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ASISA Foundation shows resilience under pressure

It was Hellen Keller who said: “Life is either a great adventure, or nothing.”  Well, at the ASISA Foundation we are certainly experiencing a “great adventure” as we strive to remain relevant through our powerful financial education programmes, enabling our beneficiaries to #BounceBack as Covid-19 lockdown levels are relaxed.

The need for meaningful, objective financial education and entrepreneurship training is greater than ever, underpinning the critical role that the ASISA Foundation has to play in our society at this time.

New ways prove to be highly successful
The Foundation proved its agility and adaptability by pivoting all of its programmes and adopting new ways to continue reaching its target audience during Covid-19, with some very encouraging and inspiring outcomes. Our most recent monitoring and evaluation assessments as well as our interactions with beneficiaries confirm that our programmes have helped them, both financially and psychologically, to be more resilient and to cope better during Covid-19. This has provided them with hope for the future.

To illustrate this point, see what these three FLAME participants had to say earlier this month at the Phase 2 graduation in Philippi, Cape Town.

Digital approach will stay part of our offering
We have significantly enhanced the digital components of all our programmes and have been super impressed by our target audience’s ability to adapt to this new digital world. It has also facilitated the opportunity to reach thousands more with our educational material.

During the past few months, we have launched a number of exciting new virtual and digitally driven programmes, incorporating social media elements. These pilots and their outcomes position us well for strategy and scenario planning for 2021, which will incorporate a blended learning approach as far as possible.

I encourage you to regularly visit our website, as we continue to update it and incorporate it into our programmes’ learning strategies. The Foundation will soon launch a LinkedIn page where we will share regular updates about our impact and our learnings.

B-BBEE audit far exceeds expectations
The graph below reflects the outcome of the Foundation’s B-BBEE audit for the 2019/2020 financial year, indicating that we have exceeded our targets significantly.

Your continued support and promotion of the work of the ASISA Foundation is hugely appreciated.

Stay positive, stay safe, and play your part in helping our economy to #BounceBack and may God continue to be gracious to us.

Yours faithfully
Ruth Benjamin-Swales


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, wellbeing and economic participation.

Resilience in action

The Covid-19 pandemic posed several challenges for the FLAME team and particularly its participants who are active small business owners. The team took the leap to present virtual workshops, and increase individual interaction with participants via WhatsApp, Zoom and mobile phones, keeping them motivated and constantly sharing knowledge and advice.

The results of these efforts have been eye-opening and are testament to the resilience of both the FLAME team and the participants (see graph below).

The group in Philippi, Cape Town (photo above) graduated on 6 October after completing Phase 2 (incubation) and has now progressed to Phase 3 (growth support). In King William’s Town and Diepsloot, participants are still in Phase 2 and face-to-face interaction with participants has commenced again.

#BounceBack campaign
FLAME launched the six-month #BounceBack campaign in October to celebrate beneficiaries’ resilience, both in their personal and business lives. During this time, the focus has been on assisting businesses to recover from the impact of Covid-19, using a closed Facebook page where all beneficiaries are able to share their #BounceBack stories, create networks and receive support, and content reinforcement.


L+EARN is a consumer financial education programme for young adults at technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges, universities and students who are beneficiaries of the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP). The objective is to equip students to become more financially capable in the context of preparing them for the world of work.

New possibilities open up

Sometimes a crisis gives birth to positive change – and while it has always been the dream to expand the L+EARN programme, Covid-19 prompted a blended approach in presenting this programme and opened up new possibilities to reach many more students.

The ASISA Foundation piloted a new iteration of the already successful L+EARN programme in October. This was funded primarily by the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa SOC Ltd (ECIC) and targeted ECIC bursary recipients and their fellow students at tertiary institutions, as well as Tertiary School in Business Administration (TSiBA) students.

The #SecureTheBag pilot programme entails a variety of methodologies to effectively and interactively engage with the students to take charge of their finances. This includes:

  1. A series of webinars and talk shows. Recent webinar recordings can be accessed here.
  2. A closed Facebook group where participants are encouraged to participate in discussions by sharing how learnings from L+EARN have changed their lives. The first one launched on 22 September.
  3. Interactive radio talk shows on three regional radio stations – Y-Fm, Gagasi FM and Good Hope FM – focusing on the financial education component of L+EARN, while increasing the programme’s reach among young adults. Previous recordings can be found here.
  4. An educational website featuring content from the programme.

The Retirement Fund Trustee Education (RFTE) programme, run by the ASISA Academy, strives to empower Principal Officers (POs) and both employer- and employee-appointed trustees who sit on the boards of retirement funds to fulfil their fiduciary duty towards their funds, effectively engage with financial service providers, and manage their retirement funds responsibly.

Workshops adapted to still reach participants

The RFTE team continued to deliver workshops since the start of the lockdown, pivoting swiftly to a digital approach during May. Full-day workshops were adapted to two half-day, online sessions, which managed to retain participant interaction successfully.

According to delegate feedback, the digital format was well received, and a blended approach of online and face-to-face workshops will most likely be adopted going forward.

So far this year, over 330 trustees and principal officers have been reached (see more info below), adding to a total of more than 3 000 who have been through the various workshops since the inception of this programme.

Investing in more online financial education
The ASISA Foundation recently partnered with Six Capitals Advisory to co-fund and develop a financial education publication named Atleha-edu. Atleha is the Sesotho word for  "prosper''. The digital publication focuses on interactive educational programmes for retirement fund trustees, management committee members, and fund members. The first two publications were co-funded by Old Mutual & Prescient respectively.


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 adapted and persevered

Soon after the lockdown made face-to-face workshops with WageWise participants impossible, the Foundation commenced with the implementation of a revised virtual approach of delivering the WageWise programme, which is fully funded by the Sanlam Foundation.

The adapted iteration of the WageWise programme (see statistics below) consists of a three-pronged approach, comprising radio talk shows, a dedicated Facebook page as well as website posts in accordance with various financial educational themes.

When the campaign kicked off in May, five radio stations were involved. Due to its success, the funder agreed to extend the radio campaign with a further eight weeks on three radio stations – Capricon FM, Gagasi FM and Power FM. The second phase kicked off in August.

Learning from this three-pronged approach, WageWise will be piloting a blended training approach that includes three-hour face-to-face workshops accommodating Covid-19 protocols, the WageWise website which will be zero-rated for these participants, USSD journeys, and WhatsApp messaging.

Leaving a legacy
During Heritage Month (September), Facebook users were asked to comment on what financial legacy they want to leave behind for their loved ones. Here are some of their responses: