Cross (2013) in his thesis on Community Policing Through Local Collective Action in Tanzania noted that Nyumba Kumi was a strategy for governments to eradicate lawlessness and insecurity by creating a ten cell leadership system under ten households with a team leader. The initiative generated distributive leadership where communities became eyes for the nation with specific regard to security. The approach was later adopted to Uganda as Mayumba Kumi and has since evolved into a tool for community health, sanitation, development and security.
In 2017 Emesco introduced the use of the approach in Kakumiro district under a Simavi and Aqua for all supported program called WASH and Learn. The approach was to be borrowed by JESE and HEWASA in the Rwenzori Region Western Uganda where it gained prominence. The partners applied in bringing 20 households together to ensure community total led sanitation efforts were sustained. so that if villages where declared open defecation free. This would be maintained.
It was noted that organising neighbors into units that would oversee the hygiene and sanitation in their neighborhood. Then link them to district level structures for health, environment and sanitation. Would ease local governments role in monitoring hygiene and sanitation as well as enforcing bylaws.
Inorder to establish strong neighborhood relations. The organisations created activities that brought the neighbors together such as village saving and loans projects, briquette and liquid soap making. So the neighbors where motivated to meet and discuss hygiene, sanitation as well as development.
Through these units people in the different neighborhoods became aware of the importance of hygiene and sanitation. Construction of sanitation facilities became a priority as well as their maintainance.
Additionally neighborhoods became model places the district would showcase. And the neighborhood projects generated income to finance household level sanitation interventions.
In 2019 the programme ended but the initiative continued in the Rwenzori Region.
Nyumba Kumi teaches self reliance and monitoring in neighborhoods. Everyone in a neighborhood takes the responsibility of ensuring the neighborhood is a safe, healthy and ideal place to live in.