Berkshares and Bangla-Pesa

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The Schumacher Center for a New Economics has supported us with inspiration and advice since we began with Eco-Pesa in 2010. Before starting our first currency, Eco-Pesa), I called Susan Witt (the Executive Director of the Schumacher Center) for advise, from one of those little international calling booths they used to have in Mombasa at 70 Kenyan Shillings a minute. The Schumacher Center is a pioneer in developing local currencies with their Berkshares a historic and leading example of a regional currency in Massachusetts. Susan told me the of the efforts over the years to get BerkShares flowing and that, while successful in so many way, it was continuing to evolve. She made it clear that developing community currencies in Kenya wasn’t going to follow a cookie cutter approach and that grit and hope would be my best companions.

Seven years later, The Schumacher Center’s patient advice has paid off. Through hardship and collective action, we have developed Community Currencies in regions around Kenya and trained groups in South Africa, Nigeria and Uganda. We were lucky enough to develop on the lessons of the Schumacher Center and apply those teachings to a Kenyan setting. Now, in turn, groups, NGOs and municipalities are using our programs as a model for resilient community development across Africa. We train communities to develop cooperative businesses that form the foundations of a community currencies and enable communities to develop resilient economies that can withstand seasonal market volatility and more people out of poverty. Since 2010 we’ve worked with over 2000 businesses, community groups, schools and clinics across Africa to develop cooperative businesses and 8 regional community currencies.

We believe that communities should be afforded the same privileges as nations and empowered to develop their own prospering economies with the stability of their own currencies. Because of our shared purpose, we are happy to announce that the Schumacher Center has agreed to serve as a sponsor of Grassroots Economics’ work in Africa. Donations are therefore tax-exempt under US law.

We encourage those that are able to support the cause by making a tax deductible donation to the Schumacher Center for a New Economics. To make sure your support reaches our work in Africa please indicate "Community Currencies — Africa." on your check or online payment.

Support for goes specifically to:

- - Developing cooperative businesses (which back and enable Community Currencies to flow).

- - Training leaders across Africa that communities have an alternative to debt-based finance.

Please contact us to tell us about yourself.