WE SUPPORT RURAL WOMEN
99% of our clients are women. We focus on women to fight the financial, economic, and social obstacles rooted in gender inequality which contribute to individual, household, and community poverty. We believe in the women we support, and research demonstrates that women are more likely to invest income into productive household needs as compared to their male counterparts.
Our efforts are focused in rural villages. South Africa’s rural economies lack the market and developmental opportunities available in townships and cities. As a result, rural communities face challenges accessing resources and information, and the incidence of poverty is high. SEF works in rural villages because that is where we find the greatest need.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS OUR PATH
At SEF we believe that entrepreneurship is one clear pathway
to realizing economic gains. We work hard to help our clients overcome the
barriers to business growth, such as access to finance and training. By supporting our clients as they start and grow local businesses, we seek to improve their household livelihoods, investment capabilities, and of course, their sense of self-worth.
The growth of small businesses also contributes to economic value-add and job creation in local communities. SEF clients include shop owners and retailers, artisans, farmers, manufacturers and more.
STRIVING FOR TANGIBLE GAINS
Business development is vital, but it is not the only metric for evaluating poverty alleviation. We are proud of our clients who improve their lives in a myriad of ways, including reduced vulnerability to shocks, or increased consumption and investment.
Our clients’ aggregate SEF savings total R 97.4 million. Furthermore, our Poverty Probability Index (PPI) surveys tell us that 55% of clients have upgraded key household assets (such as stoves, refrigerators, etc.) since joining SEF.
PUTTING OUR CLIENTS FIRST
Through all of our actions, we emphasize fair, responsible, and respectful client treatment, as highlighted by our core value system. We share principles of client protection with all new clients, delivering information about individual rights and complaint resolution with each new loan cycle. Our continuous client surveying shows that 93% of clients are satisfied with SEF’s customer service. Further, a 2017 external audit report highlights that “SEF treats its clients in a very responsible way, providing transparent, fair and respectful services, protecting the customers’ interests at all times.”