Understanding the Harambee Movement by Understanding Different Cultures

Harambee (“Let’s Pull Together”)

The word Harambee has roots from Kiswahili (Swahili), an East African (Bantu) language. The word means “Let us all pull together”.

The term is commonly used in the context of a social and economic approach to development. The concept, in some form, is used in many developing countries throughout the world. The execution of the methods of Harambee are primarily run by the private sector. However, greater success can be presumably achieved through cooperation from the government when issues of  infrastructure and public grants are involved. So, a successful implementation of Harambee seems to require a partnership between non-government agencies (NGOs) and the government.

Harambee may be most widely implemented in Kenya. After Kenya had gained independence in 1963, there was a concerted effort toward country-wide implementation of Harambee.  The first Prime Minister, after Independence was gained by Kenya, encouraged the people to work together in their communities for the common goals of battling disease, lack of education, and poverty.

Understanding Harambee is better accomplished through gaining an understanding of the cultures that embrace it. International Museum of Cultures (IMC) has a Kenya exhibit for the purpose of educating its attendees. The IMC also has an Electronic Field Trip (Virtual Tour) that addresses cultures of Africa, as well as cultures of other countries in the world. The Electronic Field Trip comes with a complete curriculum for varied grade levels.

We have much to gain by understanding other cultures throughout the world, so that we may better understand our own.

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