If there is one movie this year that captures the life we see here in East Africa each day it is the Queen of Katwe. There is so much sadness and so much beauty and potential. We're so grateful that people can see the slums in this way and think about the chronic financial situation there. Sadly a huge number of people living in rural areas would rather move to the slums. The rural to urban migration is larger than it has ever been. According to UN Habitat: In our world, one in eight people live in slums. In total, around a billion people live in slum conditions today. This not only amounts to a rather unacceptable contemporary reality but to one whose numbers are continuously swelling. In less than 20 years those number could double!
How do community currencies help? If you watch Queen of Katwe you will notice that no bank is offering credit to people in the slums. Far less than 50% of the population has any access to banking. Over the last 20 years MFIs and banks have largely pulled out of such areas due to high default rates.
Community Currencies bring together networks of mainly women-run small businesses and empowers them to create their own rotating credit. These networks can create a buffer of credit that stays flowing int he community so that when the national currency leaves there is still the ability to trade. This simple concept drastically changes the local dynamic to support and grow local businesses. It means that thousands of people are walking around an area that are insensitized to buy from cooperative businesses run by the network.
Please consider making a donation or connecting us with people that can help spread these programs to places like Katwe.