The aim of the Eco-Pesa programme was to promote and facilitate environmental social service work and economic development in impoverished informal settlements (slums) through the innovative use of a complementary currency. This complementary currency, called Eco-Pesa, was backed by the national currency and introduced through the registration of 75 small local businesses, price discounting, community service work, and community events in three neighbouring informal settlements in Kongowea, Kenya. An estimated $4,176 USD worth of trading was facilitated through the circulation of only $352 USD worth of Eco-Pesa. The use of Eco-Pesa resulted in a 22% average increase in participating businesses’ incomes, the collection of 20 tonnes of waste, and the creation of three youth-led community tree nurseries. The programme was cost effective (only $4,698 USD was spent over seven months), and provided an improved mechanism for tracking development funding and increasing overall accountability. This paper presents a study of the programme, describing seven months of design, implementation and results. The successes of the Eco-Pesa programme demonstrated in these findings, indicate that complementary currencies are a valuable tool to promote development, warranting further implementation and research.
William O. Ruddick A1-12