Self-help Groups for 2000 poor women in S. Africa

 
$8,528
$1,472
Raised
Remaining
Jul 22, 2014

An SHG member achieves her dream to become a nurse

Mamoketi of Itsuseng SHG is now a nurse
Mamoketi of Itsuseng SHG is now a nurse

By mid-June 2014, over 14 000 women were meeting weekly in around 950 Self-help Groups (SHG) in South Africa. The women range in age from their early twenties up to their seventies and eighties in some cases. Often young women in SHGs have dreams to improve their education and even study at tertiary level; many times they never get such an opportunity, mainly due to the high cost of tertiary studies. However, the Sinamandla staff were encouraged recently to meet one SHG member who had fulfilled her dream to study and become a nurse – and it was her SHG who helped her to achieve her dream.

Mamoketi, 27 years, is a member of Itsuseng SHG in Masakane, Mpumalanga, formed in 2009 by Ebenezer, a Sinamandla partner. She lives with her mother, father who is a pensioner, and her nephew. No-one is working in her home. Mamoketi passed her matric well but when she finished school her parents had no money for her to study at tertiary level. Eventually she joined her SHG in 2009.

In 2010 she found herself still without a job and her dreams of doing tertiary studies were not realised. So in 2011 Mamoketi approached her group members and asked them to loan her R15,000 so she could pay the deposit for a pre-nursing auxiliary course. Although her request was highly unusual, the group agreed to give her this huge loan, which she could repay over three years, and she enrolled to be trained as a nursing auxiliary in Johannesburg from 2011 – 2013.

 With the little money she generated herself, she managed to make monthly repayments of R500 per month to her group and her family relatives helped her to come up with the balance of R10,000 to pay towards her school fees.

 Mamoketi, above in her nursing uniform, says that in September 2014 she will be graduating and is looking forward to continuing further with her nursing studies in 2015. “My group has respect for me and we all get along so well, they are very proud that our SHG has produced a nurse; even other young members of my SHG have started thinking they also can pursue their studies. We are so thankful for the R2.00s that started us off.”

 Many thanks for your interest and support. Sinamandla continues to work towards reaching its fundraising targets on GlobalGiving so please consider making a new donation in 2014 in order to help Sinamandla promote the SHG project in South Africa and welcome in more vulnerable women in poor communities to new SHGs in the months ahead.

 Sinamandla sends out a monthly E-newsletter which you can subscribe to via our website and read more stories of SHG women. Please also do like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sinamandlaselfhelpgroup


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Apr 8, 2014

SHG members sell potatoes to a local supermarket

SHG members receive training on planting seedlings
SHG members receive training on planting seedlings

Zimele Developing Community Self-reliance is a partner of Sinamandla, based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Zimele has formed 414 SHGs with 5 500 members. There are hundreds of SHG members who are active farmers in Zimele’s Agriculture programme. Zimele provides relevant training and support to the women farmers every month.               

In September 2013, many SHG farmers in Swayimane community purchased quality disease-free seed potatoes which were planted and grew well. Two group members took the initiative to negotiate with a local Spar supermarket for the purchase of their potatoes at the end of January 2014; the Spar supermarket owners readily agreed after viewing a sample of the bagged potatoes. SHG members learnt from Zimele how to wash the potatoes by hand and prepare them for packing. They then packed the potatoes in 10kg bags to be sold at Spar.

In January, Masikhule SHG sold 50 bags (half of their harvest) to Spar at R35 ($3.50) a bag; the other half of the crop was sold locally and used by themselves in their households. They planted 75kg of seed and harvested 1000kg of potatoes, resulting in a significant profit. They encouraged other SHGs from all over Swayimane to also sell their potatoes to Spar supermarket and many did so recently. As a result, Spar supermarket has indicated that they would be interested in purchasing vegetables from these SHGs in future.

Masikhule member harvesting her potatoes for sale
Masikhule member harvesting her potatoes for sale
Apr 21, 2014

On Our Own

An SHG in Action
An SHG in Action

This report is written by Chi Nguyen, our In-the-Field Traveler for Southern Africa. Chi will be traveling throughout the nine countries of Southern Africa for six months during the first half of 2014, visiting and assisting our current non-profit organization partners.

Fourteen women in knee-length skirts, white shirts, and blue throwovers gathered together in a rondavel in a homestead three hours outside of Durban, in rural South Africa. They pass a dish around the half-circle they have formed, each of them adding 2 Rand (the equivalent of $0.19 in US currency) to the pot and passing the dish on. Once they have all contributed their dues, they proceed with the meeting, going through the agenda and marking in their personal notebooks as well as the group notebook of Minutes. They discuss and document who has loaned what amount, who has repaid their loans, and who has yet to repay their loans. They go over what each individual has accomplished as well as what progress has been made in current projects. It is a very clear and patterned yet empowering process and model.

