The Miyani area in Kenya has been identified by Red Cross and the World Food Program as food insecure for over 5 years. Red Cross along with WFP have been providing cash to the community and promoting agroforestry along with Green World Campaign. These programs have been wonderful but there has been little to no introduction of new businesses or jobs to really allow that cash to circulate in the community. Instead injections of cash into these areas quickly funnel back out of the area to do things like milling maize.
Grassroots Economics has another solution: Create local businesses in the area (like water distribution and maize milling) and issue a credit to the schools, small businesses and farmers in the area. Farmers will be issued a credit that can be used for school fees, milling their maize, sending their kids to day care, collecting water and so on. Backstopping this credit as collateral will be flour produced by a cooperative maize mill. Credit will flow in example from farmer to school fees. Schools will up needed salaries for teachers who will buy maize flour. The Maize mill will in turn use the credit to buy raw maize from the farmers and so on.
This creates a virtuous cycle of trade, education and food production in a community that is both food and cash starved. This is Grassroots Economics’ first venture in Kenya outside the slums and we are tremendously excited about the potential. Since the majority of slum dwellers have migrated from rural areas due to such insecurity, the ability to tackle these issues holistically in both urban and rural economies will truly put our community currencies to the test and change how development is done.
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