The Promise of Umukozi in Rwanda

Tags: Kigali, Rwanda, Vouchers, umukozi


I am thrilled to write about my first journey outside Kenya representing our work at Grassroots Economics Foundation at the VON Evolution Africa event in Kigali, Rwanda and also attending the Cybertech Africa conference. This whirlwind experience opened my eyes to the transformative potential of technology, cybersecurity, and blockchain, while also delving deep into the innovative and traditional concept of community asset vouchers. Join me as I share the insights and inspirations gained along this remarkable journey.

VON Evolution Africa Fireside Chat: Pioneering Community Empowerment

Stepping onto the stage at the VON Evolution Africa conference was a momentous occasion, as my first trip outside of Kenya. The focus was to explore novel avenues for community empowerment, with a special emphasis on the revolutionary concept of community asset vouchers. The heart of the discussion revolved around a captivating one-on-one exchange that highlighted the key differentiator of community asset vouchers from contemporary forms of currency. Unlike conventional money, community asset vouchers are based on relationships and intrinsically linked to the commitment of goods and services contributed by community members. This unique commitment and backing creates a direct connection between the value of the currency and the tangible contributions of the community, fostering a sense of ownership and shared responsibility.

Exploring Ancient Wisdom and Collaborative Practices

During the fireside chat, I led participants through a captivating journey into indigenous practices like Mwerya in Kenya and Umukozi in Rwanda that underscored the historical significance of collaboration and resource sharing. These practices harken back to a time before the introduction of monetary systems, where communities thrived on mutual support and shared labor. The insights gleaned from these practices served as a foundational backdrop for understanding the transformative power of community asset vouchers. A highlight of the session was the "thread game," an interactive exercise that unveiled the potential of resource mapping. In this engaging activity, participants shared their unique skills, talents, and assets, highlighting the diverse tapestry of capabilities within the community. This exercise showcased the capacity for collaboration and highlighted the value of each member's contribution.

I met so many people from villages in Rwanda that wanted us to introduce Grassroots Economics systems to them. I hope to get a change to go back and offer more training.


Unveiling the Dynamics of Community Asset Vouchers

The pinnacle of the discussion was the exploration of community asset vouchers themselves. These innovative vouchers serve as an alternative currency, earned through contributions of skills, time, or resources to the community. What truly sets them apart is the tangible backing of goods and services pledged by community members. This mechanism not only promotes local economic growth but also fosters a sense of self-reliance and empowerment within the community.

Cybertech Africa Conference: A Technological Odyssey

In addition to the enlightening fireside chat, my journey included attending the Cybertech Africa conference. This cutting-edge event immersed me in the world of technology, cybersecurity, and blockchain. From insightful talks to hands-on workshops, the conference illuminated the potential of blockchain beyond cryptocurrencies. It showcased how this technology could transform industries, secure data, and create transparent systems.

A Tapestry of Innovation and Empowerment

My journey from the VON Evolution Africa fireside chat to the Cybertech Africa conference was a remarkable convergence of innovation, collaboration, and empowerment. The fireside chat shed light on the transformative potential of community asset vouchers, while the conference showcased the future of technology and its role in shaping societies. I am reminded that the marriage of technology and ancient wisdom holds the key to a brighter, more equitable future. The insights gained from these experiences encourage us to harness the power of innovation to uplift communities, creating a world where empowerment is rooted in shared resources, collaboration, and the strength of human connection.