Representatives and members of Mpendulo Savings, an NPO that is supported by Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm’s Socio Economic development programme, recently visited the Wind Farm. “Our visit to Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm has been an opportunity for our members to expand their horizons and get a glimpse of how they are connected to the global issue of renewable energy. One of the community members is from an all-youth savings group and we hope she has been inspired to see the renewable sector as a possible future career opportunity,” said Jill Thompson, Director and Founder of Mpendulo Savings.
Thompson added, “Though the wind farm is on our members’ doorstep, the visit is an opportunity that most people haven’t yet had the privilege to make; the visit makes the wind farm more accessible to the community as a whole”.
The NPO, which is committed to strengthening the economic resilience of vulnerable families and marginalised community members through savings groups in the Eastern Cape has been supported by the Wind Farm since 2014. “We put our weight behind this local organisation as they offer valuable financial empowerment programmes to their members, 85% of which are women.
The organisation launched in 2009, when a group of community members got together to address the impact of household poverty, which they believed was a major contributing factor to crime, children’s vulnerability and family instability. To-date, Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm has contributed over R810 970 to Mpendulo Savings. The donation forms part of their socio-economic development programme which impacts positively on the communities in Humansdorp, Hankey and Patensie areas.
The NPO has over 2000 members and has been successful in helping its’ members to gain economic independence, avoiding debt and providing access to small loans with which to start small businesses. The core business revolves around modernizing the traditional South African stokvel (rotating savings and credit association) as a way to enhance profitability of micro businesses whilst minimizing risk to the household; provide an opportunity to build savings; relieve pressure on the family when crises occur by creating a savings safety net; improve, maintain or diversify income flows; avoid irreversible coping strategies that destroy future income earning capacity; help members get out of debt and avoid informal money lenders; improve household budgets; enable vulnerable families to accumulate household assets and to build social capital within communities where there are weak bonds, thus creating a social safety net.