Joaquim de Melo Neto Segundo

Ashoka Fellow
Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil
Fellow Since 2004


This profile was prepared when Joaquim de Melo Neto Segundo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
After years of working on projects to improve life in the favelas, Joaquim began innovating within the finance sector and has developed a new banking model that works both socially and financially. The key is that both the power and the support come from the community; everything is locally-based. This system involves elements of financial management as well as stimulation of production and consumption within the community.
All finance operations are coordinated through the People’s Bank, which feeds the network of local solidarity with a parallel currency, facilitating the sale of products made in the community, making incomes circulate within the neighborhood, and thereby promoting economic growth. Armed with a detailed map of local production and consumption, Joaquim offers lines of microcredit for those wishing to produce to meet local demand and another line that finances those who wish to purchase from local producers and merchants. The goal of the strategy is to create a sustainable and virtuous local economic circle, as well as to prepare this excluded population for life in the wider capitalist world.
The bank, unique in the entire world, has three central characteristics: management by the community itself, an integrated system, and the unique social currency. Joaquim believes that when management is conducted by the local community itself, the community increases its capacities and develops its technical and project management abilities as well as skill in negotiating with governments. An integrated system allows lending for production and consumption at the same time. The social currency, called “Palmas”, circulates in parallel with the official currency (Real), which is accepted and recognized by local producers, merchants and consumers, creating a solidarity and alternative market among people of the community.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person


Featured in Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World, by Bev Schwartz (2012)

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