The average household size for women who are a member of a Self-help Group (SHG) in South Africa is 6-7 people. Some households have more than ten members and are multi-generational with grandmother, mother and children living together. In many cases, there are only 2-3 rooms in their home when they initially join an SHG, which are used for living and sleeping and cooking.
However, more and more SHG members are taking a loan to build an extra room in their home or to renovate their home (roof or window repairs or strengthening walls). Some SHGs really focus on this and members agree to pay a second amount besides their weekly SHG saving of R2.00 ($0.20) – from as much as R20 ($2) up to R100 ($10) can be saved each month by every SHG member towards home loans. Each month one or two members will receive a larger amount of R500 ($50) or even R1,000 ($100); and this continues month after month until all members have received a home loan to build or renovate as they wish. Often SHG members assist that person to physically build or renovate her home.
In some communities, people are now talking and are excited about “SHG houses”, built by SHG members; these women are no longer waiting for years to receive an “RDP house” from the government, but are being active in using SHG loans to build and extend in whatever ways that they like.
Gcinisephi from Inhlanzeko SHG, in KwaZulu-Natal province, receives two child support grants (R290/$29 each per month) and she is staying with her husband who is unemployed. She loaned R300 from her group in early 2013 to meet travel costs in order to find work at a neighbouring farm cutting grass for extra income for her household and to be able to make her loan repayments. Gcinicephi also had a dream of building a rondavel and so in March 2013 she requested a loan of R500 from her group which she used to pay someone for thatching and to purchase wood. She then built the house herself with the help of her SHG members. Her husband told her that he was so proud of her. After completing the room she was so happy and said that now she will be able to be visited by her relatives. She has previously loaned from her group for school uniforms for her children, food, transport and health costs. She says she has learnt that she can do things for herself.
Masibiya Mthimkhulu, a member of Sakhisizwe SHG, in KwaZulu-Natal province, is a widow who stayed with seven adult family members and five children in a four-roomed house. She desperately wanted to build a house for her family as the one she stayed in was not only small for the number of people living with her but was also full of cracks as it was old. She started loaning money from the group to buy cement and sand to make bricks. Once she had enough bricks for building, she then loaned for more building material and someone to build for her. Today she is the proud owner of a new two-room house, which also has a bath-room, next to her old house. Her daughter expressed how frustrating it was with everyone packed in the other old house saying, “Now we have a new house and a bigger space as we still use the old house too”.
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 donation in 2013 before year-end in order to help Sinamandla assist thousands of vulnerable women in poor communities to become an SHG member. 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 our website link.
The Self-help Group (SHG) Project encourages women to save weekly and loan monthly from their group fund, especially to assist them to start or expand their own small business or income-generating activities. Thousands ofwomen across five provinces in South Africa are engaged in these activities every month in 2013.
Dozens of SHGs also have their own group income-generating activities; and even some SHG Clusters, called a Cluster level Association (CLA), also initiate and manage larger income-generating activities on behalf of and with many SHGs. Masime CLA, formed by Angus Gillis Foundation (AGF), a Sinamandla partner based in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, launched their egg-laying project about nine months ago. This initiative is made up of 10 SHGs, representing over 150 women - most of the groups have their own group income-generating projects such as a bakery, broiler chicken projects, soap-making and small scale buying and selling, as well as community development initiatives including two ‘Safe Parks’ or non-formal childcare centres.
The aim of the Masime CLA egg-laying project is to support their member SHGs and to provide a source of larger loans for establishing and expanding SHG small businesses. This CLA has secured a weekly order of 150 eggs from the local secondary school and hundreds of their eggs are selling well locally. In recognition of what the CLA had alreadyachieved, AGF was able to secure funding to contribute towards the costs of training, basic cage materials, feed and the first 100 hens. After 4 months, over R8 000 profit had been made through the project.
In 2013, Sinamandla is working with 11 partnes in 5 provinces within South Africa. Sinamandla is positively impacting almost 7,000 rural women in 450 SHGs and over 40,000 household members are benefitting by having their mother or grandmother as an SHG member. During 2012, partners worked with SHGs who had made over 35,000 loans to their members worth around R6 million.
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 another donation in 2013 in order to help Sinamandla assist thousands of vulnerable women in poor communities. Please do think of any family member or friend who would be interested in the work of Sinamandla through its Self-help Groups and do forward them our website link.
