Women’s groups near the Kenyan coast: Patron-clientship in the development arena

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Women’s groups are the backbone of Kenyan harambee self-help movement, and hence catalysts for rural development. Women’s groups, voluntary associations ubiquitous in rural Kenya, contribute substantially to raising standards of living and to bringing infrastructure to rural areas. This chapter examines some causes of and constraints to the success of women’s groups in Kaloleni Division, Coast Province, Kenya. It argues that a patron-client relationship can be found between women’s groups and certain males, and that these relations affect the independence and success of women’s groups’ projects. The new District Focus for Rural Development, with its requirement of greater direct participation of women’s leaders in the local-development decision-making process, opens up another channel with potential for women’s groups to escape their dependence both on private male patrons and on local administrative authorities. Since the formation of the Women’s Bureau within the Ministry of Culture and Social Services in 1975, that governmental department has administrative responsibility for these and other self-help projects.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnthropology of Development and Change in East Africa
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780429692277
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1988 by Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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