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THE INSTITUTION OF MAHBER: AN ENGINE FOR DEVELOPMENT OR A SOURCE EXTRAVAGANCE [Abstract ID: 0308-08]
This study aims to explore the principles of a socio-religious self-help institution by looking at the celebration of Mahber, a religious-oriented association, in Adi Werema, Tigray. The association has been poorly interpreted by some writers who assume it as a source of extravagance and economic backwardness. The present paper, however, argues that Mahber has developmental tendencies and promotes economic cooperation and reciprocity. Like other indigenous self-help institutions such as Equb and Edir; Mahber extenuates the gender, social, and economic polarities in the community. It is a source of sorority and fraternity as well. Importantly, it takes into consideration the notion of development and gender equality. It could be said that Mahber empowers both men and women to establish separate association in order to find support, enjoyment, and affirmation in the contentment of persons their own gender. Under the umbrella of Mahber, women are markedly empowered to express themselves freely in a way that they could not display in public. It also incubates the concept of saving and mutual assistances in the farming community. The study employs a qualitative research approach based on primary and secondary sources. The study critically examined available literatures and attempts to reinterpret existing evidence to investigate the role of Mahber in the community. The findings show that Mahber has played a key role in promoting economic cooperation. However, its celebration is sometimes taken the working days for few individuals.