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Review of Ralph Ibbott’s book ‘Ujamaa: the hidden story of Tanzania’s socialist villages’ and how I was lied to in Tanzania

Source : https://www.lowimpact.org/review-ralph-ibbotts-book-ujamaa-hidden-story-tanzanias-socialist-villages-lied-tanzania/

Posted Mar 10 2016 by Dave Darby of Lowimpact.org

I have a special interest in this book. As a young man in the 1980s I’d read Julius Nyerere’s Ujamaa (Swahili for “togetherness”, “unity” or “familyhood”). I was inspired by his vision of a co-operative, non-hierarchical society based on sustainable villages where men and women were equal and people controlled their own destiny without outside interference. I was later excited to read that with Nyerere as president, the whole of rural Tanzania operated in this way. I was unable to find any more details, and so I worked for three years as a gardener during the day and as a waiter at night, saved all my wages, sold my possessions, and in 1990 went to Tanzania to see for myself.

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My Experience of the Ujamaa System

I trundled into Dar-es-Salaam on a bus and spent two weeks visiting government departments, pleading with them for permission to visit an ujamaa village, until I was put in a jeep and taken inland, where I spent several weeks in Chanika and Mvuti ujamaa villages. In the evenings I sat on the floor of a hut and ate from a big circular tray with some of the villagers, one of whom went to university in what was then East Germany, and who translated for me. Here’s what they told me:

Out of a population of 24 million, 20 million Tanzanians lived in ujamaa villages. Everyone had their own plots to grow food and keep animals for themselves, but also worked two days per week on collective plots to grow cash crops for sale, to buy things for the village, like a truck, or a mill for grain. The tribes got on well and intermarried, as did Christians and Muslims. Groups of 10 households elected one of their members to sit on the village committee. Each village committee elected one of their members to sit on the district committee, who elected one of their members to sit on the regional committee, who elected one of their members to sit in the national government. That was it — delegates were chosen for their personal qualities by people who knew them well, with no campaigning and only one party — Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Party of the Revolution).

Fureai Kippu

Source : http://community-currency.info/fr/monnaies/asie/fureai-kippu/

Introduction

The Fureai Kippu (literally ‘ticket for a caring relationship’) refers to a variety of Japanese national schemes and networks of mutual support dedicated to providing elderly care through the exchange of a complementary currency  1. The schemes enable individuals to earn time-credits by providing care to elderly people or people with disabilities. Those credits can then be transferred to relatives or friends in need of care, or be saved for the future when sick or old.

Of the two most prominent models of Fureai Kippu, one stands close to traditional timebanking, whereas the other enables conventional money transactions alongside time credits in exchange for the service provided.  In the latter, volunteers can decide whether to receive a combination of national currency (yen) and time credits or either one as compensation for providing services 2.

The Fureai Kippu schemes can be considered as the Japanese versions of co-production through timebanking. The term Fureai Kippu has been in use since 1992 3.