Last week, Siphiwo Msindwana, our community co-ordinator in Nkwalini made the trip up to Grahamstown, so that we could attend a course on WIZZIT banking and being Wizz-kids (the course was in PE).
What could be better than this: drive down through some of the prettiest countryside in the Eastern Cape (admiring the wildlife, sunlight and bush), chat and joke about life in the rural areas, and look forward to an interesting day learning about micro-finance the WIZZIT way. Siphiwo also has such interesting stories to tell about his home. He spoke of problems in his rural local muncipality and the intitiative they just got underway to get kids into school.
Mbashe must surely be one of the most rural and most dysfunctional local municipalities in South Africa -- at least from the point of view of someone living in the farthest reaches of the municipality! It is an almost three hour drive from Idutywa, the main city to Nkwalini, and it is in fact much closer to the main cities in neighbouring municipalities. However, provincial and national government have recently been making strong infrastructural improvements in the area, so there is much to be thankful for.
The Nkwalini Quality Education Forum has been started to ensure that children go to school. The problem is that parents often do not know about their childrens' absence from school, or they are not able to help their children work out why they should go to school and do not care. The forum will in such cases speak to parents and to learners, to explain to them the reasons for going to school as well as legal implications. This forum is definitely as worthwhile as the "neighbourhood watch" concept for security...
We were very impressed by the WIZZIT system and the simplicity it brought to opening bank accounts and gaining a foothold in the financial world. Shortly after opening my account I was able to send Thozi our awareNet coordinator airtime, as my usual FNB platform was down for the day. The system certainly does work!
Siphiwo also connected with the Reed House Systems team of developers and gave his inputs into the new isiXhosa version of the software. He was very impressed by that as well.
Siphiwo wrote the following about his experience:
This is a marvelous visit to me, because I've [experienced as much as would normally be] done in a week['s] time.
The very first day on the 11th May 2011 we went for workshop on a WIZZIT consultant in PE and that's where Ron opened the account on WIZZIT, then the following day the 12th May 2011 that's when I opened my account too, it took only 5 minutes. The WIZZIT account will [bring much assistance for the] first time to the people from rural communities -- buying of airtime,electricity,telkom prepaid vouchers etc.
After finishing with that I went to Reed House Systems where there is another program of helping people at the rural communities not to spend a lot when they looking for services.
For me that's great for the people whom I staying with at my community.
May 17th 2011 08:20