Since 2013, Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm has contributed to the Mpendulo Savings Scheme to be spent primarily on financial education and enterprise development training. The funds will also provide the opportunity to further develop staff skills as well as coaching and mentoring.
This unique project was launched in 2009 when a group of female community members got together to address the impact of Mashonisa loans and account debt which consumed their disposable income and increased the cycle of poverty which they believed was a major contributing factor to crime, children’s vulnerability and family instability. The focus of the project is on strengthening the economic resilience of vulnerable families and marginalised community members through savings groups. The initiative has increased the numbers of micro-businesses in the Cacadu Municipal district, has improved household budgeting and debt management and helped improve community social capital.
The Scheme’s Director and Founder Jill Thompson oversees all aspects of the project, which five years down the line has over 1700 members, 85% of whom are women. This initiative has been successful in helping its’ members gain economic independence, avoiding debt and providing access to small loans with which to pay off debt at marginal interest rates and eventually look at income generating activities. The Wind Farm is hoping that some of these savings groups can be developed into enterprise development beneficiaries over time.