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Back | Programme Area: Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development

Community Currency Programmes as a Tool for Sustainable Development: The Cases of Mombasa and Nairobi Counties, Kenya


Community Currency Programmes as a Tool for Sustainable Development: The Cases of Mombasa and Nairobi Counties, Kenya
In a century epitomized by rapid urbanization, the population living in informal settlements continues to grow. Grassroots Economics Foundation (GEF) has developed community currency (CC) programmes to boost employment in informal settlements with community currencies. These CC programmes are targeted towards the specific issues in informal settlements, such as lack of basic services, high (youth) unemployment and economic instability. By its design the CC model of GEF promises to be a tool for the sustainable development of informal settlements that goes beyond traditional development programmes (such as cash transfers) and their focus on productive outcomes.

This article therefore investigates if CCs have an impact on lifestyle outcomes. To this end it focusses on the CCs implemented by GEF in Kenyan informal settlements. By using inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) using the propensity score, this article showed a positive and significant impact of CCs on the following two lifestyle outcomes: helping the environment and gifting in professional services and goods. This article contributes to the academic literature by answering to the need of quantitative evidence of the impact of CCs and by evidencing how these CCs can have a more holistic impact than conventional development paradigms.

Daan Sillen is researcher at DRIFT, Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Pui-Hang Wong and Serdar Türkeli are researchers at the United Nations University-MERIT at Maastricht University, also in the Netherlands.

About this series of papers: In early 2018, the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE) initiated a research project that aims to assess the contribution of SSE as a means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Supported with an initial grant from the Government of Luxembourg, this project is examining the enabling conditions, including supportive policies, needed to realize the potential of SSE. The research, coordinated by UNRISD on behalf of the UNTFSSE, will generate a series of research papers and think pieces. This is the first paper in the series.
  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 9 Dec 2019
    Pub. Place: Geneva
    From: UNRISD