Last week the Bangladesh Business Network was 'finally' given it's official registration papers with the Kenyan Government as a community based organization. This means they can now open a bank account and start collecting savings as a group based on their use of the Bangla-Pesa Community Currency. The atmosphere is very excited, as this also opens the business network up to promised assistance from the local government for training and infrastructure development. The BBN currently has 181 members (mostly self-employed women living in dire conditions) using roughly 10,000 Bangla-Pesa daily. The community of Bangladesh has opened the doors for many many other communities to take part.
A community group of 10 people from the town of Bungoma traveled over 20 hours by bus, all the way across Kenya, to reach Bangladesh. After they spent two days with us learning about the program and talking with community members there were extremely excited about setting up there own community currency. Take a look at our statistics to find out why.
This is one of dozens of groups around Kenya wanting to setup their own programs. So what is stopping them? The initial costs of printing bills with security features. With your help we can kick start these programs all over Kenya. Please consider supporting our campaign.
Meet Rose Ouma!
She’s a 49 year-old main provider for a household of 8, including 4 children. She was born in Suba, in Western Province of Kenya, but she moved from her home upcountry and now she lives in Ganahola, another one of the communities where we are hoping to spread complementary currencies.
Rose supports her large family selling “omena” which are small (about the size of a pen cap) dried fish which are a very popular source of protein and iron, often whole eaten deep fried or stewed. She sells one kilogram of omena for less than $2. On good days, she sells around $11 worth of omena. On bad days, she might only have one customer, selling only $2 worth of omena. On those days, Rose doesn’t earn enough money to pay for her families basic needs and some of her stock may rot or be eaten by her family, reducing her earning potential in the future.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Rose’s friends and neighbors want to buy her omena. It’s a popular protein staple. But during bad economic times, their businesses also suffer and they too don’t have the money to buy food from her for their families.
A community currency changes this. It gives them a means of exchange, even when Kenyan shillings are scarce due to poverty, economic downturns, or months of high expenditure (i.e., when school fees are paid). So, Rose can use her community currency to buy food, water, and cooking fuel to keep her family going, while her friends use their vouchers to buy omen from her.
Right now, Rose is still at the mercy of her community’s economic vulnerability, struggling to provide for her family while living on the edge. You can help change that by giving to this campaign and bringing a community currency to Rose and Ganahola.