The Star (Nairobi)

1 January 2014

Kenya: Churches Now Accept Tithes in Banga-Pesa

Congregations in Mombasa's Bangladesh slums can now pay their tithe with Bangla-Pesa, the unit of credit which allows for payment of goods and services that is complimentary to the national currency. Bangla-Pesa, which is only accepted within the slum, is a voucher that traders and service pro- viders use in business.

Unlike vouchers used for a particular good or service, Bangla-Pesa coupons are accepted for many transactions. They represent a complementary currency and are accepted as a means of exchange in the slum. Bangla-pesa operates alongside the official gov- ernment issued currency.

William Ruddick who initiated the programme said several faith-based organizations have now begun accepting the vouchers to increase community services. "the Legio Maria church in Bangladesh on sunday took Bangla- Pesa as offerings," he announced on the programme's official web site, Koru Kenya.

He said churches act as a channel for community services when members of the Bangladesh Busi- ness network use their Bangla-pesa for offering. He said the currency is expected to increase the amount the church col- lects on a weekly basis. The amount will then be used to help feed com- munity members suffer- ing from HiV/aids and as well as support other community activities.

He said the Legio Maria church supports hundreds of children through school and of- fers financial assistance to many residents who are languishing in abject poverty.

According to the BBN, the number of their member has increased tremendously since the relaunch of the currency in November.

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