Bangla-Pesa - Can we do it again?

After winning court battles, relaunching the program, hearing heart breaking stories and finding amazing results the local government through the Kenya National Assembly Minister of Parliament (Hon. Badi Twalib) as well a County Assembly representative (Hon. Duncan O. Onyango) have expressed their desire that Koru-Kenya focus on replicating the benefits of the Bangla-Pesa program in a nearby informal settlement named Ganahola.

Ganahola is in a dire condition. We talked with 208 small business in Ganahola and found that their sales revenue per day fluctuates between 100 Kenyan shillings per day during bad periods and 700 ksh in good periods. While the community of Bangladesh has seen as much as an 80% increase in sales, Ganahola is in dire straights.

With the introduction of a complementary currency like Bangla-Pesa (for which the community will create their own name for) we are allowing commerce to continue even when Kenyan Shillilngs are scarce. Businesses in Ganahola will be part of a small business network that uses an alternative means of exchange via a voucher that is redeemed for their own goods and services. Based on our results in Bangladesh, we project roughly 10,000 Kenyan shillings of trade to be facilitated daily. This comes to roughly 70 shillings of new trade per day per small business and means the difference between putting good food on the table and going hungry.

The full impact of allowing hundreds of micro-businesses in Kenya to trade without depending on scarce money, is a revolution in how we think about sustainable development and poverty reduction. People living in slums have a huge untapped capacity for trade and they only need a means of exchange to unlock their economy. Like its predecessor Bangla-Pesa, a similar program in Ganahola will put development in the hands of the people and help stabilize the local economy by allowing people to utilize their untapped capacity.