Every week, each woman in an SHG contributes a certain amount (the starting rate usually being R2.00), thereby creating a pot of money that any woman in the group can loan from. The interest rate on a loan is 10%, so the pot is always growing. Through this, they are able to fund their small businesses, family needs (food, emergencies, burials), home repairs, and more. This model teaches them how to manage money and how to invest. It uses community pressure for accountability, and builds a community between the 15-20 women in the group. Some SHGs have taken the concept of building a strong community to heart, even going insofar as building a rule into their group, stating that if one woman in the group were to have a family member pass away, each fellow SHG member would contribute a certain amount (e.g. 50 Rand) as well as personal services to support their fellow SHG member through her family's difficult time. In addition to providing the women with a place to turn to should they ever need reprieve from or support through from family troubles of any sort (a death in the family, a sick child, or domestic abuse), they've been highly successful in a number of things, including the notable triumph of lobbying the government to build a bridge over a dangerous river that has led to several accidents in the community in the past. 

This river had a history of burdening the entire community of kwaMaphumulo. Many community members crossed this river on a daily basis - women and men to go to work, children to attend school. It flooded for weeks at a time every year, causing children who attempted to cross the river to lose their schoolbooks and women and men to lose their wallets and personal items. In some severe cases, the powerful current of the flooding river had even succeeded in washing out individuals themselves. The women of SHG groups in the area finally decided that enough was enough, and they had to do something about it. They all banded together and with their numbers and persistence, lobbied the government to build a bridge over a river, thereby conquering the obstacles they encountered every year due to the flooding of the river. Today, the kwaMaphumulo bridge stands as a proud example of the possibilties and opportunities behind the SHG model.

Sinamandla's self-sustainable model is truly remarkable, and it was an absolute privilege to be able to witness it firsthand, to see the before and after effects of a loan made from an SHG. We were able to witness the success of two women in building their own houses, thereby improving the lives of their family and their living standards. This is a common occurence in successful SHGs - countless women of SHGs have been able to build their own houses, provide care for vulnerable children, start water projects to benefit the entire community, intiate their own businesses, and accomplish a variety of things that they had never before thought possible. Today, Sinamandla now has almost 13,000 households involved in SHGs, empowering women to take the needs of the community into their own hands with every passing day.

There cannot be enough good things said about the Self-Help Group model, a model that discourages reliance on external forces and encourages self-reliance from Day One. Sinamandla's mission is to place the power in the members of the community, reducing stress through the creation of a supportive community and boosting self-confidence through a sense of ownership... And as I looked at the faces of every woman in the room, I knew this to be true. As Phil said, "The message that it (Sinamandla) sends out to the community is, 'We can do it ourselves.'"

Feb 25, 2014

SHGs enable access to clean drinking water

Mam
Mam' Dladla paid for her own water tap

Thousands of Self-help Group (SHG) members do not have access to clean drinking water in their home before they join their group. Many use a community tap or fetch water from a nearby river. However, once they are a group member, dozens have taken a group loan to enable them to pay to have a water tap put on their property or have bought a water tank. Mam’ Dlaldla and Mam’ Hlophe share their experiences.

Mam’ Dladla, a pensioner, is a member of Masibambisane SHG in Rookdale, outside Bergville, formed by USIZO, a Sinamandla partner in KwaZulu-Natal. She is 80 years old and she cannot stop sharing about how being a member of her group has made a positive impact in her life. One of the major benefits she relates is the comfort and freedom of knowing that she has a source where she can access loans for her urgent needs.

She says: “I am an elderly person living on my own as my children have their own families. This means that even some of the basic household chores are too much for my frail body. One of the tasks I could not perform was fetching water from the communal tap since I did not have a tap in my yard. Therefore, I would always rely on some young men in the community to push a wheelbarrow to fetch water for me. This was at a cost as I had to pay R5 per each 20 litre of water delivered.  

I then decided that the solution to my water challenge would be to have a tap in my yard. This is where my ‘SHG bank’ came in; I took a loan of R1,000 from my group and added R550 from my pension. Through that loan I was able to pay someone to put this tap in my yard. I then repaid my loan to my group. This is such a relief as I can now access clean water myself at any time instead of relying on other people to fetch it for me; and I save as I now longer pay someone. I am really grateful to this programme”

 Mam’ Hlophe of Nkululeko SHG also formed by USIZO in Maswazini Village near Bergville decided to take out a loan from her SHG and purchased a Jojo water tank so that her household could harvest water during the rainy seasons. She says she is grateful to be a member of her SHG which has afforded her the opportunity to bring such a necessity to her home, where she is now in a position to provide clean drinking water that will improve the quality of life for her seven family members.

In 2013 Sinamandla worked in partnership with 12 NGOs who are implementing the SHG Programme in rural local communities in 5 provinces in South Africa. In total, 12 626 SHG members participated in 844 SHGs. By the end of 2013, these SHGs had accrued own income of around R3,2 million from which 59 148 loans amounting to around R12,5 million had been given out to SHG members. Over 80 000 household members are benefitting from having an SHG member in their family.

Many thanks to all our donors, we appreciate your support. Sinamandla continues to work towards reaching its fundraising targets on GlobalGiving so please consider making a new donation in 2014 in order to help Sinamandla promote the SHG project and welcome in thousands more vulnerable women in poor communities to new SHGS in the months ahead.

