Economic and social impacts of the Community Currency programs:

Based on 505 businesses surveyed across 5 networks an average of 36.6% of sales are being accepted in Community Currency (survey done during 2nd trimester 2017):

Social Impacts:

  • Community Services: 57% of members (684) report Community Currency being used for environmental programs (such as trash collection and community gardens)
  • Willing to continue: 93% of members (1114) want the program to continue and increase the amount of Sarafu-Credit in the Community.
  • Education: 23% of members report using Sarafu-Credit for school fees (276 Students with increased education)
  • Trust: 77% of members say that trust in the community has increased.
  • Gifting: When asked “How much over the last month did you give (in money professional services and time) to support people or groups without expecting compensation?”
    • Non-using Groups averaged 191 KSH (equivalent) monthly
    • Monthly Community Currency Users averaged 855 KSH (equivalent) monthly
    • -> 347.48% Higher amounts of gifting for those using Community Currency

Economic Impacts:

  • Food Security: 6% of daily food purchases are being made by members using Community Currency
  • Job Creation: 17% of members report hiring new employees because of the program (206 jobs created).
  • Customers: 57% of members report increases to customers and 65% report increases to sales because of the program.
  • Member retention: overall we have issued a zero-interest credit to 1700 members totaling roughly 7200 EUR and retained 1140 members (95%).
  • Community Currency usage over time (average daily amount of CC Usage). We find the longer people are in the program the more Community Currency they are using.
Building resilient economies through cooperative businesses

Effective community currency networks develop income generating cooperative businesses that reduce the need for importing goods and services into the community. These businesses are incubated and flourish within a community market and in-turn help build greater market stability against volatile external shocks. Example cooperative import replacing businesses could include:

  • Supermarkets – Help created hubs for stocking local products,
  • Flour milling – Process local maize and other grains for consumption,
  • Oil pressing – Cold pressing coconut and other seeds to produce a local source of body and cooking oil,
  • Community farms and food gardens – Produce food locally using permaculture techniques,
  • Local transport – Help buy bicycles, hand-carts and motorized transport for local residents,
  • Local clinics - Offer needed services to people in the community,
  • Nursery and after-school services - Offer children a safe place to grow and learn,
  • Cooperative resource management - Such as grazing lands, water reserves and fuel wood forests can be managed and maintained using community currency.
Enabling Education

Community Currency helps ensure children are getting an education by allowing parents to use their goods and services to pay for school fees when national currency is scarce. Community Currency is used to pay for tuition and other school costs and in turn goes to teachers’ salaries then out into the community for goods and services and then back to the schools again in a virtuous cycle.

Communities receive more sponsorship

Studies show that when trying to support people that need it most at a part of sponsors and government funds can go missing due to rampant corruption and embezzlement (1). Converting those funds instead to community currency, ensures that the community of beneficiaries will be the only people who can spend those funds. Besides the Community Currency being offered as a zero-interest credit to local businesses, sponsor funds can be issued to students, elders and clinics, where they can be then spent in a network of hundreds of shops and schools. This increases local trade and helps support the local community. (1) See for example a Tanzanian experimental study: Di Falco, Salvatore; Magdalou, Brice; Masclet, David; Villeval, Marie Claire; Willinger, Marc. 2016. Can Transparency of Information Reduce Embezzlement? Experimental Evidence from Tanzania. IZA Discussion Papers, No. 9925


For research results on our Community Currency program, please visit the research page.