Making Better Financial Decisions in South Africa
with Avocado Vision & the Sanlam Foundation

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Avocado Vision has joined forces with the Sanlam Foundation (the corporate social investment branch of the financial services group Sanlam) to empower communities and improve financial education around South Africa through a program called “Money fo’ Sho!”.

This free training program, offered in a variety of local languages, is an interactive and experiential session focusing on increasing business acumen and managing money, risk and credit.

Communities across South Africa are facing difficult personal finance-related challenges: high unemployment rates with low education or skill levels, increasing inflation rates, high levels of consumer debt, predatory lending, and more. The “Money fo’ Sho!” financial skills training helps people understand the basics of sound financial behavior, such as budgeting, saving, avoiding bad financial advice and debt, planning for the future and more.

The Sanlam financial skills project is in its’ third year and by the end of 2016 47,000 general workers and community members will have benefitted from the programme. Sanlam sponsors the training of roughly 16,000 participants per year. The project is running in eight provinces across South Africa, including areas characterized by high levels of poverty and low levels of education – two circumstances often associated with increased vulnerability to exploitation and high debt levels. More than 68% of the participants are women-often the most vulnerable sector of impoverished communities.

An initial independent evaluation of the project was undertaken by Manto Management in 2015 to determine the impact of the project. The following key findings were reported:

  • The project was well received by community members and rated by 71% of respondents as being relevant and making a difference in their lives
  • The unique model employed by the project has had a significant impact on the lives of trainers (95% of the trainers reported benefits and impact)
  • There is clear evidence of improvement in business acumen and financial knowledge among course participants based on pre- and post-test assessments and post-course interviews (conducted two months after completion of the program)

71% of community members said the project was making a difference in their lives"

Encouraged by the success of the pilot program, Avocado Vision and Sanlam are proceeding with the roll out of this initiative, tweaked based on learnings from the pilot. The program aims to reach an additional 16,000 consumers in eight provinces by the end of 2016.

Key to the success of this initiative is the Avocado Vision peer training model, in which (often unemployed) people who live in certain communities are recruited, up-skilled as trainers and rewarded to train others in their communities. Peer training makes a huge impact on the lives of these individuals. They now have a marketable facilitation skill, and can use this skill to work their way out of the poverty trap – thus impacting both the trainers’ and their families’ financial well-being. At the same time, the program that the trainers bring to their communities educates people who do not have access to life skills training in South Africa.

Learn more about Avocado Vision & BTS' Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives here.

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