Change And Continuity In Women Self-Help Groups In Maragua, Kenya; 1895-2013


Since the pre-colonial period, women have been organising themselves in diverse ways. This study sought to examine the transformation of women self-help groups in Maragua, Murang‟a County from 1895 to 2013. The study examined women experiences in their self-help groups evaluating how they have evolved and remained resilient in the wake of changing times, adapting and adjusting accordingly. 1895 is a significant year because Kenya became a British protectorate and consequently there was social change that disrupted traditional structures, especially women self-help groups. The study ends in 2013 with a focus on recent changes in women self-help groups. The study objectives were: to examine the political and socio-economic women organizations in Maragua in the pre-colonial period up to 1895, examine the impact of colonialism on the growth of women self-help groups in colonial Maragua from 1895 to 1962. This study also interrogated the transformation of women self-help groups in the first two decades of independence in Maragua from 1963 to 1985 and to investigate the emerging trends in women self-help groups in Maragua from 1986 to 2013. The analysis of the primary and secondary data was done using patriarchy and resilience theories. Qualitative approach was used in the study. Oral interviews were conducted in the study area. A total of 60 respondents were interviewed. Annual reports of the province and district from the Sub-County Social and Development officer, the Kenya National Archives and the Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library Archives provided significant primary data. Secondary data was gathered from written works both published and unpublished such as books, theses, journals, periodicals as retrieved from The Post Modern Library, The Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library. The data was analyzed and interpreted using diachronic and synchronic approaches. The study found out in the pre-colonial period that women organized themselves in groups. Colonial penetration and missionary work altered the day to day activities of the women. Many men were either killed or taken away in to exile. Women were not left out in the struggle for independence as they were also active in the fight, others came together to give supplies to the men. Additionally, women took care of their homes in the absence of the men. Maendeleo ya Wanawake was formed in 1952 as a way of diverting women from the independence struggle. However on gaining independence the government did not reward their efforts accordingly and so women came and pooled resources together. They joined dance groups for entertaining the former president Jomo Kenyatta through groups like Nyakinyua and Kang’ei self-help groups and bought land. With time there were the Mabati groups and later home improvement self-help groups that bought cups, plates, sufurias, mattresses, beds, blankets, sofa sets among other household goods. They had „merry-go round‟ activities and these activities spread and they started income generating activities and table banking. These groups have enabled them buy land, shares, set up businesses and educate their children. The study further revealed that women later started coming together to go „seek blessings from parents‟ through kamweretho. The latter has been viewed with suspicion from men but with time men have also joined in groups to assist each other pay bride price.

Subscribe to access this work and thousands more
Overall Rating


5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

WANJIRU, M (2021). Change And Continuity In Women Self-Help Groups In Maragua, Kenya; 1895-2013. Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

WANJIRU, MUCHEMI "Change And Continuity In Women Self-Help Groups In Maragua, Kenya; 1895-2013" Afribary. Afribary, 31 May. 2021, Accessed 20 May. 2024.


WANJIRU, MUCHEMI . "Change And Continuity In Women Self-Help Groups In Maragua, Kenya; 1895-2013". Afribary, Afribary, 31 May. 2021. Web. 20 May. 2024. < >.


WANJIRU, MUCHEMI . "Change And Continuity In Women Self-Help Groups In Maragua, Kenya; 1895-2013" Afribary (2021). Accessed May 20, 2024.