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Broad-Based Strategies for long-term poverty eradication

Beyond Business Plans, B-BBEE and Bafana – Broad-Based Strategies for long-term poverty eradication in South Africa


What does it mean to have a “Broad-Based Strategy”?

There is some confusion around the meaning of the term “broad-based”. If you Google “broad-based strategies” and you’ll find an article or two about business plans. They suggest that your business plan must encompass many aspects to be effective. You need a broad outlook to produce a successful business.  There’s even an article calling for a broad-based strategy to get our national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, on track. You’ll get many hits discussing Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE). Adding “South Africa” to the search brings up even more of these links.


South Africa Needs Broad-Based Strategies

African businessman working on laptop inside a car

At Umsizi when we talk about broad-based strategies, we have something more definite in mind. Our goal is to see as many people impacted as possible in our projects. They must be broad-based in this sense. We don’t want to uplift and empower just a few people, but many. This country cannot afford to only see a couple of dozen poor communities helped. We need to see poverty eradication on a national scale. Already our projects have had a wide-spread impact into tens of thousands of households.

This might begin on a small scale, but the plans have to have broad-based scope over the long term. Short-term solutions have to lead to long-term resolutions. Otherwise, it’s only putting a plaster over a life-threatening injury.

Our strategies are also broad-based in focus. Economics, issues of self-worth and social concerns are all intertwined. Our strategies look not just to deepen but widen their impact too. We want to impact various spheres positively. We also want to see the people of this country better within themselves, with skills. People who know they are valuable are more productive members of society.


Broad-based Livelihoods

Broad-based economic empowermentIt is no small task to uplift our poorest citizens on a mass scale. With this in view, we look to drive a community’s currency – its cash – back into itself. Rather than seeing funds that come in go back out again, we teach households to invest in themselves. We have already seen this achieved in thousands of households. Our horticulture and other business strategies are working. Currency beans to recirculate in economically-disadvantaged communities. This, in turn, uplifts entire neighbourhoods.


One Broad-based Strategy shows the merit of this approach

Our broad-based strategies’ aim is to achieve is long-term economic growth and social upliftment. Our My Food program aims to ensure that poor households can subsist in even the harshest economic climates. The initiative teaches people how to grow their own food. Often income leaves the community again with little to show for it at the end of the month. By teaching people to grow and tend their own crops their investment soon subsidises their income. If there is a lean month, the people are able to eat.

Those who learn to subsist on their own crops are also taught to market and sell excess produce. This is one way the broad-based aspect also comes into play. This is the progress for participants. At first, they stretch their income a little by growing healthy fruit and vegetables. Then they earn extra income. Friends and neighbours benefit by buying affordable nourishing food products. This is broad-based strategy in action.


Some of our other Broad-based strategies

Umsizi runs My Business training for those who have started any kind of enterprise. It is also open to those who want to start a business but don’t know how. This training aims to equip entrepreneurs with basic business skills. These include budgeting, managing time, tracking sales and expenses. This training results in profitability increasing and the businesses becoming sustainable. Via My Business, we also offer accredited Micro-MBA courses. South Africa needs more and better business people. There will be many positive long-term effects for the country.

My Future is a program which helps people to set goals to achieve their own vision for their life. The course runs over approximately four workshops in the participants’ own language. Attendees take time to learn about themselves. It then moves on to practical steps to achieve what they believe they can and desire to accomplish.


It’s a long road, but these broad-based strategies will uplift the poor

With these and other initiatives, we are seeing tremendous positive results. The poor are being equipped to feed themselves. They are also learning to take practical steps to run profitable businesses. Communities benefit when money is invested back into the neighbourhoods. These are some of the positive results of effective broad-based strategies.


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