Politics in the SEEDS Ecosystem vs Chacha SEEDS Microfinance Bank proposal

Dear MBC, Hypha members and the SEEDS Community,

This is a new day, but to me, it’s a new day of downvotes triggered by certain members of the SEEDS community. Perhaps the top-most, and most influential members of the community who have vowed to weed out “bad proposals” like Chacha SEEDS Microfinance Bank.

I am reaching out to the SEEDS community through writing, maybe because I cannot gather all of you to pass my message at once. When I learnt about SEEDS about 3 months ago, my interest was to explore this new currency and make it known to as many people as possible in my community and beyond. At first I was wrongly advised that there were fees involved when joining SEEDS, only to realize I only needed an invite from a member.

I got an invite, got a few people as friends, some members welcomed me and passed me some SEEDS. I was very green then until someone told me asking for SEEDS was not a good practice and might have me kicked out of the community. So, I then took my time to learn and study good practices.

Two things were clear from this time; to earn SEEDS, I needed to either join the Ambassadors Academy and get rewarded in SEEDS or put up a proposal and ask for the community to vote for it. I immediately contacted a few people I thought would be more knowledgeable about the Ambassadors Academy. I am glad as I write, I have graduated from the SAA and will receive my reward in the next few days.

Today, I want to speak about my proposal and the unnecessary attention it is drawing within the community. I want to make it clear that Chacha Community Project is a registered Community Based Organization (CBO) and it is recognized by the government of Kenya. Another thing, we have been doing a number of financial transactions and have the records with us completed in KSH.

For instance;

  1. Table banking involves putting all the savings on the table and loaning the whole amount to interested members for a specified period of time.

  2. Merry Go Round, where we collect a small amount of money from each member every two weeks and give it to one person starting from number 1 to the last.

  3. Every member registers with a non-refundable fee, and can be rewarded a token (money) when he/she brings in a new member to register.

These are just but a few examples of financial transactions we complete in Kenya Shillings. My intention if you overlook the title of my proposal “Chacha SEEDS Microfinance Bank” was to complete all these transactions in SEEDS and not to build and run a SEEDS bank in Kenya.

I mentioned Kenya Women Microfinance Bank as the mirror institution because such activities are common in Kenya and are sponsored only by Microfinance Banks. I must say the title of my proposal sold me out.

However, my main interest is not to convert SEEDS to local fiat or benefit from interest, but, I would love to see and have SEEDS as an alternative payment method in Kenya.

Having managed to recruit a local airtime vendor, electronic vendor… we have talked to several businesses and institutions and they are ready to accept SEEDS as a currency in Kenya. This not to benefit Kenyans only, but to offer even a wider market for SEEDS to prevail and have liquidity in this region. How do you want the locals here to accept SEEDS as payment if none has SEEDS in the first place? Secondly, which vendor will accept SEEDS when they know nobody within the SEEDS community? I think it’s time to think more than just having people download the SEEDS Global Passport App,… it’s all about a journey of employment. Let us hand-hold and support each other.

Anyone opposed to my proposal, I am sure it’s because you do not know what we are doing on the ground as Kenyans, or because perhaps the title “Chacha SEEDS Microfinance Bank” sounds bigger than what we really want. Honestly, the harm is already done, but I can assure you guys…my intention from the start was never to provoke such attention.

I am going to continue doing what I am best at, reading, writing, and onboarding valuable members to the SEEDS community. My proposal is bound to fail since some MBC and Hypha members have dedicated their efforts to see the Chacha proposal fail. I would love to learn more about the voting system and know what it takes to win the hearts of MBC and Hypha members as I will be joining them soon. So that in future no proposal fails because certain members of the community say so, but because they do not meet the threshold.

I speak for Chacha Community Project, Kenya and everyone who shares the sentiments that it is essential to TRY to FAIL than FAIL to TRY. Again, Rain taught me something from the SAA C6, that failure is only an opportunity to learn. So everyone, welcome aboard, this is a new financial ecosystem. I am open to learning. Let’s continue co-creating together. Let’s enjoy the game of SEEDS.

Erick Ochieng
Founder, Chacha Community Project
KENYA

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Erick!

I’m absolutely loving getting to know you more and how you’re showing up in your community. It’s incredible and an honor to be creating this with you :heart:

I voted down and made public my decision to do so primarily because I’m not sure if SEEDS is mature enough to support proposals like this. I think it would be best to oversee regional proposals with regions governed by the Citizens of that region.

Instead of proposals like this coming to the global co-op.

To me, it’s not a matter of should we support projects like this. But more a matter of “when” and “how” we go about doing so.

With all that said, I could be totally wrong here and SEEDS may already be ready for this and if this proposal passes I think it’s a pretty clear signal that the community feels that it’s time for this.

Either way, I fully agree this is a “try again” scenario where your talents, passion and focus is deeply appreciated by me and I’d love to see a Kenya region thrive with your decentralized leadership :slight_smile:

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Excellent article! So sorry to hear about the opposition to the Chacha SEEDS Microfinance Bank. Having been to Kenya myself a couple of times, and with relatives living there, I can see how valuable something like this is. I think many, if not most, people in the rich northern countries fail to see how many Kenyans, and other East Africans, are actually very astute when it comes to alternative currencies and alternative financial institutions and are actually ahead of the curve in some of their financial innovations compared to mainstream monetary institutions in the rich north, as exemplified by the work of Grassroots Economics and the success of M-Pesa. I think the way voting has gone on the Chacha proposal shows the need for some in the SEEDS ecosystem to be educated about the nuances of the economic situation in East Africa and how the innovations in that area can facilitate the development of the SEEDS ecosystem overall.

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@Rui @Fabi @Magickdragon :cat2:

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