We envision prospering economies built by thriving communities.
Grassroots Economics is a non-profit foundation that seeks to empower marginalized communities to take charge of their own livelihoods and economic future. We focus on community development through economic empowerment and community currency programs. Beneficiaries of our programs include small businesses and people living in informal settlements as well as rural areas. GE is proud to have a rich history in community development programs thanks to it's many partners.
Our goal is to improve the lives of those who are most vulnerable. We use approaches such as participatory education and in-depth research and community profiling to understand needs and design programs with meaningful impacts.
In 2010, we began the first pilot programs in Mombasa and Nairobi, which were awarded as one of the top innovations in Africa at the Forum Afrique in Paris. Thus far, our community currency programs have been supported by organizations in France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, South Africa, and the United States.
Over the last two years, GE (formerly known as Koru-Kenya) has grown tremendously in the number of people we serve and the expansion of our currency programs. At this point we are close to our maximum programming capacity, with nearly all of our programs and services fully booked through the end of this year. Yet demand continues to grow. After winning a precedent setting court case, community currencies were deemed legal by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the groundwork has been created to expand these currencies wherever communities are unable to access the national currency.
Board of Directors
|Will Ruddick is the Founder and Director of Grassroots Economics Foundation. Mr. Ruddick is a development specialist focusing on East Africa. After completing graduate school researching high energy physics as a collaboration member at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, he found his passion in alternative economics and development work which brought him to Kenya. Since 2008 Will has lived in East Africa and managed several successful development programs in environment, food security and economic development. He is dedicated to connecting communities to their own abundance, and is an advocate for, and designer of, Complementary Currencies for poverty eradication and sustainable development. MR. Will Ruddick has developed several Community Currency Programs across Africa since 2010 and is the founder of the award winning Bangla-Pesa program. He consults on Community Currencies worldwide and is currently working in coordination with the University of Cape Town's Environmental Economics Policy Research Unit. Mr. Ruddick is also an associate scholar with the University of Cumbria's Institute for Leadership and Sustainability.|
|Ruth Mwangi is the Program Director of Grassroots Economics where she leads the foundation in programming, strategy and operations. Ruth has worked to design, test and coordinate numerous projects within the slums and villages of Kenya since 2004, such as: Bridge International Academies where she has helped improve the academic performance of students across 215 schools in Kenya. She has helped pioneer various girl-child initiatives that have so far ensured over 1,500 teenage girls have free access to sanitary-ware every month. Ms. Mwangi is also on the Board of Directors at the Garden of Hope Foundation and has had the opportunity to lead, train and direct numerous groups, conferences and events; works that have well been recognized by global organizations such as the Mandela Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) as well as the One Young World, where she has twice been selected to represent Kenya. Ruth’s strengths and interests lie in Public Relations, Corporate Governance and Strategic Management.|
|Caroline Dama is a Program Director for large scale environmental and development programs and is a strong believer in women's empowerment. As Dama puts it, "Women carry the bulk of the responsibilities here in Kenya. Most of these women in are illiterate, support large families and are extremely poor. They lack essential entrepreneurship skills and networks that could help them run successful businesses and they end up spending most of the profits, if any, on basic needs." Dama was recently honored in Paris as one of Africa's top innovators for her work on the Bangla-Pesa program. Dama is also a director of Green World Campaign Kenya where she manages the planting over over half a million trees per year. Dama has been certified in Permaculture Design and 4H Youth Empowerment for Environmental Solutions. She is currently working on integrating food farms as import replacing businesses in Community Currency Networks.|
|Jimmy Heyns has over 18 years of international experience in the Financial Industry, mainly as Risk Manager. Besides his very strong Risk Management skills, Mr. Heyns has extensive experience as a manager and executive. He has taken the role within Grassroots Economics, to set up a Risk Management system and is responsible for modelling and implementing market consistent pricing models based on his expertise in credit risk management. As an expert in financial systems, his main role is to guide our second line of defense as our director of Risk Management. Jimmy supervises over the implementation of our policy framework with the focus on governance and decision making concerning all risk categories. Mr. Heyns is also a Phd Candidate specializing in Complementary Currency, focusing on the ethical standards and risk management of CC projects.|
