Harambee: The origins and benefits of this Kenyan money saving method

Harambee is considered a type of fundraising event in Kenya. Harambee the word itself means ‘all pull together’ which is also Kenya’s official motto, which helped to form the nation after the British colonial rule.

Harambee: Kenyan money-saving method
Harambee: Kenyan money-saving method

What is Harambee?

Harambee can be for anything from financial support, to emotional support or for a favor.

Whenever someone is facing a problem such as in educational purposes, marriage, funeral, health, etc. they usually have to contact a tribal leader or elder family member.

The elder leader will then host a meeting with the other elders and deem if the issue is important enough to request help from the society, and share the dilemma with the individual’s family, colleagues, friends, and co-workers and organize a Harambee.

The people involved in the Kenyan money-saving method can offer financial, physical, and emotional support and services while not expecting anything in return. People pool their money together and use it for social projects and such, it’s quite similar to crowdfunding but more lively and social.

Origins of Harambee

The concept of Harambee originated when Swahili porters needed to work together to lift something heavy. An individual would shout “Harambee”, and the porters would lift the object at the same time together.

People on the Swahili Coast
People on the Swahili Coast. Source: ACLS

According to Kenyan folklore, Harambee was created around the 1890s when the Indian migrants came to Mombasa to help build the Kenya-Uganda railway at the behest of the British as they worked along the Kenyans called on ‘hare’ the divine god of potency, and ‘ambe’ the god of power, energy, and invincibility.

The Kenyan workers often joined the chant and slowly became a unique unification rallying call, and that’s how the Kenyan money-saving method got its name.

Benefits of this Kenyan money saving method

Harambee is a useful strategy for instilling local-level resources for the benefit of society.

It also provides several benefits such as socioeconomic strata within communities while increasing ethnic and regional differences.

Harambee was key used to solve their common issues by pulling through together in action, allowing people to be more dependent on one another instead of bearing the burden alone by themselves.

The value of Harambee

Harambee represents an unvoiced law of generosity to lend a hand to anyone in need regardless of class, ethnicity, gender, and religious background. Harambee symbolized the Kenyan future, unity, and patriotism.

Harambee, a Kenyan money-saving method as an alternative if you can’t get a loan.

Check out more money saving methods from around the world.

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