/ 1 December 2017

Southern Africa Trust

Photo courtesy moWoza
Photo courtesy moWoza

Investing in the Future and Drivers of Change Awards 2017

The Mail & Guardian in partnership with Southern Africa Trust hosted the Investing in the Future and Drivers of Change Awards 2017, with an emphasis on social impact, on December 1.

Due to tough economic conditions, Corporate Social Investment (CSI) no longer just provides some form of capital in support of a worthy cause, but has been taking the lead in the development of and implementation of interventions, even lending the company’s skills and employees to good causes. Investment has to create capacity to be sustainable — a well-planned and directed investment is an investment in future social capital.

This approach is evident in projects that follow South Africa’s needs for development: job creation programmes, involvement in enterprise, SMME and skills development, and of course support for education-related development.

The M&G Investing in the Future Awards publicises the often-unsung contributions made by businesses to the future of South Africa and its citizens.

Every year, we receive hundreds of entries from projects across the country; these are judged by an independent, respected panel of judges.

The Southern Africa Trust’s Drivers of Change Awards recognise individuals or organisations from across the Southern Africa region for making a real impact on the lives of people living in poverty, through innovation in the development and implementation of effective public policies and strategies to overcome poverty.

Some previous winners: moWoza does the running for traders

Drivers of Change Business Footprint Award Winner

Informal trading in the region is not easy — travelling over long distances and across borders to source goods is time-consuming, costly and often dangerous. Yet hundreds of thousands of people in Africa rely on the risks of an informal supply chain to eke out a living and feed their families.

MoWoza, a user-friendly mobile commerce service, has changed that. Enabling small traders to order and pay for their inventories using a simple app via mobile phone, moWoza has changed the lives of hard-working entrepreneurial street traders, many of whom are women.

Once ordered, the goods are delivered via a network of taxi drivers, making the long trips across the border into South Africa to source goods unnecessary.

The brainchild of Suzana Moreira, moWoza is based in Maputo, and operates in Mozambique and Malawi. The name moWoza derives from mo, the hip name for mobile, and the Zulu word woza, which means “come fast”. The thinking behind the concept is that the service does the running for its customers.

Moreira estimates the concept has impacted 1 500 entrepreneurs directly, with 72% of those being women. “Across Africa women are the drivers of enterprise, probably because they need to support their families,” says Moreira.

In 2016 moWoza launched Mabiz, which delivers capacity-building workshops in marketplaces, teaching essential business and related literacy skills to informal traders, and teaches them how to use the app. The sessions also promote social security registrations.

Mabiz works with the Maputo Municipality and the Institute for the Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises, a government entity that promotes and funds small, medium and micro enterprises.

More than 1 350 training sessions have been held in marketplaces since July 2016. Mabiz has also trained 19 business graduates to mentor traders on how to maintain accounting records.

Moreira says Mozambique has a very dynamic informal retail sector consisting predominantly of micro and small enterprises. For most of the informal retailers who participating in the Mabiz capacity building sessions, it is their first introduction to business concepts.

“Our main goal is to make the capacity-building sessions very interactive and engaging, so the retailers share the day’s lessons with their husbands, children and friends. We want to motivate these retailers to look at their business activities from a different perspective, to make them believe that they too have the potential to become formal, medium-sized enterprises,” says Moreira.

“From our perspective as the designers and implementers of the project, a surprising observation has been the amount of intergenerational learning we are seeing, with most participants sharing the lessons with their children, who in turn are assisting their mothers with the digital component of our lessons.”

Mowoza also has partnerships with Mozambique’s largest informal labour association AEIMO (Associação da Economia Informal de Moçambique); the largest commercial bank in Mozambique, BIC; and the University of Eduardo Mondlane entrepreneurship department.

Mowoza and Mabiz received donor financing for the pilot phases, but Moreira plans for Mabiz to run as a self-funded project within three years. — Linda Doke

A voice for migrant miners

Drivers of Change Civil Society Footprint Award Winner: SWAMMIWA

Migrant mineworkers are all too often forgotten about — the bottom of the long chain of those involved in unearthing precious minerals from African soil.

The Swaziland Migrant Mineworkers Association (SWAMMIWA) was formed in 1993 as a community endeavour to serve the interests of miners, ex-miners, their families and communities on issues of labour migration, post-employment rights, health and social protection. High on the list of those interests was ensuring that they received benefits, pensions and compensation for illness and injury, particularly tuberculosis, silicosis and HIV.

SWAMMIWA general secretary Vama Jele

SWAMMIWA general secretary Vama Jele maintains that calls for solidarity and efforts to raise awareness around the issues of former miners and their families need to be ongoing. Migrant miners who contract silicosis and tuberculosis from working in mines without safety equipment are often sent back to their country of origin with no support or medical care, and have no collective voice with which to stand up for their rights.

Since its founding, SWAMMIWA’s progress includes a draft bilateral agreement between South Africa and Swaziland drawn up in 2015. A Green Paper on International Migration was gazetted in June 2016 and includes proposed special work visas for SADC members in South Africa, as well as a programme to regulate migrant workers currently in the country.

The association provided input into the SADC Code of Conduct on Tuberculosis in the Mining Sector (2012 and 2015), which delegates responsibilities for TB, HIV, silicosis and other respiratory illnesses among miners, families and communities.

SWAMMIWA has also developed a policy for the portability of social security benefits and services.

Jele says to date 270 claims have been completed for occupational disease compensation for ex-miners and deceased miners in Swaziland, with more than R274-million paid out between 2013 and 2015.

The association has also facilitated pension payments of about £75 000 to Swaziland national miners who worked for Havelock asbestos mine. It has paid widows and dependents from R91-million left from litigation against Fidentia for misappropriating R1.1-billion held in the Living Hands Umbrella Trust for orphans of workers who had died while employed.

Income from litigation has also funded community projects for widows that include vegetable and dairy farming, making polish, rearing goats and indigenous chicken farming projects.

Jele says SWAMMIWA is regarded as the “shining light” of organisations that fight for benefits on behalf of those without a voice.

“We have been invited to address the SADC Parliamentary Forum on the issues of ex-miners, miners and their families. We have participated in many forums to demonstrate our initiatives and show how we drive partnerships from government, unions, CSOs [civil society organisations], [the] private sector and politicians.” — Linda Doke