Empowering More People to Manage Their Money
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Empowering More People to Manage Their Money

By Nozizwe Vundla, 30 July 2021

Upskilling South Africans in financial literacy and knowledge is one of the best ways to empower people to live with confidence.

In the past six months, the Sanlam Foundation has provided Consumer Financial Education (CFE) to 5,170 beneficiaries (the 2021 target is 6,050) via the service provider, Avocado Vision. This means that Sanlam has reached 14,593 people in total since the project started in 2020.

The overarching aim is to give people hope. To give them the tools and confidence to go after their financial goals and to build and protect wealth. And, in doing so, to contribute to a nationwide improvement in South Africa’s savings culture.

Nozizwe Vundla, Head of the Sanlam Foundation, says, “We know that broadening socio-economic reach goes beyond giving people better access to financial infrastructure. It is also about improving understanding of key financial concepts and products to empower confident, savvy money decisions and habits.

“Our brand promise is to give millions of individuals across the continent the chance to live with financial confidence. The confidence to work hard to build a better future and live their best lives. In doing so, we hope to improve the wellbeing and resilience of the communities we serve. This programme is one expression of that.”

The Sanlam 2021 CFE Programme in a Nutshell

  • From January to June 2021, the programme has reached participants across all nine provinces, especially Gauteng (22% of beneficiaries)
  • 68% of beneficiaries are women
  • 70% of participants are between the ages of 16 and 35
  • 57% of participants were trained in rural areas
  • 98% of beneficiaries are black
  • 91% of participants earn under R20,833 a month

The programme uses a blend of face-to-face- and digital training. Encouragingly, 99% of all beneficiaries said they had learnt new skills for managing their money. After the sessions:

  • 96% said they would find out their credit score
  • 99% said they were interested in starting their own business
  • 92% felt confident they had a skill they could use to start a business
  • There was a 70% improvement in knowledge of tax-related matters, while prior to the programme just 4% of participants understood who was responsible for paying tax in the country
  • There was a 32% increase in understanding regarding the need to plan for the future
  • 37% more participants said they would budget in the future

People Are Eager to Learn

Vundla says, “It’s been a phenomenal year so far. We’ve reached 103% of our face-to-face target and over 90% of our digital target and we’re only six months into the year. There is such a hunger to learn. It’s an incredibly humbling position to be able to provide people with real tools to change their lives.

Avocado Vision Trainer, Lindile Mpepanduko, adds, “We worked with the Department of Correctional Services, for example, and what topped everything for me was knowing the participants are youth and that they have just been employed. These ambitious young people were so excited to learn about their finances. They confessed to me that they were clueless about money and that the training had come at a great time. By the end of the session, they all knew what they were going to do with their first pay cheques.”

Word of mouth about the programmes is also growing. This year, a small community stokvel whose members are all over 65 years of age asked to join. They wanted to be empowered to make better decisions with their stokvel money.

The Avo on the Money Facebook group – which is a platform for all beneficiaries to join post participating in the programme – is also steadily growing. It now has 1,016 members, 59% of whom are female, with 40% based in rural regions. This group continues to provide helpful financial education and support.

Vundla continues, “Last year, amidst the lockdowns, we had to radically rethink the programme to add a virtual component. This year, we’ve been running face-to-face sessions when we can, with complementary virtual training over WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. There have been some logistical challenges, but we’ve managed to overcome these and bring participants meaningful, practical content that’s designed to be easy to understand and to integrate into daily-life money management.”

Participants have been extremely pleased with the programme, with 95% saying they’d recommend it to family and friends. One beneficiary said, “I wish I had this training in my early years of employment because it was very insightful.” Another added, “I will definitely try out some of the methods you have shared with us to eliminate some of my debt.”

We’re Excited About the Future

Vundla concludes, “We are seeing first-hand how upskilling individuals in financial knowledge really does empower people to live with confidence. This doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey. And it’s one we are extremely passionate about walking alongside individuals across the continent. There’s so much potential here. We just need to give more people the confidence to believe that they’ve got what it takes to change their lives for the better.”

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