Photo credit: NEF
After years of work and international experimentation, NEF is excited to announce the launch of an innovative and practical tool for developing modern community currencies.
The Community Currency Knowledge Gateway, made live today, features contributions from many volunteers and our partners within and outside the Community Currencies in Action (CCIA) project, creating the most extensive and comprehensive source of knowledge and resources.
What is the Knowledge Gateway?
Currently focused on North West Europe but aiming for global coverage, the gateway is an online database outlining the origins, aims, vocabulary and functions of both high-profile and lesser-known projects in the growing world of complementary currencies and currency design.
Offering extensive information on alternative currency systems, key institutions and individuals, the site also contains video, picture and document libraries as well as a set of practical tool–kits designed to help new projects get off the ground. Quick guides for researchers, policy–makers, practitioners and small businesses provide customised guidance through this expanding field and link the most relevant elements of our website.
The website is part of CCIA: a transnational partnership working to develop and deliver community currencies across North West Europe, which NEF has been involved in for the last three years. Part-funded by the EU, CCIA incorporates six different community currencies – including the Brixton Pound and Spice Time Credits in the UK.
The largest ever project of its kind, CCIA aims to share knowledge and best practice, develop evaluation techniques and, through replicable currency models, enable communities to create vibrant and resilient networks that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.
The gateway is a major part of this vision and provides a shared space from which all can learn and to which everyone (including you!) can contribute. With the site using a wiki structure we hope people from around the world will share their knowledge, and being in five languages we also need people willing to translate. Click here to help!
Why have a community currency?
Just one in ten UK MPs know the truth about where our money comes from: that 97% of it is created at will by private banks in the form of debt, with distribution exclusively dictated by such institutions’ financial interests rather than any social or economic need. This is hardly surprising, though, when you consider parliament’s recent debate on money creation was its first on the subject for 170 years.
A community currency is essentially an attempt to de-monopolise this power. By truly controlling their own, alternative system communities can ensure the creation and distribution of their money better suits their specific needs.
Breaking down some of the barriers and inequalities of the conventional monetary system, local currencies foster more personal patterns of interaction and align individual economic exchange more closely with collective social needs. Community currencies are also powerful tools for building a sense of belonging and local identity.
The specific aims and design of each currency can vary. The Brixton Pound stimulates more local and sustainable production and supply chains, while SoNantes provides complementary credit to SMEs. Spice’s time-based currency rebuilds communities by rewarding people for giving their time to local projects, and the E–Portemonnee – a Belgian electronic currency – encourages environmentally sustainable lifestyles. Further information on all these CCIA partners, alongside a huge number of other community currencies from around the world, can of course be found on the website.
With the launch of these new resources, we hope that such projects can multiply, expand and develop.