Please do think of any family member or friends who would be interested in the work of Sinamandla through its Self-help Groups and do forward them this newsletter or our website link. Please also like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sinamandlaselfhelpgroup

Mam
Mam' Hlophe purchased a water tank for her home
Dec 2, 2013

Forming Self-help Groups (SHGS) & growing veggies!

SHG members sell fuit and veggies at a Market Day
SHG members sell fuit and veggies at a Market Day

“It’s raining, it’s pouring, the crops are all growing”... This is what many of the SHG members of Zimele, who have food gardens, were singing in recent months. Zimele is Sinamandla’s largest SHG partner, based in KwaZulu-Natal province, and they received significant funding to expand their SHG project to all districts within the province over the next two years – already they have over 350 SHGs and more than 4 000 women in their groups.

 The women involved in Zimele’s Agricultural Programme have planted a variety of crops this year that are growing well, thanks to good rains. Most women grow fruits and vegetables for home consumption while many also grow them to sell locally. Many bought quality seed potatoes at the Farmers Day held in Swayimane in June. For those women who planted early there should be a good harvest at a premium price in December. Other vegetable seedlings were purchased too and these will also be ready to harvest soon.

 “It is a beautiful sight to see new growth everywhere,” says Hannes Mentz, Zimele’s Agricultural Programme co-ordinator. “In October the Zimele SHG farmers received training in the growing of seed potatoes. Three nurseries were established, each with seven varieties of potatoes, and the farmers will be able to purchase vines from these nurseries. We also have begun the promotion of butternut seedlings. Each farmer received a number of these seedlings to try out and we will be holding a competition for the farmer with the best yield.” Twelve of the SHG farmers recently entered a nationwide competition to grow giant pumpkins.

Forty Zimele farmers will soon have the opportunity to attend a week-long agricultural training course, mainly focusing on increasing soil fertility. Six of the Zimele Farmer Support Groups have each adopted a local crèche and will assist each crèche to create their own food gardens to feed their children from. The children will also be involved in caring for the food gardens.

Many thanks to all our donors, we appreciate your support that enables Sinamandla to support Zimele and another 11 organisations with SHG projects during 2013. Sinamandla continues to work towards reaching its fundraising targets on GlobalGiving so please consider making another donation in 2013 before year-end in order to help Sinamandla promote the SHG project and welcome in thousands more vulnerable women in poor communities to new SHGS in the months ahead.

Please do think of any family member or friends who would be interested in the work of Sinamandla through its Self-help Groups and do forward them this newsletter or our website link.

“It’s raining, it’s pouring, the crops are all growing”... This is what many of the SHG members of Zimele, who have food gardens, were singing in recent months. Zimele is Sinamandla’s largest SHG partner, based in KwaZulu-Natal province, and they received significant funding to expand their SHG project to all districts within the province over the next two years – already they have over 350 SHGs and more than 4 000 women in their groups.

 

The women involved in Zimele’s Agricultural Programme have planted a variety of crops this year that are growing well, thanks to good rains. Most women grow fruits and vegetables for home consumption while many also grow them to sell locally. Many bought quality seed potatoes at the Farmers Day held in Swayimane in June. For those women who planted early there should be a good harvest at a premium price in December. Other vegetable seedlings were purchased too and these will also be ready to harvest soon.

 

“It is a beautiful sight to see new growth everywhere,” says Hannes Mentz, Zimele’s Agricultural Programme co-ordinator. “In October the Zimele SHG farmers received training in the growing of seed potatoes. Three nurseries were established, each with seven varieties of potatoes, and the farmers will be able to purchase vines from these nurseries. We also have begun the promotion of butternut seedlings. Each farmer received a number of these seedlings to try out and we will be holding a competition for the farmer with the best yield.” Twelve of the SHG farmers recently entered a nationwide competition to grow giant pumpkins.

 

Forty Zimele farmers will soon have the opportunity to attend a week-long agricultural training course, mainly focusing on increasing soil fertility. Six of the Zimele Farmer Support Groups have each adopted a local crèche and will assist each crèche to create their own food gardens to feed their children from. The children will also be involved in caring for the food gardens.

 

Many thanks to all our donors, we appreciate your support that enables Sinamandla to support Zimele and another 11 organisations with SHG projects during 2013. Sinamandla continues to work towards reaching its fundraising targets on GlobalGiving so please consider making another donation in 2013 before year-end in order to help Sinamandla promote the SHG project and welcome in thousands more vulnerable women in poor communities to new SHGS in the months ahead.

 

Please do think of any family member or friends who would be interested in the work of Sinamandla through its Self-help Groups and do forward them this newsletter or our website link.

SHG members receive training on planting seedlings
SHG members receive training on planting seedlings

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Organization

Sinamandla

Pietermaritzburg, KZN, South Africa
http://www.sinamandla.org.za

Project Leader

Philip Donnell

Pietermaritzburg, KZN South Africa

Where is this project located?

Map of Self-help Groups for 2000 poor women in S. Africa