Sinamandla, and it’s implementing Self-help Group (SHG) partners, have been trying to work with government departments locally, provincially and nationally over the past decade to show them the effectiveness of the SHG approach to alleviate poverty, especially in rural areas. The Department of Social Development have shown interest at national and provincial levels. However, in 2012, there was great interest and exciting developments in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) from the Office of the Premier after the wife of the Premier visited several SHGs in Swayimani, formed by Zimele, a Sinamandla partner based in Pietermaritzburg.
On 12 December 2012, ten women from the SHG Clusters of the Zimele Programme attended the KZN provincial parliament, by the invitation of the KZN Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize. The women and Zimele staff were invited for the official announcement of a partnership between the Office of the Premier and Zimele - to expand their SHG Programme to all the eleven Districts of KZN during 2013-14.
This was a huge experience of honour for the rural women and for Zimele. It increased hope and confidence in the women as individuals and their collective efforts to bring change for themselves and their communities. The women who attended parliament say they now feel recognised, more confident and highly motivated to continue their work to confront obstacles in the struggle for better lives for themselves and their families and communities. Zimele and Sinamandla are very excited with this new partnership with the Office of the Premier and look forward to it unfolding.
Many of the communities where SHGs exist have high rates of HIV and AIDS. During 2011 and 2012, thousands of SHG members received training on HIV and AIDS as they had expressed a desire to learn more so as to be better able to respond to the impact of HIV and AIDS. As a result, not only are the women more knowledgeable about the disease but they now talk openly about how to take care of their lives, their partners and children. Some SHGs and Clusters of groups have also started home-based care and vulnerable children projects.
Sinothando Cluster, formed in June 2008 by Zimele in Swayimani in KZN, with 6 SHGs as members, started its home-based care initiative because of the numbers of bedridden HIV positive community members that needed care and support. The project takes care of 10 patients at a time, most of whom are breadwinners in their families. The women provide these patients with a sense of hope through their counseling skills. Now due to the women’s care the risk of infection can be reduced and the lives of some household breadwinners prolonged.
Sizanani CLA, formed in September 2010 by Zimele in Swayimani in KZN, with 8 SHGs as members, initiated a life skills project to help reduce the high levels of teenage pregnancy in their community. The women believe they can achieve this by engaging with children in life-skills trainings and activities relating to the children’s area of interest and talents. The women made home visits to educate mothers/caregivers in vulnerable households on issues of children and HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy.
Hlanganani Cluster, formed in July 2010 by USIZO in KZN, with 7 SHGs as members, received HIV training for some of its SHG members which motivated them to go for voluntary testing. Most members went to the clinic and found out their HIV status. This Cluster also made a huge impact on their communities by running HIV awareness and prevention campaigns and informing the other members of their SHGs about HIV. One SHG member explained: ‘We were living as strangers with our neighbors, with not much care for one another and the scourge of illness and AIDS-related deaths in the community exacerbated this isolation. My group assisted in bringing us together, which also gave strength to discussions and initiatives that are helping to address HIV/AIDS in our community.”
Many thanks to all our donors over the past year, we appreciate your support. Sinamandla continues to work towards reaching its fundraising targets on GlobalGiving so please would you consider making another donation in 2012 or into early 2013 in order to help Sinamandla assist thousands of vulnerable women in poor communities? Please do think of any family member or friend who would be interested in the work of Sinamandla through its Self-help Groups and do forward them our website link.
One of the main priorities of the Self-help Group (SHG) Programme is to improve the quantity and quality of food within a household – this means increasing the number of meals eaten each day or the size of the portions or the variety of vegetables and fruit available for children and adults in the homes of SHG members.
SHG members are encouraged to start their own small backyard garden at home in order to have fresh vegetables throughout the year for household consumption; while some women and groups grow vegetables to sell within their community as an income-generating activity.
Zimele, a Sinamandla partner operating in Swayimane in KZN, has assisted over 150 women in SHGs in 2012 who are farmers, with a variety of training courses and marketing. Recently a group of these women participated ina "Fruit and Vegetable Drying Course" where they learnt to dry carrots, pumpkin, beans and other vegetables, and also learnt how to make fruit juices. The women were excited about the new marketing possibilities that thiswill open up for them; traditionally vegetable and fruit drying is not practiced in South Africa, but it could potentially contribute to improving food security of vulnerable households in winter.
Many thanks to all our donors this year, we appreciate your support. Please consider making a further donation in the coming months in order to help Sinamandla assist more than 2000 vulnerable women in poor communities. Please do think of any family member or friend who would be interested in the work of Sinamandla through its Self-help Groups and do forward them our website link.
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