Complementary Currency Project Favorite 



Nov 1 2012


Mombasa, Kenya

Initially organized to respond to holes in service provision following Hurricane Katrina, Burners Without Borders has since 2005 "emerged as a community led, grassroots group that encourages innovative, civic participation that creates positive change locally." One ongoing project headed by BWB's Will Ruddick is a complementary currency program in Mombasa, Kenya. The program aims to "change the development funding dynamic, by empowering communities to direct their own productive power to the will and needs of local people through complementary currencies.

Complementary Currencies (CCs) aspires to improve local conditions by providing community groups access to savings and credit without expensive banking fees, offering a mechanism for communities to finance social services, increase local trade and business development and decrease corruption associated with aid funding.

Credit Clearing System
Each business registered in the network is allocated a credit line among the other businesses. This credit line is realized by being issued Banglas (Vouchers). The businesses also pay a membership fee to the network which is for administration, marketing and community programs. By using the Banglas to buy goods and services at fellow BBN member businesses, they also accept to sell their own goods and services for Banglas. The amount of Bangla-Pesa in circulation is determined by the membership and targeted at an amount usable for daily transactions. This currency forms a buffer against fluctuations in the money supply due to remittances, weather, holidays, sending children to school, political turmoil and so on.

The BBN membership consists of 90% women businesses owners who make on average ~2 Euros per day and support families by themselves. Generally they work several jobs and find no way to save money from month to month. They are also often sending any spare money back to extended family living in rural areas. The Bangla-Pesa gives them a way to save their national currency and use the local currency for daily spending. Businesses include services such asL clothes washing, tailoring, clobbering, manual laborer, house builders, salons, mechanical and electronic repairs, and porting. Other businesses include: Water, transportation, hardware, soap, general shops, food services, raw food (Including fish, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits and grains), farming, charcoal, lamp oil, education (Primary and nursery school), clothes, medical clinics, drinks (including alcohol, soda and fruit drinks).

Posted by Joel on