We have established 5 self-help groups in Mashakeni.
At our AGM in October 2015, Thulisile Mtolo made a special presentation on the Self Help Group program.
Click the link to see a short video on this successful new program: https://youtu.be/1zFM6n74KD8
Within a short 2 month period of running 5 Self-Help-Groups (SHG), one hundred vulnerable women are saving R2 each per week. Each group writes its own Constitution and then meets weekly to save money and organise loans from the savings. The members are encouraged to make these loans for small business enterprise and urgent domestic needs. They then repay the loans with an interest rate agreed by the group. The groups will eventually become self-sustaining, as they learn to manage and direct themselves. They have already reached a grand total of R2672, from savings, fines and interest.
At the Masithandane SHG we found 19 women sitting on grass mats on an earthen floor in a rondavel, belonging to one member. Each week the group rotates homes and responsibilities. There is no committee, only 3 bookkeepers and minute takers. There is a quiet, almost reverent air, after the opening song and prayer. The woman hosting the group today formally opens the meeting, welcoming everyone, and introducing the procedure, which starts with each member making their weekly R2 contribution. Two women pay a R1 fine each after missing last week’s meeting. Loans are paid back with the added 10% interest. The 20th woman arrives late and pays a R1 fine for her tardiness. All the monies are placed in 2 saucers in the middle of the room clearly visible to the entire group. The bookkeepers update the large group books and also the smaller individual members’ books, as the meeting progresses. They count the takings and announce the figure available to be loaned out today. 9 women raise their hands to borrow monies. Their requests range from needing money to go to the clinic, to buy a school jersey for a grandchild, to wanting to sell chips in the community. But the total amount requested exceeds the monies available. The Woza Moya SHG Facilitator asks two women to reduce their amounts and they agree. Problem solved. Loans are issued again in full view of everyone and books are updated.
Alongside the savings, this is also a forum for mutual support amongst its members. The group learn new skills, such as book-keeping, chairing meetings and elementary business skills.
Today the Woza Moya SHG Facilitator is visiting this SHG to do a module on Communication. After her initial input, they play a game, broken down telephones, which is hilarious, as 3 elderly women are deaf. After much confusion and laughter, one woman eventually walks to the end of the line and tells them the message!
The groups are going very well and we are now fast approaching the time when they will do their own evaluation.
When the groups are firmly established and secure, there is the plan to move to cluster group associations, which will be collections of self-help groups joining together to service their community.