ASISA Foundation Newsletter April 2021

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First virtual AGM a huge success

On 25 February the Foundation hosted its first virtual annual general meeting, which was very successful and well attended. It drew a national audience from seven provinces with a large proportion being programme beneficiaries. This was made possible through the virtual platform. The audience was engaged, sending questions, comments and compliments on the Q & A and chat buttons. 

The AGM included feedback from monitoring and evaluation partners and testimonials from programme participants, with ASISA Foundation CFO Lee Coller providing feedback on last year's financial highlights. More details on the Foundation's performance last year will be discussed in the upcoming Overview 2020 publication.

Foundation participates in Money Smart Week South Africa (MSWSA) 2021

MSWSA is a national consumer financial education campaign that provides an opportunity for organisations and individuals to showcase their financial education programmes across South Africa during the week of 22 to 28 March 2021.

This year the programme included a digital platform where events – from online panel discussions, webinars and presentations – were live-streamed.

The ASISA Foundation participated in MSWSA 2021 with four 15-minute conversations on topics themed around the financial behaviours consumers, households and SMMEs should practice to increase their financial resilience, especially during times of crisis. The conversations were guided by facilitators of the Foundation's various financial education programmes, and are still available for viewing on the MSWSA website.

The topics, focussing specifically on times of crisis, were:

Power hour

The ASISA Foundation partnered with the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa to conduct a panel discussion during one of the MSWSA's Power Hour sessions on "What to do when life happens" that included discussions on financial planning and savings and investment. Representatives from Allan Gray, Old Mutual Personal Finance, and ASISA represented the Foundation on the panel.

Global Money Smart Week

MSWSA took place at the same time as the Global Money Smart Week and it was interesting to note the common themes and challenges faced by countries across the world as they engage in financial education initiatives at this time. These included the need to highlight the role financial literacy plays in enhancing one's financial well-being, which effectively contributes to one's overall well-being; as well as making people aware of appropriate financial products and financial risks and scams.


BUILD UP for artists is a financial literacy programme which seeks to provide relevant financial education and business development skills to artists.

Webinar series aimed at artists hits the mark

In the last quarter of 2020, BUILD UP, in collaboration with the STAND (Sustaining Theatre and Dance) Foundation, launched a pilot programme called BUILD UP for Artists, with a series of four webinars targeted at performing artists. The Foundation developed a hybrid programme which incorporated both personal financial literacy topics, as well as entrepreneurial topics relevant to performing artists. 

The webinars featured presenters such as an entertainment lawyer who shared information on intellectual property and the different business legal structures available for artists, while a financial planner spoke about the tax implications and financial management for people earning an irregular income. Gregory Maqoma, a world-renowned South African professional dancer, and chairman of the STAND Foundation board, featured on the webinar and shared how being in control of his own finances and financial planning has helped him to grow and succeed as an artist.

Knowledge and content reinforcement was further entrenched through discussions on the participant WhatsApp group, and a closed Facebook group.  The ASISA Foundation website was used as an educational tool to host the webinar content and podcasts and further tools and tips related to the webinar content presented. There was positive and growing engagement with all the channels. 

Programme to be continued

Feedback from the independent monitoring and evaluation report confirmed the relevance and efficacy of the programme for artists, its content and delivery channels. Most significantly, participants reported positive knowledge transfer as well as attitude and behaviour changes. In discussions held with them two months after the webinars, two thirds (67%) of the participants reported that they now prepared personal income and expenditure budgets, separate budgets for their businesses and that they had developed their own "business value proposition". Less than 20% had been doing this at the time of the webinars. 

The ASISA Foundation is excited about these reported outcomes and recommendations that this programme format is viable and should be continued for further BUILD UP Initiatives. 

For more information on this programme, click here.


L+EARN aims to empower young adults across South Africa by equipping them with relevant and impactful financial knowledge and skills that will enable them to be more financially capable, improve their awareness of financial concepts and to encourage good financial behaviour.

Approach in 2020 paves the way for the future

With universities and TVET colleges closed since the start of the pandemic, L+EARN pivoted to the digital space to reach their audience through a multi-channel approach with their Saver Waya Waya L+EARN #SecureTheBag campaign. This included radio chat shows, webinars, helpful tools and resources and recordings posted on the website, as well as  reinforcement of knowledge through Facebook, where high levels of multiple engagements were noticed. 

Feedback confirms success

The various monitoring and evaluation reports indicate that the use of radio chat shows in three major provinces, as well as Facebook, successfully extended the programme's reach to more than two million young adults across South Africa. Assessments and feedback received from the tertiary education students who participated in the webinars, confirmed not only that effective knowledge transfer took place, but also that students had begun putting what they had learned into practice, confirming attitude and behaviour change, as these quotes indicate: 

"My expectations were surpassed. I got so much clarity on the dos and don'ts of credit... Everything was just brilliant and I loved how they included a financial advisor and personal testimonials from people in different walks of life – it really brought together the theoretical and practical and showed us how it fits into our own lives."

