To achieve long-term sustainability, savings groups and enterprise groups need to be able to access goods and services at reasonable prices. SaveAct has entered into a social enterprise partnership with the SAB Foundation to test the feasibility of last-mile distribution channels and whether the proliferation of savings groups in rural areas constitutes a new market opportunity sufficient to sustain an enterprise that delivers value to customers while making a modest return.
Supported by Reciprocity, the partners studied the Dharma Life model in India and put their heads together to develop a model that speaks to the capabilities and needs of savings groups in South Africa.
In June 2016 Zis’Ukhanyo (“bringing light”) was born. This is a pilot enterprise which sells a range of products to rural communities that have been identified by the communities themselves as having social, economic and environmental value. These include solar lamps, energy-efficient stoves and health and hygiene products for women.
As part of its last-mile initiative SaveAct is working at integrating its support for bulk buying of agricultural inputs into the social enterprise channel. It is also considering ways of enabling access to thermally efficient housing materials and products.