There’s a team of people in Kenya working under the banner of GrassRoots Economics. Among them, Caroline Dama is a permaculturalist, Ruth Mwangi specialises in community and small business development, and Will Ruddick implements complementary currency programs. In September this year, GrassRoots applied to Permafund Australia to support a project in the informal settlement of Bangladesh in Mikindani, Mombasa, to train and equip two neighbouring schools to build a community food garden, a tree nursery and to restore a mangrove area using permaculture techniques.
Permafund provided the project with AUD$2,000 and within days we received this link to the blog post about the successful first stage of swale digging.
Community currency builds local economy
Fundamental to the project is the use of the ‘Bangla-Pesa’ community currency. National currency is always in short supply, but local businesses can use the Bangla-pesa to purchase produce from the community garden. The proceeds can, in turn, be used to pay school fees, purchase other local goods and services and employ workers.
Since that first blog post, the schools have been adding dry grass and manure to ensure fertile soils when the children return in January. The children have already had training in building and maintaining the nursery bed, collecting wildings from trees, seed collection and agroforestry.
At the recent Permafund gathering at Jilliby NSW, we were fortunate to have a skype link up with the founder and key member of GrassRoots, Will Ruddick. Will spoke of the many successful programs they’ve run in Kenya and South Africa. Innovative thinking, new technologies, and community-based solutions, he told us, are opening up new paths to development. He sees alternative currencies working together with permaculture to connect communities with their own abundance.Visit website to find out more about Will and GrassRoots Kenya
Visit website for lots of great pictures and blog post