SOCCs: A Community Currency for Social Good
Social Capital Credits (SoCCs)is a community currency for social good that combines the best practices of carbon credits and MPesa, the high impact telephone banking system. This breakthrough concept is currently being used in WSI project sites in Ghana, Kenya and India. It aims to empower communities to improve their own lives while leveraging the multiplier effect of each development dollar.
The Social Capital Credits system, or SoCCs, is designed to help people in poor communities fulfill some of their basic needs while improving education, healthcare, savings, etc. For every five individual credits or “iSoCCs” earned by a community member, one community credit or “CommSoCC” is also deposited into the community
cache, which can then be used for common projects such as a micro-sewage system, improvements to the street or public space or a child care center.
SoCCs is a grassroots energizer giving the power of choice to communities and helping them become the main stakeholders in their own success. The SoCCs team from WSI/Asia Initiatives works with individual communities in SoCCratic dialogue to customize SoCCs menus to their specific needs and capabilities. SoCCs Earning Menus
include items such as getting children vaccinated, sending daughters to high school, waste management, providing child care or elder care, planting trees and paving streets. SoCCs Redemption Menus include items such as the payment of school fees, skills-training classes, home repairs and telephone talk time. A local SoCC Manager is trained and paid to work with the community. While most of the pilots are currently using SoCC Books to record SoCC transaction, Asia Initiatives has recently completed www.SoCCmarket.org, a technology platform for trading SoCCs and capturing essential data.
Current WSI SoCCs Projects
1. Kumasi, Ghana: Women vendors in the Bantama market are earning SoCCs for getting health screenings, getting children vaccinated, planting trees and keeping the market clean. Initially, SoCCs were redeemable only for telephone talk time, school fees and family health care, but SoCCs can now also be used to secure micro loans. The SoCC program is also being expanded to cover a number of new communities just north of Kumasi.
2. Kisumu, Kenya: This project is currently incentivizing waste management in the Gesoko neighborhood of Manyatta, Kisumu’s largest slum. This community is also planning to use SoCCs to create watch groups for girls’ safety and skill training in the future.
3. Madurai, India: A community SoCCs program is being customized to incentivize women to improve the public spaces and shared amenities in their neighborhood.
4. Washington, DC: Members of Bread for the City SE’s WomenStrong – DC program are planning to use SoCCs to incentivize members to improve their literacy, skills, health and to help in de-addiction efforts.
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