Case Study: Economy Builder for a post-disaster economic recovery


SITUATION: Analysis of municipal risks by partner organisation reveal that preparedness for major disruptive events (like climate event or rapid economic decline) was in place to some extent. What was lacking however, was a mechanism to restore the local economy if access to the monetary system (often digitalised and reliant on internet) was restricted post-disaster.

FRAMING QUESTION: How can a community recover the local economy post-disaster in a situation where the digital monetary system is still not functional?

SOLUTION: Set up a temporary, non-digital currency system specifically designed to be provided by aid organisations in a limited geographic area.

Our investigations showed that communities that recovered best from disaster are ones where the skills of local people are documented and available. We also met a wide range of experience with self-organising groups, where a support framework provides enough structure for people to be helped into creating self-running projects.
Building on investigations and tests with volunteer coupons and time-based currency, a team from Stephen Hinton Consulting along with the Swedish Institute of Safety and Security developed a prototype of a package called Economy Builder.

Essential Features of Economy Builder

  1. Physical vouchers, printed with unique crypto-bearing serial numbers.
  2. Issued post-disaster by aid team.
  3. Connected to volunteer time and volunteer projects for rebuilding community services.
  4. Used until national currency established.


What is good with Economy builder is that its project basis means that people are remunerated for taking part in projects, and project distribute goods – in some cases for free  and in some for vouchers. The informal economy can begin to flourish once the projects to create infrastructure come into place.

As it is time based, the currency is transparent and a leveller.

The next step is to carry out a role-play exercise with the currency to test assumptions.

Learn more :

Download the description sheet here:Economy Builder



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