Research

We do regular monitoring and evaluation on the impact of our programs and collaborate with researchers from around the world. Data is collected through digital (blockchain-based) transaction data, journals and surveys of people using and not using Community Currencies.

Data definitions can be found here and datasets can be downloaded below.

 

 

Research questions:

  • Design:

    • What do communities need to unlock and direct their collective capacity?

      • What does a post scarcity society look like?

      • How can variations on currency design support community abundance and harmony with their environment and other communities?

      • Ideology and ethics - Why develop a community currency? (For each part of the infrastructure and various implementers.)

  • Development:

    • How can community currencies and their infrastructure be developed and managed?

    • How are communities fully empowered and sovereign in their choices?

    • What regulatory frameworks can be used?

    • How to achieve institutional integration - Humanitarian orgs, chamas (community groups), schools, shops, govt. Financial Institution, Faith based organizations,  etc

    • Network visualization and analytics that help understand, react to and manage CIC systems

      • Predictive and Agent based modelling

    • How can people and institutions outside of a community interact with the local community? Aid distribution - redistribute taxes? (voting, algo, etc) ... Also in what medium: Capacity building, in-kind, cash, stable tokens, etc

  • Understanding:

    • What are the impacts from pilots and trials? - short and long term effects of such programs like Sarafu Network.

    • What characteristics cause community currencies of different designs and communities to have different impacts?

 

We love to get feedback and link to studies!

 

Red Cross Mukuru Kayaba Rapid Survey Analysis May 2020

CIC: Mukuru Kayaba Rapid Survey Analysis - brief.

Date of Analysis: 25th to 30th May 2020

Area of survey: Mukuru Kayaba (Pop. 83,000) (Pop of Sarafu users 4000)

Number of respondent: Female 391, Male 228 Total: 619

Goal: To understand the impact of Sarafu and give qualitative understanding of the statistics for users.

Proof of Impact: Blockchain Community Currencies in Action

Galia Benartzi and Rebecca Mqamelo. 2019.

This working paper looks at how the blockchain-based Sarafu Network addresses liquidity problems commonly associated with community currency systems and provides case studies on how the Sarafu Network has impacted the lives of participants.

A relational analysis of sarafu network: emergence of a monetary ecosystem for the prosperity of the communities

Master Course. University of Torino. Sowelu Elios Avanzo

Economic advantages of community currencies

Seminar Paper. Sarah Zeller

Community currencies are used all over the world, but only sometimes economically ad- vantageous. We introduce liquidity to the debate as a new explanation of success. After developing a working hypothesis, we use two case studies to test it. We find community currencies are only economically advantageous in an environment of insufficient liquidity.

Trade facilitation and community development in the age of blockchain & DLT

The starting point of this report was a research study on behalf of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH who is a global service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. The task was to investigate community currency projects in low-resource environments.

DANIDA awarded 9 million DKK for research on Community Currencies

DANIDA (Denmark's development cooperation, an area of activity under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark) recently awarded 8,9 millions DKK for the project Community Currencies: Grassroots Financial Innovations for Inclusive Economic Growth to professor Ester Barinaga, MPP and Lund University. During the coming 4 years, the project is to look at the governance practices, impact and diffusion strategies of the Kenyan community currencies in Mombasa and Nairobi, as well as to introduce three community currencies in Kisumu.

Voucher Systems for Food Security A Case Study on Kenya’s Sarafu-Credit

Marion Cauvet. 2018

M.Sc. Agricultural Development, University of Copenhagen

Community Currency Programmes as a Tool for the Sustainable Development of Informal Settlements: The Case of Mombasa and Nairobi County, Kenya

​Daan Sillen. 2017

M.Sc. Public Policy and Human Development United Nations University and Maastritcht University.

The case of Sarafu-credits: Examining how a community currency can contribute to sustainable livelihood in informal settlements

Hannes Anagrius. 2017

M.Sc in resilience and sustainability science at Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden.

Community Currencies in a Development Context, The case of the Sarafu-Credit in Kenya

Thibaud Dezyn 2017

Masters in Cultural Anthropology, University of Leuven, Belgium.

Challenges of Collective Organization and Institution Building around Community Currencies in Kenyan Slums

Dissaux, T., Ruddick, W. 2017

Paper prepared for the 4th International Conference on Social and Complementary Currencies in Barcelona, Spain.

The Role of Complementary Currency in Promoting Business Growth in an Informal Economy: Case of Bangla-Pesa

Roselyne M. Omanga. 2016

Masters of Executive Business Administration, Strathmore University, Kenya.

Relationship between Community Currencies and Nutritional Intake of Household in Kibera Kenya

Sharlene Mbula Mule. 2016

Degree of Bachelor in Science in Food Nutrition and Dietetics. University of Nairobi.

Trust and Spending of Community Currencies in Kenya

Ruddick, W. 2015

Paper prepared for the 3rd International Conference on Social and Complementary Currencies in Salvador, Brazil.

Re-imagining Money to Broaden the Future of Development Finance: What Kenyan Community Currencies Reveal is Possible for Financing Development

Bendell, J., Slater, M., Ruddick, W. 2015

United Nations Research Institute for Social Development Working Paper 2015-10.

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

Ruddick, W., Richards, M., Bendell, J. 2015.

International Journal of Community Currency Research. 

Eco-Pesa: an Evaluation of a Complementary Currency Programme in Kenya's Informal Settlements

Ruddick, W., 2011

International Journal of Complementary Currencies.

Complementary Currencies Strengthening the Social and Solidarity Economy: Case Studies from Kenya

Ruddick, W., Mariani, L. 2013

United Nations Research Institute for Social Development Working Paper.

Kenyan Businesswomen Transforming Slum Economies through Complementary Currencies

Richards, M., Ruddick, W. 2013

United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.

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Community Currencies as Crisis Response:
Results from a Randomized Control Trial in Kenya
2021 Rebecca Mqamelo

(download pdf)

Abstract:

This paper presents the results of what may be the world’s first randomized control trial on community currencies. In 2020, Grassroots Economics’ ​ Community Inclusion Currency (CIC) model was adopted by the Kenya Red Cross as a humanitarian response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This study takes existing research a step further by providing experimental evidence on the impact of CIC transfers in Nairobi. Unlike most unconditional cash transfer programs, recipients are sent cryptographic tokens rather than cash or mobile money, enabling an unprecedented level of trade data via blockchain analytics. Results show that small-scale transfers of $30 sent as CIC tokens have statistically significant economic impacts on beneficiaries, with a $93.51 increase in wallet balance, a $23.17 increase in monthly income, a $16.30 increase in monthly spending, a $6.31 increase in average trade size and a $28.43 increase in expenditure on food and water. However, the difference in magnitude of positive treatment effects for male versus female recipients suggests that gender imbalances persist. Women show a lower marginal propensity to consume, indicating a preference to save additional income as a buffer against unpredictable cash flow. This study adds to a growing weight of research that points to community currencies as the next step in the evolution of cash transfer models – one that keeps money flowing locally and therefore supports bottom-up economic resilience.