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

Abstract - EN

In a century epitomized by rapid urbanization, the population living in informal settlements continues to grow. Grassroots Economics Foundation (GEF) has developed community currency1 (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.