A Community Currency in Rural Kenya

I am a French researcher involved in an MSc Agricultural Development at the University of Copenhagen. I am very interested in Community Currency, especially regarding their potential to foster sustainable agriculture, food security and endogenous development in developing countries.

In this context, I am currently doing amazing fieldwork in the rural area of Miyani (near Mombasa, Kenya) where a community currency -the Miyani-Pesa (MP) (part of the Sarafu-Credit system)- has been launched last August. Grassroots Economics has, indeed, supported a local agricultural cooperative in (1) investing in a posho mill; (2) launching the MP (which is backed by the milling service) and an inital network of 40 local smallholders.

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Although the MP is still at an early development stage, 14 out of 36 interviewees mentioned that MP helps them on their daily food purchases by allowing them to buy food or mill their maize even when they experience a lack of Kenyan shillings. More astonishing, 60% of users noticed that they could already buy more diverse food thanks to the MP. Inital analysis of the food consumption booklets shows that in average, the non-users spend 23 Ksh per day per household member for food while the Miyani-pesa users spend 41 Ksh. This is an astonishing difference after only a few months!

Besides, 60% of interviewees also underlined that, by using MP, they could increase their savings in Kenyan Shillings. They would use the savings for paying the school fees, developing their farm and/or increasing their business stocks. For instance, one of the respondents underlined that he saved 300 Ksh (more than a weeks wage for him) since September and could, therefore, invest on his farm by buying one chicken.

Read the rest at Grassroots Economics

 

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