Lindi and Ng'ombeni Pesa Launched

The 4th and 5th Kenyan Community Currencies were launched last week within a span of 7 days. We now have our 3rd Nairobi Currency in Kibera, known as the Lindi-Pesa - linking together with Kangemi-Pesa and Gatina-Pesa in Kawangware. In Mombasa, we have Ng'ombeni-Pesa, the first currency to branch out of Bangla-Pesa in Mikindani. These were our first launches to feature our new Community Currency User Guide and Quiz as well as directories for all the business and school members.

These five Community Currencies in Kenya are significant not only because they network and empower more than 500 small businesses and schools, but also because they are able to grow horizontally by demonstrating to their neighbors how the programs work and what benefits they have. Each community currency is owned and operated by Community Based Organizations (CBOs) which are made up of small businesses and schools in the area that back and issue the currency.

Lindi-Pesa comes from the Lindi-Location inside East Africa's largest slum – Kibera. With a shifting and growing population Kibera is reported to house up to half a million people, living in extremely harsh conditions. The Lindi Business Network consists of several schools, nurseries and more than 100 small businesses. This group of over 90% women run businesses, has already taken the community currency concept and run with it. The Lindi-Pesa launch was graced by the presence of the area Chief and the Deputy Commissioner officer (DC) who officially cut the ribbon on behalf of local government.

Ng'ombeni-Pesa or (Cow Money) comes the the Kwa Ng'ombe area of Mikindani, Mombasa, not far from the original Bangla-Pesa location. A group of women took up the call to create a business network after they saw the example of Bangla-Pesa. While smaller than Lindi with roughly 85 members so far, they are growing fast. Women from the group used the currency launch event to put on a fashion show for dresses they created themselves, as well as to exhibit a variety of goods they make and sell - such as liquid detergent soap. In attendance was Hon. Twalib Badii the Member of Parliament who supported Bangla-Pesa during its shaky start in 2003. Also in attendance was a representative of the local Sentator and Women's representative, as well as Mr. Wangare the local Councilor.

For their help in making these two currencies a reality we offer a special thanks to:

  • For the Lindi and Ng'ombeni Business Networks - for taking on these programs and showing us how to use them.

  • Nyendo-lernen who are dedicated to helping Kenyan schools and are featured on the Lindi and Ng'ombeni vouchers.

  • Chiemgauer - for helping with the printing and specialty paper

  • Stichen DOEN - who supported both currencies through implementation.

  • LUSH Cosmetics - who assisted with Kangemi and Lindi-Pesa

  • Carol Opondo and Tatjana Posavec for their artistic talents doing the original art and graphic design for the currencies.

  • For the Grassroots Economics Team - especially Robin Gerbaux for his work on the directories and user guide - who will be heading back to France in September.

South Africa: This last month the 2nd Community Currency following the original Bangla-Pesa model was launched in Kokstad, South Africa. We're extremely proud of the team on there work there and hope they can keep up the momentum.

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