For the past 18 years Strate, South Africa’s Central Securities Depository, has focused on settling securities transactions across South Africa’s financial markets. Today, the organisation is placing a core focus on financial literacy through its consumer education initiative, Strate from the Ground.
According to Dr Merrill van der Walt, Data Scientist at Strate, one of the key elements for Strate from the Ground is to educate communities on the basics of banking and financial matters (a knowledge area that is seriously lacking in marginalised areas), as well as meeting nutritional needs in a disadvantaged community that is food insecure. “The lack of food security is a huge problem for South Africans in rural areas and those of lower socio-economic standing.”
According to a report issued by Statistics South Africa on poverty trends in the country, poor households spend approximately a third (33%) of their income on food. Total food expenditure for poor households is given at R8 485 per annum or R707 per month. It is important to understand that this figure is the proportion that households are able to spend on food. Given current food prices, it is clear that this amount is not enough to secure a sufficient and nutritious variety of food.
“Adding to this harsh backdrop is the bleak reality of constantly rising food and fuel prices, high-energy tariffs and increasing interest rates. These conditions have placed severe pressure on ordinary South Africans who are already struggling to meet their basic household needs”, says Dr van der Walt. With projects such as these, people will be more empowered and educated to make better decisions in accessing basic needs as well as handling their finances.
“At Strate, we embrace innovation and change. The term ‘innovation’ is difficult to define, and although most models centre on technology driven innovation and competitive focus, there is a social dimension to innovation and the role of social interaction,” says Dr van der Walt. “Social innovations are new strategies, concepts, ideas and organisations that meet the social needs of different elements which can be from working conditions and education to community development and health.”
Strate has partnered with several organisations that will make it possible to provide nutritious and organic produce to approximately 50 labourers on a monthly basis while equipping farmers and schools in the area with the practical guidance on finance and banking.
Some pictures of the produce following the December Harvest: