Complementary currencies for humanitarian aid

Ussher, Leanne ORCID logo ORCID: , Ebert, Laura, Gómez, Georgina M. ORCID logo ORCID: and Ruddick, William ORCID logo ORCID: (2021) Complementary currencies for humanitarian aid. Journal of Risk and Financial Management, 14 (11). p. 557.

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The humanitarian sector has gone through a major shift toward injection of cash into vulnerable communities as its core modality. On this trajectory toward direct currency injection, something new has happened: namely the empowerment of communities to create their own local currencies, a tool known as Complementary Currency systems. This study mobilizes the concepts of endogenous regional development, import substitution and local market linkages as elaborated by Albert Hirschman and Jane Jacobs, to analyze the impact of a group of Complementary Currencies instituted by Grassroots Economics Foundation and the Red Cross in Kenya. The paper discusses humanitarian Cash and Voucher Assistance programs and compares them to a Complementary Currency system using Grassroots Economics as a case study. Transaction histories recorded on a blockchain and network visualizations show the ability of these Complementary Currencies to create diverse production capacity, dense local supply chains, and data for measuring the impact of humanitarian currency transfers. Since Complementary Currency systems prioritize both cooperation and localization, the paper argues that Complementary Currencies should become one of the tools in the Cash and Voucher Assistance toolbox.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Journal of Risk and Financial Management
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 1911-8074
Departments: Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership > Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS)
Additional Information: William O. Ruddick is an associate scholar at the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) at the University of Cumbria, specializing in complementary currency research and implementation in sustainable development programmes. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2023 11:12
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 12:46


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