We are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways of marketing Mpendulo to prospective group members, and as my last post illustrated, word of mouth has been highly effective. However, several of our new groups include people with full time jobs. Though we welcome all those interested in saving, we do want to maintain our focus on those in the lower income range.
It is challenging to attract the lowest income earner for several reasons, but the most stubborn obstacle is mindset. Many poorer people do not believe that they can save unless they have a steady job. Others feel that it isn’t worth it to save unless they can put away a substantial sum for each meeting. Yet others are simply apathetic and just don’t believe in themselves.
For these reasons, we decided to target particularly poor areas of the townships we operate in. One such area in Humansdorp is populated by shack dwellers and has no formal RDP (government) housing, though the local municipality has put in infrastructure for electricity. The place is called Golfin because it used to be part of an old golf course.
We wanted to do something different that would grab everyone’s attention and curiosity. Our prayers were answered when Thembekile, the training officer for the area remembered that one of his existing group members, Mr. Mabanga, mentors youth gospel choirs. When we explained what we had in mind, he enthusiastically agreed to get a gospel group together to perform in our targeted area.
On the appointed day, we picked up Mr Mabanga, his sound equipment and the “Mabanga Youth Choir”. We drove into Golfin, parked in a central spot and asked one of the shack dwellers if we could plug the sound equipment into their electricity. They agreed and once all was set up, the girls started to dance and sing—drawing a nice crowd of happy people.
Our “Gospel” mobilization scheme worked! One group of women signed up for training right then and there and another 2 later on. We are still receiving calls from people who heard the gospel group and want to know more!
You can visit our Face Book page (Mpendulo Project or Jill Thompson) to see photos and a video of the girls signing and dancing.