In 2014, FBFA will be involved in two research projects which assess the impact of our methodology and programs on beneficiaries. They are as follows:
Best practice methods in agricultural training:
The University of Stellenbosch will partner with FBFA to research our agricultural training methodologies. This research project aims to identify the best mix for pest control, ways of improving nutritional output in home grown produce, and the best economically sustainable model for training. For more info, contact Michael-John Freeborough at University Stellenbosch Agricultural Sciences on 021 808 4737.
The impact of intervention package on a rural community: This project, conducted in partnership with University of Western Cape, will assess the overall impact of all our programs on the communities of McGregor and Robertson. It is an action research project which aims to introduce a new intervention technique (combining vegetable gardening, men’s emotional development counselling, and an entrepreneurial and savings scheme called SaveAct) and assess its impact on the whole community. The study will involve about 50 men and their families.
The SaveAct model
For the first time, in 2014, FBFA will offer financial management training alongside agricultural training for beneficiaries of our gardens. SaveAct’s model of community-based savings is built on three components:
- The formation and mentoring of savings and credit groups (SCGS) which ensure that financial services are controlled and managed by beneficiaries themselves;
- Life Skills Training (LST), including Financial Education, which improves beneficiaries’ capacity to plan and act;
- Enterprise or Isiqalo training, which develops beneficiaries’ capacity to engage in enterprise activity or follow more sustainable livelihood strategies.
The SaveAct model has been implemented in literacy groups, HIV/AIDS support groups, farming groups and others with great success. Research on South African cases of SaveAct SCGs demonstrated beneficial impacts on:
- Consumption smoothing: i.e. the capacity to meet the ups and downs of essential household expenditures over a cycle.
- The type of financial services utilized: over a four year period, beneficiaries moved away from the use of loan sharks towards savings and asset based facilities.
- Actual savings: members of SCGs saved increasing amounts over time and there was an overall upward trend in the purchase of shares.
- Wise spending: members of SCGs invested their capital mostly in housing and home improvements (48%), education (19%), enterprise and agriculture (17%).
- General well-being: members cited improved attitudes of hope and sense of purpose and improved familial relationships.
- Sustainability: retention rates In SCG groups remained high, while the average size of groups increased over time.
Given the proven impact of the SaveAct program in alleviating poverty, FBFA looks forward to implementing the program in our training gardens this year. (FinMark Trust, 2012).