Complementary Currencies for 
Sustainable Development in Kenya: 
The Case of the Bangla-Pesa

This paper is a report on the development of a complementary currency system that allows Kenyans in informal settlements to trade goods and services and meet sustainable development objectives. The system in this report, Bangla-Pesa, uses a ‘collaborative credit’ model through a network of local business, whose owners often struggle to meet their basic needs (also known as ‘mutual credit’). The paper documents the reasons for its creation, how it was launched, the immediate positive benefits upon launch, and some of the difficulties faced. Bangla-Pesa is shown to have facilitated, upon its launch, exchanges of roughly 50 Euros in value per day among 109 businesses, which is projected to raise living standards in the community primarily through the utilization of excess business capacity. After only a week of circulation – Bangla-Pesa represented an estimated 22% total trade among community members. This system’s implementation and governance model are detailed with the aim of improving upon and replicating the model for future sustainable development programs.

William O. Ruddick, Morgan A. Richards, and Jem Bendell

IJCCR 2015 Ruddick et al

To cite this article: Ruddick, W., Richards, M. and Bendell, J. (2015) ‘Complementary Currencies for Sustainable Development in Kenya: The Case of the Bangla-Pesa’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 19 (Summer) 18-30  <www.ijccr.net>  ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2015.003

Eco-Pesa: An Evaluation of a Complementary Currency Programme in Kenya’s Informal Settlements

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

To cite this article: Ruddick, W. (2011) ‘Eco-Pesa: An Evaluation of a Complementary Currency Programme in Kenya’s Informal Settlements’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (A) 1-12 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2011.001