5 Kenyan Community Currencies Meet

Saturday, 27th June will remain a day to remember for various Business Networks in Kenya.

A total of five Business Networks united by a Community Currency (CC) were represented at a single meeting in Mombasa, hosted by the Bangladesh Business Network. Community Currencies give business communities a way to create their own mutual-credit-clearing (barter exchange) system to build economic resilience and self-fund community development programs.

Present, were committee members of the existing community Currencies in Nairobi (Kangemi-Pesa, launched 3 months ago and Gatina-Pesa, launched 9 months ago) along with 2 of their volunteers; members of the committees about to launch new currencies in Nairobi (Lindi-Pesa) and Mombasa (Ng’ombeni-Pesa). And of course, the committee, volunteers and members of the Bangladesh Business Network from Mombasa (Bangla-Pesa, launched in 2013) and the founder of Grassroots Economics – GE (in charge of the implementation of the CC networks in Africa).

While trade between these networks is just beginning, by sharing successes and challenges of the community currency programs across Kenya, these groups are a beginning to tap into the potential unlocked by their ability to self issue and back a community currency.

The main objective of this meeting was to share ideas in an interactive setting and come up with ways to enhance trade in the existing businesses on a day-to-day basis. Faulu Kenya, a Micro-finance institution that offers a variety of financial solutions catering to both Retail and SME segments, was also in attendance to explain the terms and conditions of group and Chama loans. These loans would help small business owners within the GE networks expand their businesses. Other activities that took place during these meetings were entertainment from the Bangla-Pesa Volleyball team – a youth group that provides garbage collection services to the Bangladesh community - sponsored by the Bangla-Pesa community fund of Bangladesh Business Network. Members of the Gatina and Kangemi-Pesa also got a chance to be part of the planning meeting for the upcoming Ng’ombeni-Pesa launch which is set to take place in the month August.