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Wanjiku in Global Development: Everyday Ordinary Women Livelihood Economy in Kenya

ISBN: 978-1-926906-24-9-1


“What I find rich in the book is Mary’s sharp observational and analytical eye that picks up and meaningfully interprets ordinary actions and discussions, placing them in the broader national and global development context, policies and practices.” – Meleckidzedeck Khayesi, Geneva, Switzerland.

“The manuscript is readable and appealing to students in the higher education, community workers, researchers, and policymakers. It is written in a scholarly manner that can be used as a textbook.” – Rose Ann Torres, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada.



In Kenya, the name ‘Wanjiku’ epitomizes the ordinary person, the citizen, in the context of national socio-political and socio-economic discourse. The origins of the name are in the often heated national debates on political, economic, and rights-related issues where elite self-interest often

takes precedence. Aligned with economic thinking from western schools of thought, the elite often acts without much attention to Wanjiku’s daily challenges of survival or completely ignores her well-developed modes of survival as a demonstration of a sound system worth paying attention to.

In Wanjiku in Global Development: Everyday Ordinary Women Livelihood Economy in Kenya, Kinyanjui captures Wanjiku’s systematic approach to day-to-day activities that undergirded participants’ and society’s common good. Call it the Wanjiku Business Model. In the true spirit of Ubuntu, market women (Wanjiku) operate within a set of unwritten rules that assure optimization of collective good from interacting among themselves and with others. The Wanjiku Business Model is well illustrated through a number of case studies that further capture its sound basis.

Kinyanjui presents a major lesson we can learn from Wanjiku, namely: life does not have to be about cutthroat competition, winners and losers!

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