|Robert Mutsaers is a CEO, innovator and investor in businesses throughout East Africa. Through his keen interest in sustainable development and passion for diversity, he has been inspired by the challenge to explore and strengthen social values within commercial entities. Gifted with a natural fascination for the infrastructural sector, he remains a strong believer in the necessity of integration of social resonance between the people we work for, execute a challenge with and deliver success to. He feels challenged and comfortable to overcome complex business challenges utilizing experience-backed judgment, a strong work ethic and irreproachable integrity. Characterized as a visionary, strategist and tactician, Robert works towards delivering the most outstanding results in growth, revenue, operational performance and profitability. He naturally delivers on mission-critical results that require a visionary, innovative and strategic approach upon achieving success for businesses. As an innovative investor, Robert uses instinct, practical insight, judgment and timing to succeed, no matter how tough the deal. "I maintain a passion to motivate, mentor and lead talented professionals. I live the culture and lead by example with my governing motto 'family is my business."|
Environmental Services and Community Development
|Holger Hoffmann-Riem is an Environmental Scientist who is interested in solving real-world problems. As head of innovation at WWF Switzerland, his current focus is on creating an ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs who want to mitigate climate change. Holger is interested in collaboration across disciplines and geographical locations, and he is always looking for new approaches that could make it possible to tackle problems much more effectively. He believes in bottom-up solutions, and is curious to find out how community currencies can create disruptive change.|
|Carmen Mauk is the Founder and Executive Director of Burners Without Borders. She has developed a international network of Grassroots Change Agents and hekps develop and inspired hundreds of programs. Carmen is looking at empowering communities worldwide with community currencies.|
|Reba Chabeda Is a partner at Umsizi LLP, a corporate lawyer with over 10 years experience in different sectors including property, manufacturing, insurance , oil marketing and banking. Reba is passionate about improving livelihoods in Kenya and beyond using simple methods and utilizing readily available resources.|
Currency Research and Development
|Thomas H. Greco, Jr. is a preeminent scholar, author, educator, and community economist, who, for more than 30 years, has been working at the leading edge of transformational restructuring. He is widely regarded as a leading authority on moneyless exchange systems, community currencies, financial innovation, and community economic development, and is a sought after speaker internationally. He has traveled widely in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas, lecturing, teaching, and advising. He has been a speaker at numerous conferences and has led many workshops and colloquia in 14 countries.|
|Professor Jem Bendell is an advisor, educator, researcher and writer with fifteen years at the forefront of innovations in business responses to sustainable development. With a PhD in international policy, over 100 publications (including four books and four United Nations reports), Dr Bendell is an award-winning international authority on business-society relations, lecturing in fifteen countries. Jem is the Director of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability at the University of Cumbria.|
|Ahmed Maawy is a Shaper with the Global Shapers Community (Which is an Initiative of the World Economic Forum). Ahmed is also one of the pioneers in the groundbreaking institution that aims to create a world without boundaries, The Amani Institute's Post Graduate certificate in Social Innovation Management. Ahmed Maawy has spent more than 10 years developing web, mobile, and enterprise software as well as being a project manager for a number of software products and projects.|
Public and Political Relations
|Grace Neema Mutemi is a Public Affairs Strategist, Publisher and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). She has vast experience in Sub-Saharan African Development work, including Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Planning and execution; Government, Donor and Investor Relations Management and Strategic Communication. Her experience in the Development Sector cuts across Agriculture and Rural Development, Co-operative Development, Youth Empowerment, Politics and Governance, Policy and Legal Framework and Environment, Water, Sanitation and Health.|
|Daniel Mukosia is a musician and people person. He graduated with a Bachelors in Management Accounting Option from MOI University and started working as a volunteer with Grassroots Economics. In 2015 Daniel became an Nairobi Coordinator, dealing with three business networks (Lindi, Gatina and Kangemi). His main roles and responsibilities are training the new members and sensitizing of non members about Community Currency.|
|Lydia Anyango is a Community Development and Counseling Specialist. She has experience as a Project Coordinator in various youth projects. Lydia has been trained in several Behavior Change approaches by organizations like Population Services International (PSI). She was one of the Chill Campaign peer educators, where she worked with school children. She was a life skills trainer with Life Skills Promoters Kenya and is currently coordinating the coast community currency programs of Banlga-Pesa and Ng'ombeni-Pesa; She loves acting too.|
|Francis Wanjala is the headmaster of a primary school in Nairobi and is currently coordinating the Nairobi community currency programs. Francis works to mobilize and train the business networks and especially focuses on the usage of community currencies in schools.|