Planact  in collaboration with Charter Academy and ABSA hosted an interactive Financial Literacy Training on the 10th of November 2016. Attendees included community representatives from areas such as Wattville, Soweto (Orlando East), Thembelihle, Protea South and Noordgesig as well as Planact staff.  The workshop was facilitated by Soraya Barry and Thabo Ngwenya from Charter Academy with support from Planact. With the main aim of providing remedial advice to address the challenge of unhealthy spending and indebtedness facing communities, the session was divided into three segments. The morning session was on budgeting and saving. Under this topic community members shared information and experiences on their budgeting strategies used when buying groceries and handling other household necessities (rent, school fees, lights and water etc.)

Round table discussion.
Round table discussion.
Zakhele from Orlando making a contribution during the training.
Zakhele from Orlando making a contribution during the training.
Another participant at the training.
Another participant at the training.

The information learned from the session included the sometimes overlooked importance of saving or investment of unused funds, drawing up a budget on a monthly or weekly basis to mitigate the frustration of running on financial deficits or to avoid living beyond one’s means, cutting down on unnecessary expenditures (alcohol, cigarettes, branded clothes etc.), the importance of setting goals and saving up to buy valuable household items instead of taking out loans.

Lastly, Soraya gave advice on how to track one’s personal expenditure by keeping the bank balance in check after every transaction. The last two sections were on managing debt and consumer protection. Valuable lessons learned include the understanding of the difference between good and bad credit. The attendees were advised to use credit to purchase durable or profit generating assets as opposed to buy consumables like food. The closing discussion was on the importance of insurance, life cover and how consumers can protect themselves against bad business practices. This was the beginning of many other training sessions planned to take place in different communities in the coming year (2017).