Goob - Empowering Resilience in Dadaab Refugee Community

Tags: goob, Somalia, Dadaab, Red Cross, refugee


Despite numerous economic challenges, the Dadaab refugee community has exhibited exceptional resilience by adopting traditional and innovative solutions to stimulate their local economy and solidarity. Focusing on promoting self-sufficiency and community support, they have embraced a pioneering strategy - the Community Asset Vouchers as part of a Community Inclusion Currency program with the Kenya Red Cross and Grassroots Economics Foundation. Leveraging blockchain technology on Celo, these vouchers have emerged as an essential resource in an area where the national currency is limited. As the impact of this initiative continues to proliferate, the community dreams of extending this empowering tool to other communities, thus expanding their network and diversifying their market.

Groups have adeptly incorporated the use of vouchers to purchase goods and services. A notable example comes from Luli, a local businesswoman. She recently acquired fabric, partially paying in cash and completing the transaction with vouchers from Dola. Leila, who provided her sewing services, subsequently spent her earned vouchers at Luli's shop.

To maintain orderly transactions, businesses enforce a daily limit on the number of vouchers they can accept and expend. Additionally, these groups diligently track their members' voucher balances, routinely balancing between those with high and low voucher balances. This approach ensures an equitable distribution of vouchers within the community.

image Dadaab Groups first training on Community asset vouchers

image Leila at her shop in Dadaab

The Revival of Goob: A Tradition of Mutual Aid

Communities within the Dadaab refugee camp have revitalized an ancient practice known as "Goob". This Somali term refers to a traditional practice of mutual aid, serving as a foundation for solidarity within the community. Through Goob, members support each other by contributing their skills and labor for various tasks, ranging from farming to infrastructure development. This reciprocal process guarantees that everyone benefits from the mutual aid practice, filling gaps where a lack of money or labor would have otherwise left critical tasks unresolved.

To institutionalize the Goob practice, groups in Dadaab introduced Community Asset Vouchers. These vouchers act as a pledge to work, symbolizing the labor individuals contribute in support of each other. Before attending the designated task, members receive these vouchers, and upon successful task completion, the host returns the vouchers. The impact of this simple, yet potent, system has been transformative.

Success Stories

Dimbil, a member of the Wadajir group based at Ifo camp, expressed his gratitude, stating, "Thanks to our weekly Goob activity, I've made significant progress in constructing a new latrine. I would have needed over 500 to complete the preparation, which was beyond my means at the time. Now, I'm relieved that I'll have a new toilet, as my previous one had filled up."


Other successful Goob activities include roof renovation at Abdiwahab’s home.


A further inspiring story involves Farhan, a mother of four, who benefited from Goob support to refurbish her home. The collective efforts of the community have ensured that critical tasks, which may have remained neglected due to resource scarcity, are now addressed.


Strengthening Community Bonds and Compassion

The introduction of community asset vouchers has not only improved the economic prospects of the Dadaab refugee community but has also amplified their sense of unity and compassion. As groups rally to support one another, they forge enduring bonds, sharing knowledge, skills, and resources. The exchange of goods and services via these vouchers offers a valuable supplement where conventional currency is insufficient.

The Vision for a Better Tomorrow

The success of community asset vouchers has bolstered the ambitions of the Dadaab community. They aspire to expand this innovative practice beyond their community, reaching out to neighboring groups and beyond. By propagating the power of blockchain-based vouchers and the tradition of Goob, they aim to create a more interconnected and resilient support network for refugees worldwide facing economic adversities.

The tale of the Dadaab refugee community, and their extraordinary journey towards economic empowerment through Community Asset Vouchers and the revival of Goob, serves as an inspirational testament to human resilience and innovation. Confronted with adversity, they have adopted modern technologies and revived ancient practices to construct a brighter future for themselves and others. Their story affirms the power of community, compassion, and the potential for transformative change, even amidst the most challenging circumstances.