Home > Development, Education and Training > Old Mutual takes up Micro Mba

Old Mutual takes up Micro Mba

Districts of South Africa

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The Micro Mba has had an encouraging start to 2012, having last week completed the training of 13 facilitators who work for the Old Mutual project called “Masisizane” (English: “Help One Another”) at the  Cape Town office. The Micro Mba has also been selected by Old Mutual as the Service Provider of choice for this pilot project. They will be training 25-30 current loanees, as well as a few loan-applicants. Masisizane is a really well-organised group of people, who are determined to get the job done. The pilot will run for 6 months, including mentorship meetings, culminating in a graduation ceremony, which I’ll tell you about at that stage.


Masisizane is a non-profit organisation that has been created to accelerate economic growth in South Africa. Masisizane’s key focus is the development of rural businesses. Women head many, if not most, of these. Masisizane intends to help address the challenges these entrepreneurs face and help them succeed. Financial Education is one of the development initiatives supporting the Masisizane objectives.

Clients trained on Financial Education under Masisizane consist of the Women Development Bank, Old Mutual Foundation clients, and Imbizo in Centani and Acornhoek in Mpumalanga.

Visit the Masisizane website to find out more.


Another Old Mutual project called “Imbizo” (English: “Gathering”) has coincidently also appointed he Micro Mba as their service provider and Cedric Bufler will be training a group of 12 trainers in Johannesburg (Wiphold offices) from 29 March to 5th April. There will be six community-based facilitators and six managers on the course.  They will in turn, be training a pilot group of 72 learners at Kliptown (Soweto), Acornhoek (Mpumalanga) and Centani (Eastern Cape). Cedric will be involved in interviewing and selecting trainers, as well as following up on their training and the impact that it has in the community. Once again, there is a high degree of commitment on the part of the organisers and managers, to get the job done well.


Value-added transformation is a cornerstone of the WIPHOLD philosophy, and this has now been given extended reach in the form of a visionary initiative, Project Imbizo.

The projects was spearheaded by WIPHOLD in conjunction with strategic partners, Old Mutual, Nedbank and Mutual & Federal, and its aim is to develop new business models that include poor individuals and communities in economic activity.  The objective is both to empower and develop these communities, and lay the groundwork for the development of future markets.

The Imbizo Philosophy

In South Africa, the foundation economy, which is made up of households that fall into the LSM 1 – LSM 5 range represents approximately 15 million people. In rural areas, apart from government employees, most people earn very little or are unemployed and are dependent on social grants. Many of them nevertheless do make use of informal financial services such as stokvels, burial societies and mirco-loans.

WIPHOLD and its partners in the Old Mutual Group identified that this indicated a dire need for financial services that were both fairly priced and tailored to suit the unique needs of these communities. These communities have previously been viewed as commercially unviable and have thus been undeserved when it comes to financial services.

The Imbizo Methodology

The Imbizo Project follows a three-step process:

  1. The 1st step involves convening a community meeting (Imbizo) to listen, learn from and secure the buy-in of the community.
  2. The 2nd step is to convene a follow-up meeting at a later stage at which a proposed financial services solution is presented to the community based on the input from the 1st meeting.
  3. If this is accepted, the 3rd step is to begin the implementation process, which includes the mechanisms for community involvement and feedback, as well as for ongoing consultation.

Great news and we look forward to hearing more awesome news from the Micro Mba.

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