Kongowea Kenya Business owner using Eco-Pesa. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Kalan of BoP.

Eco-Pesa is a complementary currency program which multiplies the effects of donor funds by replacing aid-funding with a voucher that circulates in the community and incorporates local businesses into development programs. The Eco-Pesa begins with aid directed funding targeting community development, environmental rehabilitation and health programs. These funds are held as backing for printed vouchers. These vouchers flow from a local non-profit into donor the supported activities such as waste collection. The community members who take part in the activities receive Eco-Pesa and can then us it at community businesses. Businesses may then use it among each other and may also return a set amount each month for the original donor funds. From 2010-2011 GE's founders developed and implemented Eco-Pesa with their personal funds and assistance from Green World Campaign, accomplishing health and environmental aid objectives in Kongowea, a Kenyan slum. The project collecting 20 tonnes of trash and planting thousands of trees, through the introduction of a complementary currency with 75 local businesses, whose profits increased on average by 20%. The pilot program confirmed that health, environmental and economic issues could be addressed simultaneously and successfully through the introduction of a complementary currency. The program also provided an improved mechanism for tracking development funding and increasing overall accountability.

  • For more information on the Eco-Pesa, see: Photos, Videos, and Writing. Currently GE is working at continuing these benefits with Community Backed Currencies like Bangla-Pesa.