association of Kenya.

FPAK

KANU
KFS

Kenya African National Union, Kenya's single political party


which has held power since Independence in 1963.

The Kenya Fertility Survey, conducted in 1977-1978 as part


of the World Fertility Survey Program.
Kenya shillings. See Note 2 to Chapter 6, page 225.

Ksh MATCH HP

A Canadian donor agency.


Member of Parliament, the elected official s~rving a
particular constituency in the national legislative body.
National Council of Churches of Kenya, formerly the National
Christian Council oi Kenya; an ecumenical body of religious
organizations joined together for the purpose of forming a
professional agency dedicated to grass-roots development.
NCCK founded Tototo as a special project for women
handicraft producers.
Non-governmental organization, known in the U.S. private voluntary organization.
as PVO,

NCCK

NGO

PPC

The Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination of the Agency


for International Development.
Social Development Assistant, civil servant working for the
Department of Social Development at the locational level.

SDA

TMD

"Technology for Development," an invented name used to


protect the identity of a development agency which assisted
one of the women's groups. To our knowledge, no
organization called TfD exists in Kenya.
Women in Development
Young Tomen's Christian Association.

WID YWCA

fl
1/

GLOSSARY OF SWAHILI AND VERNACULAR WORDS

chakacha harambee

dance performed by Swahili women at weddings and other


celebrations.
a term referring in general to the Kenyan government's
self-help policy and specifically to fund raising events and
collective community labor for self-help projects.
large roofing shingles made from coconut palm fronds.
a copper wire necklace traditionally worn by Giriama women.
farid, acreage for cultivation.
the staple food of mlany areas of Kenya, including the Coast;
a thick porridge made of maize flour and water.
dried strips of palm leaf used for weaving mats and other
articles.
a type of Giriama ndale necklace.
a type of Giriama ndale necklace.

makuti ndale shamba ugali ukindu

vivele virangi

wageni

strangers, visitors.

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