1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development

Validating Complementary and Community Currencies as an Efficient Tool for Social and Solidarity Economy Networking and Development: The Deployment of Theory of Change Approach and Evaluation Standards for their Impact Assessment (Draft)

Among multiple strategies, mechanisms and tools for financing development, there exists an alternative, diverse and impactful opportunity called Community and Complementary Currencies (CCC). In order to better evaluate their vision and value on one hand and their operational advantages and risks on the other hand, it is important to define their objectives and secondly to arrive at an understanding of how the induce socioeconomic changes. These two stages are necessary for differentiated impact assessment and to ultimately develop a coherent evaluation scoreboard and determine the appropriate legal, regulatory and governance framework for sustained success of these tools in the context of the social and solidarity economy. Indeed, each CCC approach is based on a specific development strategy objective: social, environmental, economic, territorial, community-level, and an efficient evaluation of their needs, limits and potential will allow a better scale-up and replication process. This paper assumes that the objectives of CCC initiatives can be described as adhering to (i) an economic dimension, such as economic stabilisation and crisis resiliency; (ii) a social dimension, such as democratic citizenship engagement, mitigating inequality and needs stemming from demographic changes; and (iii) an environmental dimension, such as ecological footprint reduction, and local community resilience.

As an empirical approach we propose and practically explore a Theory of Change methodology as an first step towards coherent impact assessment of CCCs to validate their efficiency and strategic effectiveness for the Social and Solidarity Economy networking and development

This paper was presented at the special session on Alternative Finance and Complementary Currencies, organized by the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) at the UNRISD Conference on Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy.