By Nozizwe Vundla, 25 February 2022
The Saver WayaWaya WageWise programme – a partnership between the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa Foundation and the Sanlam Foundation – is having a real impact on workers’ lives by instilling critical money management skills through a blended learning approach, offering face-to-to face training as well as WhatsApp interventions.
Nozizwe Vundla, Head of Sanlam Foundation, says, “Financial education tends to be dull and, all too often, irrelevant. I’ve heard so many adults lament not learning how to do their taxes or draw up a budget in school. We need to focus on practical, turnkey skills that are immediately applicable in real life. WageWise does this through interactive, creative modules that break down vital lessons into bite-sized bits, with quizzes to check understanding and up engagement.” WageWise has reached over 10,000 black individuals in 2021, most of whom are women, earn R250,000 or less and are based in rural regions.
A rapid impact study on WageWise found that 90% of the blended learning and 75% of the WhatsApp cohorts said they knew more about managing their finances post the programme, and could apply these lessons to their daily lives. Over 90% of the participants were sharing their new-found knowledge with family and friends. Almost all agreed that the learnings helped them cope with money management during COVID-19.
Vundla adds, “The programme also does critical work in pinpointing knowledge gaps. The top four difficulties most participants experienced prior to going through the programme were: budgeting, short-term savings, debt management, and distinguishing between wants and needs.”
A training module addresses each of these areas, along with other core capabilities like investing, balancing the books, managing credit scores and saving for retirement. When it comes to addressing the ‘top four’, Vundla suggests:
Vundla says that learning these sorts of skills through WageWise has had a profound impact on people’s daily realities. For example, Bongani, a 25-year-old former small business owner, used to struggle to save because he spent more than he needed to. He said WageWise taught him to differentiate between needs and wants, read a payslip, and increase his credit score.
Yasmeen, also 25, earns a small internship stipend that she struggles to stretch to cover all her expenses. “The programme made me realise I was wasting money in the past. I used to focus more on my wants than my needs,” she added. She’s now managing to save R250 a month for emergencies and to get her driver’s licence.
39-year-old single mom of two, Zanele, earns under R3,000 a month and gets little to no maintenance support from her ex-partner. WageWise helped her budget and prioritise her needs over wants. She is now looking for ways to earn additional income to support her family. Critically, she learnt to start ‘where you are, with what you have’. She now aims to start – and grow – a small business venture.
Vundla concludes, “WageWise aims to instil lasting financial resilience to give people the confidence to go after their goals, look after their families, and make their money work as hard as possible for them. After the last three years, we are seeing even starker inequalities embedded in our society, with COVID-19 having a dire impact on myriad people’s lives and livelihoods. Financial education is a way to give people a sense of agency; to take command over money matters and have the confidence to imagine a meaningful, fulfilled life.
“Sanlam is committed to our purpose: to empower generations of Africans to be financially confident, secure and prosperous. WageWise is a powerful means of doing this. We have seen the impact that financial literacy can have when it’s done in a new, dynamic format that reaches people in the right way.”