The MTN Foundation, in partnership with Trialogue, launched the MTN Awards for Social Change in 2019, to encourage and reward good monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practice in the non-profit sector. A total of R1 million prize money was awarded to winning non-profit organisations (NPOs) in each of the three categories, as well as a fourth bonus award winner.
Ubunye Foundation Trust was the winner in the Bonus category (R100 000 prize)
Established as a rural development trust, Ubunye aims to address chronic economic poverty and marginalisation through an asset-based community development approach and has an annual turnover of R4.6 million. The Savings and Livelihoods Programme is a self-sustainable, community-led and owned financial savings and enterprise initiative started by the Trust in 2013. In 2018 a total of R1.5 million was spent on the programme.
Ubunye worked in partnership with SaveAct, an NPO that specialises in the formation of savings and credit groups in rural communities. Currently, SaveAct has over 80 000 members in five provinces, and a savings and credit model that incorporates financial education and enterprise development training. In 2013 Ubunye joined SaveAct in a joint five-year programme and, through this, contributed to a national savings and livelihoods M&E system which is still in effect.
Ubunye conducts two community engagement sessions, three financial health checks and six training sessions for savings group members, annually. The programme also includes training and monthly mentoring sessions. Seven savings events are hosted annually to evaluate the programme.
In 2018, 38 new savings groups with 720 members were formed and 30 groups successfully completed the programme, with the remaining eight completing their training in 2019. Twenty-six groups with 520 members moved onto the livelihoods module of the programme. Members reported increased savings, improved business and financial management skills, social capital and business competence and confidence.
Members have moved away from soliciting money from loan sharks to healthier ways of accessing loans, which has ultimately saved them money. The wider communities have come together to share saving experiences
“This organisation has done very well to work with the community to shape its programme and ensure the relevance and appropriateness of design. The pathways to change for both programmes are clear, with well-articulated outputs, outcomes and objectives. The programme demonstrates an alternative way of collecting M&E data to show accountability and learning which complements their style of programme delivery, and the findings are clearly communicated to internal and external stakeholders, and to inform programme change.”