The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Community Engagement (CE) Unit, within the University Relations Division has embarked on a project to empower communities with financial literacy skills, with specific focus on saving schemes. The project, which is being implemented under the theme, Financial Literacy for Community Saving Schemes Project: Towards improved financial decision making, is being rolled out in partnership with the University’s Department of Finance and Investment Management (DFIM), Tyvision Media, and SABC Education.
The project forms part of continuous and sustainable Organised Outreach Projects implemented by the Community Engagement unit in collaboration with various internal and external stakeholders. It is hoped that through this, communities may have the necessary knowledge and skills to enable them to take sound financial decisions.
Phases of the Project: Awareness, Training, Application, and Behavioural Change
The project is targeted at community members who are members of saving schemes known as ‘Stokvels’, investment groups, and burial societies. It will be enrolled through four phases, namely, Awareness, Training, Application, and Behaviourial Change. The latter is the ultimate goal that leads to sound financial management.
The first workshop took place at the Soweto Campus (SWC) on Saturday, 20 May 2023. Mr. Thabiso Masudubele, Executive Producer for Tyvision Media, who directed the programme, said that participants will benefit from discussions with experienced speakers, and that they can continue to learn more about these workshops from the “Ke Zaka” Tv show which airs on SABC 2, on Wednesdays, 21h30 p.m.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Xitsakisi Fiona Mahlori, Senior Manager for Community Engagement, encouraged participants to feel free and engage with the experts as much as possible in order to gain valuable lessons and insights on financial savings.
Panel Discussions: Budgeting, Debt Management, Saving and Investing, and Financial Services Sector Regulation
The workshop continued with the discussions that were divided into three sessions: Budgeting and debt management, Saving and Investing, Planning for death, and Financial Services Sector Regulation.
The panelists facilitating these sessions were Ms. Sumaya Naidu, the Programme Manager for Financial Planning at the Department of Finance and Investment Management, Mr Anrich van Jaarsveld, a lecturer from the same department, and Ms Mary-Ann Ebigo also from the same department. Also in attendance was Dr. Musi Dowelani, Head of Department DFIM, who shared how DFIM is committed to making a difference in the community.
The participants had an opportunity to engage the guest speakers on areas of managing finances, the ability to budget, invest, manage credit and the importance of planning for a time when one is no longer with us (death). Mr Colin Stevens from Financial Services Sector Regulation (FSCA) facilitated the last session, and shared information on illegal and unauthorised activities by organisations and societies that are not regulated. He also provided suggestions and interventions that can protect one against organisations that run illegal financial services. This education is a drop in the ocean, nonetheless it is a good start,” he said, in his concluding remarks.