Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL): Past, Present and Post-Lockdown


Umsizi was founded on a vision, and the determination to bridge the gap between those at the bottom of the economic pyramid with little hope of getting anywhere in life, and those that are climbing their way towards the top, one determined step at a time. We at Umsizi felt that it is possible to bridge the gap of inequality in South Africa using the simple principle that knowledge and determination is all you need for success. This was the humble beginning of the long road to what has become the jewel in our crown: our Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) programme. The road has been challenging, and at times, arduous, but always exciting and hopeful as we have seen the results: empowered residents and communities. In the midst of poverty and despair, success stories from those who have been upskilled to start with what they have, putting it to work and reaping the rewards.

So, in simple terms, what does BBL stand for?

  • Broad – Widely accessible to anyone, from any background and ability
  • Based – Founded on the need to alleviate hunger on a mass scale
  • Livelihoods – Self-sustaining, life affirming, income generating

Through our Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) programme, we have seen thousands of households able to subsist and enter the economy. Our horticultural and business strategies aim to drive recirculation of currency in indigent communities, uplifting whole neighbourhoods.


Broad-Based Livelihoods, Flower growing out of dry groundWhen Umsizi set out to find a way to alleviate hunger and poverty on a mass scale, we never dreamed that we would see the devastating effect of a pandemic in our lifetimes. Despite the crippling effect, especially in the early days of lockdown, Umsizi went into rescue and empower mode by:

  • Setting up mass beneficiary WhatsApp groups
  • Remotely mentoring and encouraging beneficiaries via the groups and one-on-one phone calls
  • Giving relevant timely advice on winter food production
  • Delivery of seedlings for winter sowing
  • Facilitating the use of the WhatsApp platform to the point where the participant groups are actively coaching one another


How is the BBL programme relevant in post COVID-19 era, and can it help lift the poorest out of economic devastation?

Now more than ever, an all-encompassing programme is needed to start beneficiaries on the road to recovery when most don’t realise that what is sown now during the most difficult of times, will help pull you out of destitution.

We have already seen the effectiveness of the BBL during lockdown. Beneficiaries are already reaping the rewards, and are not only able to sustain themselves, but also make money on the side by selling to their produce to neighbours. Umsizi’s vision is being realised now more than ever. There is nothing more powerful than seeing someone pull themselves out of abject poverty armed only with the knowledge that the BBL programme provides, and determination – and Umsizi has countless stories and testimonies that demonstrate the outstanding effectiveness of our Broad-Based Livelihood programme.

See the video below and more success stories from the BBL on our YouTube channel:

Case Study: The DRDGOLD BBL Programme

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