Comunity Inclusion Currencies for Food Security: Impacts of Grassroots Economics and WFP's Game-Changing Approach

Tags: WFP, World Food Programme, RCT, Study, Kenya, Food Security

Grassroots Economics Foundation Study of Community Inclusion Currencies (CIC) in Rural Kenya; pilot conducted in collaboration with the World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator.

Kilifi, Kenya - Grassroots Economics Foundation is proud to announce the successful implementation of a project evaluating the use of Community Inclusion Currencies (CIC) with Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) in rural Kenya. The project aimed to decentralize and empower mutual credit issuance and exchange in Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs). This project was supported through the World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator’s Sprint Program.

Over eight months, the Foundation worked with three cohorts of VSLAs: control groups, groups that received cash and training, and CIC groups who received cash, CICs, and training. The results of the project showed the CIC cohort reporting a higher overall increase in diet diversity, food consumption, and savings compared to the other cohorts. Additionally, the CIC cohort showed a significant increase in local spending and development of farm assets and were less negatively impacted by chronic drought than the other cohorts.


Above are DLT (blockchain) facilitated and recorded transactions with each color representing a different CIC (Also called a Community Asset Voucher and given unique local names by each village) and each dot being a user and each line a volume of transactions. An interactive visualization can be found here.


The CICs were used by groups to pay for labor and inputs on collective farms using Syntropic Agroforestry, pictured above. CIC users reported increased trade, savings, and food security outcomes compared to groups receiving only cash assistance. This demonstrates that cash assistance programs targeted at supporting rural communities can have increased impacts when combined with a CIC.


Talib Mutogi, the Kitui-East area Chief (pictured above) took part in an economic mapping exercise, praised the project, saying, "Mumo vouchers (CIC) have changed the lives of the people in my community. I'm happy to see people meet every week to trade using vouchers, creating trust amongst them. I'm grateful for the project and it's my prayer that it continues for the benefit of this community."

Elizabeth Kavutha, from the Baraka Group in Zombe, Kitui, also expressed her appreciation for the project, saying, "I thank Grassroots Economics Foundation for the support they have given us in creating our own voucher (CIC). So many members of my community would go hungry or have one meal a day because of the hardship that we go through. Now that we have our vouchers, things have been easy as we can exchange our goods and services without Shillings. This is a support that is long term and we are looking forward to expanding our networks by registering more members to our network."

Two Universities were involved in the RCT design and data analysis - University of Tel Aviv and Central European University. Preliminary results from spending journal analysis shows the CICs spreading from 14 villages to over 700 villages in the region. The Grassroots Economics Foundation is excited to continue working with communities in Kenya and beyond to create sustainable and inclusive economic systems.

For more information about the project or Grassroots Economics Foundation, please visit our website or contact us at [email protected]

Also watch these videos to learn more:

  1. Grassroots Economics CIC explainer. (10 Minutes)
  2. Organic continuation of Trainers of Trainers. (4 Minutes)

About Grassroots Economics Foundation

Grassroots Economics is a non-profit foundation that aims to empower marginalized communities to create and manage their own economies in order to strengthen social cohesion, local markets and promote sustainable development. The organization's mission is to create community-led solutions for poverty alleviation and economic empowerment, by enabling communities to develop and manage their own financial systems that are based on local resources, needs, and values. Grassroots Economics Foundation works with local partners to design and implement Community Inclusion Currency systems that enable groups of small businesses and individuals to trade goods and services, access credit, increase savings, and build local networks of mutual-aid. Through its programs and partnerships, the Foundation seeks to promote economic resilience, social equity, and environmental sustainability in marginalized communities.

About United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator:

The WFP Innovation Accelerator sources, supports, and scales high-impact innovations to achieve Zero Hunger. Through the Accelerator, WFP is leveraging unprecedented advances in digital innovation — such as mobile technology, artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain — and new business models to transform the way we serve vulnerable communities across the world. WFP was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize "for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict."

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For WFP media enquiries, contact Heath Morrell, Communications Consultant, WFP Innovation Accelerator [email protected]