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Peruvian paperclip challenge: Wanna trade?

I won’t assume that everyone knows what a paperclip challenge is so here is a simple explanation:  you start with a paperclip and try to trade it for something of greater value.

You continue to trade up until you reach an intended item or value.  Some may recall the One Red Paperclip Project where Canadian Kyle MacDonald managed to trade a red paperclip for an entire house through a series of trades.

This cool phenomenon has inspired many eco-friendly people to take on the same process with the idea in mind that an item is only as valuable as its use and therefore people will trade more valuable items for something they really need.

I love this idea that all items are valuable in the right person’s hands and therefore anything can be reused and recycled, even a lowly paperclip. That’s why I was super excited when I found out that a local woman in Victoria is attempting the paperclip challenge to raise funds for charity via ads on  And it’s really taken off so far. Here’s the lowdown:

The challenger

Her name is Courtenay Skipsey and she works as the Canadian Volunteer Coordinator for Peru Luz de Esperanza and the Executive Director of Pathways of Hope Society which is a registered not for profit organization.  She had seen other people have some success with the concept of a paperclip trade project and thought it was an interesting way to create awareness about their charity while raising funds in a unique and fun way.

The goal

Her goal with this paperclip challenge is to trade up until they have an item of substantial value that can be sold with all proceeds going to benefit Peru Luz de Esperanza which operates a school for over 120 underprivileged children in Central Peru. It will go towards setting up programs to provide Peru Luz de Esperanza with more financial stability. The exact program these funds will go towards has yet to be chosen but some ideas are a women’s cooperative weaving and knitting group or purchasing a combi that can be used as part of a work share program among the parents and also be used as a school bus and vehicle for providing community outreach to isolated villages. The programs started will inevitably depend on the overall amount of funding generated and the value of the final trade.

The trades

Courtenay posted her paperclip on and patiently waited for something better. It took over a month but she finally made her very first trade for a super cool yellow folding bike valued at one hundred and fifty dollars. Less than a week later, a user saw that snazzy yellow bike and decided they had to have it so they offered up a complete kite boarding set valued at seven hundred dollars.  This is the current item available up for trade so if kite boarding is on your bucket list, make sure to search your house for something you no longer use that’s worth more than seven hundred dollars!

A message from Courtenay

“I have true appreciation for those who participate in this challenge. It cannot succeed without the support of the public. I have already been blown away by people’s interest and generosity. The more valuable trades that are received the more the value of the final item will be. I am aiming to make a minimum of ten trades.”

We at are thrilled to be supporting this awesome project and will be keeping you posted on the new trades as they come in. Make sure to like the facebook page and follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date on what cool items you can trade for to help this amazing cause.






Community Coordinator at, blogger, social media junkie, proud mama, fabulously frugal, proud to be from our beautiful city!

One Response to “Peruvian paperclip challenge: Wanna trade?”

krystyna jervis

Hi Carly, Could the women in that area be capable of knitting small hats ( with earflaps etc), for dolls? They would have to be brightly coloured in the standard Peruvian style. I would be interested in hearing from you if you had any contacts that might help.
Krys Jervis


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