Social Income (SH & SL)


‘Social Income’ is a Swiss initiative that asks people in Europe to contribute 1% of their monthly income to people in the Global South. “Social Income is an initiative in solidarity that aims to connect people across the world through small, impactful donations.” On its website, a calculator helps you to determine your monthly income. It explains what 1% of this amount means for a potential recipient in Sierra Leone. 

Social Income was started in 2020 as a pilot project between the Swiss art organisation Random institute (Zurich) and a collective of artists in Freetown in Sierra Leone. As of March 2020, these artists each get USD 30 per month, guaranteed for three years (the average income in Sierra Leone is 45 USD). 

Since the public launch of Social Income in July 2021, other precarious groups in Freetown have been involved as well, beyond only the arts. 


Individuals pay a monthly contribution (they can choose to pay monthly, quarterly or annually), while also institutions can make a one time contribution. 100% of individual contributions are paid out to recipients.

Social Income payments are sent directly to recipients’ mobile phones. The amount disbursed is determined by the average salary where recipients live: at least 30% of typical monthly wages in the location where it is sent.

Social Income combines three approaches to change: 1) the promise of Universal Basic Income, 2) the benefits of direct cash transfers, 3) the power of mobile banking. 


The core team of Social Income, in which more than 20 people (mostly volunteers) are involved, is based in Sierra Leone and in Switzerland. 

Possible new recipients in Sierra Leone are determined by the local advocates and partner organisations of Social Income. The major principle for this selection is to keep up a strict gender balance/equality and to only support people in need. Today, apart from the initial artists, also a list of local widows and people with disabilities in Sierra Leone’s coastal area do receive support by Social Income. 

In the spirit of the Universal Basic Income ‘recipients can use the money as they please’.



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