"I have already started saving, in fact, I have opened two savings accounts: one for emergencies and one to use to invest in unit trusts. I have stopped overspending, which is something I have always had a problem with."

Support to be continued

This programme facilitated simultaneous reach to students at multiple tertiary institutions including bursary recipients of the key funder ECIC (Export Credit Insurance Corporation Soc Ltd) and  TSiBA students, as well as extending our reach to young adults across the country through the radio campaigns and Facebook.

We see a great opportunity for further reach with this programme during 2021 as the ECIC has again made funding available to enable it. To ensure that we are preparing young adults for the economic and unemployment challenges that they face in South Africa, we plan to incorporate some elements of entrepreneurship training in our L+EARN programme going forward.


The FLAME programme is a hybrid consumer financial education (CFE) and socio-economic development (SED) initiative targeted at potential entrepreneurs, micro-enterprise owners and managers to enable greater financial capability, improved well-being and economic participation.

Ongoing participant engagement throughout pandemic has paid off

Feedback at the end of last year was proof – once again – that during lockdown the programmes of the ASISA Foundation helped beneficiaries to be more financially and psychologically resilient, to cope better, be more strategic about managing their affairs, and to be more hopeful and confident about the future. In the first quarter of this year, the following can be highlighted:

  • During the lockdown, the FLAME team assisted many of the entrepreneurs with funding applications, accessing funds such as the Department of Rural Development's Covid-19 Relief Fund. This has become central to the survival of the small businesses and even lead to some of them expanding their operations, like Nolitha Nyikana Linti Nyiks, a chicken farmer in the King Williams Town area.

The Diepsloot FLAME participants who will soon graduate from Phase 2.

The King Williams Town group of participants who will soon progress to Phase 3.

  • FLAME was able to resume face-to-face engagements once the lockdown level 3 restrictions were lifted earlier this year. This enabled the King Williams Town and Diepsloot regions to complete the final New Venture Creation module in March, with Phase 2 graduations in these regions scheduled for April. Participants are very excited to once again be engaged in face-to-face activities and have expressed their joy in being able to graduate from Phase 2, despite the challenges experienced during lockdown.
  • The urban farmers of Philippi, Cape Town, are all still going strong as a direct result of ongoing FLAME support and will soon graduate from Phase 3. The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), a co-funder of FLAME in this region, recently conducted site visits to this group of resilient entrepreneurs.

The Retirement Fund Trustee Education (RFTE) programme, run by the ASISA Academy, strives to empower Principal Officers (POs) and retirement fund trustees to fulfil their fiduciary duty, effectively engage with financial service providers, and manage their retirement funds responsibly. 

Workshops kicked off during the first quarter

The ASISA Academy has already reached 202 trustees since the beginning of the year through nine virtual workshops. In March the Academy also successfully piloted the RFTE Infrastructure Investing workshop, designed and delivered by actuaries Malizole Mdlekeza and Johan Human. This workshop provides an overview of the fundamentals of infrastructure investing and how the principles can be practically applied in retirement funds.

Powerful electronic educational supplements

The Foundation continued to fund the production of online trustee education publications, podcasts and videos via Atleha-edu, produced in collaboration with Six Capitals, the Apros Foundation and the ASISA Academy.

The most recent publication, co-funded by Prescient, focuses on the current topical issue of infrastructure investments with a series of short articles delving into details such as multiple asset classes and prescribed assets. 

The previous publication, which was co-funded by Old Mutual, dealt with the topic of cultural practices and was translated into three local languages. Interesting themes explored included cohabitation legal rights, customary marriages and the thorny issue of identifying beneficiaries and dependants. 


WageWise is a partnership-based financial literacy programme targeted at workers earning less than R20,000 per month. It seeks to enhance the workers' ability to grow and protect their wealth, so they can become more financially resilient consumers.

WageWise agility bodes well for 2021

The Covid-19 restrictions directly affect the environment in which WageWise is being rolled out this year. To counter the uncertainty that may arise from changing restrictions, the Foundation, with its partners, prepared a number of approaches that can be implemented nationally regardless of pandemic-related restrictions.

The Sanlam Foundation, which has been funding the WageWise programme, has recently agreed to the rollout options determined by the Foundation and its partners as the optimal approach, able to accommodate both face-to-face and remote or virtual options.

A blended face-to-face approach, which incorporates additional channels of communication, was piloted at the end of last year. This blended approach, though slightly adapted according to lessons learnt from last year, will be one of the options for implementation this year. This includes three-hour face-to-face workshops, supported by WhatsApp messaging with the participants to facilitate engagement with both workshop and additional content on the WageWise website, and a series of USSD journeys on their cellphones. The applicable web pages will be data zero rated for participants.

Ready to change course

The WageWise team is also prepared, should it be necessary in the light of national regulations, at any stage to suspend or scale down face-to-face interventions, whether across the board or in specific regions. The alternative rollout approach which is being developed will also be interactive but will at the same time involve a self-learning approach.