Community Currencies in Senegal

From: Hassan Aslafy <>
Project Web Site

Hassan Aslafy

Subject: Re: Community Currencies in Asia, Africa and Latin America

Dear Friends,

Stephen DeMeulenaere's idea of "connecting" all of us working in the field of alternative micro-finance and local currencies is just great!

I think that all of us have experiences, thoughts and enthusiasm to share, including exchanging ideas on the difficulties we encounter. Combining our efforts, and putting in synergy our experiences can contribue to gaining strength and credibilising alternative economic pardigms and experiences - to combat the economic neclassical hegemony and the rampant social inequalities engendered.

Well, here goes my personal presentation...

My name is Hassan Aslafy ; I'm French, with Hispanic-Morrocon origins. My background is in social anthropology.

I've been working for a dozen of years, in "community development", first in India (Auroville) and then in Africa (with the Tourages and Bellas in Burkina Faso promoting organic agriculture and and anti- erosive measures in the Mossi plain). After this experience (from 84 to 87), I worked in almost all the West African countries, including Mauritania where I helped set up a "holistic" organisation.

When I returned to France in 1994, I became involved in the then- nascent SEL (French version of LETS. I was involved right from the beginning of this movement, as the general adminstrator of SEL in Pyrenees Orientales.

After promoting SEL for a couple of years, the idea struck me that such alternative socio-economic practices would be interesting to develop in Africa. I porposed this suggestion to the international NGO ENDA Third World, based in Senegal; they were immediately enthused. For a couple of months, I've been collaborating with one Enda team in particular (Enda/ Graf), oriented strongly towards social change and promoting alternative and empowering "popular" practices.

We've been working with youngster and women's groups on this research-action, in order to encourage local community exchange systems. Our preoccupation is to impulse mutliform exchange dynamics, from barter (exchange system chosen by women informal sector hawkers and venders to compensation-oriented systems. With unemployed youth, we'll experiment with exchanges of service and creation of community resource centers.

You can take a look at our activity report in the Selidaire Web site:

Our project is intitled "Promotion des systemes d'echanges communataires / promotion of community-based exchange systems;

We're going to first be working in 30 districts in Dakar, Senegal before extending our work in other urban centers in senegal as well as in the sub-region (Guinea, Mali..).

Our function would entail : setting up a resource center in information/documentation , facilitating training, and strenghthening initiatives and strategies of poor urban populations. As well as lobbying at regional and international regional to promote and render alternative systems more credible.

We'd like to encounter or share experiences with you. From the beginning of our experience in Sel, we have tried to enter into contact with the maximum number of partners. We'd like to hear more about the Tlalocs, experiences in other "developing" countries (Thailand, Turkey...). We've heard (very vaguely) about the creation of local currencies in conflict-ridden areas of the Great Lakes and about a pioneer experience called "Bangwa" in Cameroun; we'd appreciate more information on these experiences.

I'm very impatient to hear from all of you. May Stephen's brilliant idea be the beginning of a fruitful network.

Hello from all of us in Dakar,